Olivette Otele is Professor and Chair of History at Bath Spa University. Her research centres around transnational history and, in particular, the link between history, collective memory and geopolitics in relation to British and French colonial pasts. Her work explores how Britain and France have been addressing questions of citizenship, race and identity through the politics of remembrance. It also enquires into the value of public gestures, the meaning of public history and the impact of memory and memorialisation processes in public spaces (museums, statues, etc.). More broadly she looks at the history and memories of people of African descent in Europe, Africa, America and Asia.
Professor Otele holds a PhD in History from the Sorbonne University in Paris. She has co-authored 19 peer-reviewed academic publications and two edited volumes. Her books include the co-edited volume MISSING MEMORIALS AND ABSENT BODIES: Negotiating Post-conflict Memorialisation (Palgrave, 2019), AFRO-EUROPEANS: A short history (Hurst Publishers, 2019), DOES DISCRIMINATION SHAPE IDENTITY? Identity Politics and Minorities in the English-Speaking World and in France: Rhetoric and Reality (co-edited special issue: Routledge, 2011), Histoire de l’esclavage britannique : des origines de la traite transatlantique aux premisses de la colonisation (Editions Michel Houdiard, 2008).
Professor Otele is the recipient and co-investigator of several prestigious national and international grants: EU-H2020-RISE: SLAFNET (Slavery: a dialogue between Europe and Africa. 2017-2020), AHRC Networking grant (People of African Descent in the 21st century: knowledge and cultural production in reluctant sites of memory. 2016-2018), AHRC (UK) and LABEX (France) joint grant (Telling one’s story, redefining collective memory: the challenges of African refugees and migrants in 21st century Europe).
Her external roles include membership of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Strategic Advisory Group for the Global Challenges Fund. She also fulfils international duties such as the European Commission appointed expert evaluator for Horizon2020 Marie Curie Fellowships and RISE projects. She is a regular contributor to the BBC History Magazine, BBC World Histories, BBC Radio programme Making History. She has featured in several documentaries including the recent BBC One’s Civilizations Stories: The Remains of Slavery (April 2018).