Historic moment at Bath Spa Uni

Professor Olivette Otele has become the first black female Professor of History in the UK

Bath Spa University academic, Professor Olivette Otele, has become the UK’s first female black Professor of History.  She has also become the first black female to be awarded a personal Chair position, in recognition for her high levels of achievement within the field.

Professor Otele, who holds a PhD in History from Universite La Sorbonne in France, said: “I’m delighted to have been awarded a Professorship and a Chair in History by Bath Spa University, and thank them for their support. There are many hardworking women, especially women of colour, working in academia, and I hope this will open the door to more of them receiving the recognition they deserve.”

World class academic

Vice-Chancellor at Bath Spa University, Professor Sue Rigby, added: “Olivette is a world class and internationally known academic, and Bath Spa University is delighted to provide recognition for her outstanding scholarship through the award of a professorship. If this well-merited promotion also plays a small part in correcting the under-representation of women and people of colour in UK universities, then we are delighted to be able to do this; it is not before time.”

Professor Otele’s current research is focused on transnational history – in particular the links between history, collective memory and geopolitics – in relation to British and French colonial pasts. Her doctoral area of specialisation was European colonial and post-colonial history, examining questions relative to the transatlantic slave trade, slave societies, identities and post-colonial societies in the Atlantic world.