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.