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Olivette Otele

Historian and expert in colonial memory

Olivette Otele has a PhD in History from the Sorbonne in Paris and is a teacher and researcher at SOAS University of London. She is an expert in European colonial history and studies the ways in which its legacy is connected with the shaping of citizenship today. With internationally recognised contributions in the field, she is presently researching issues related to collective memory and reparation. In 2018, she became the first Black woman in the United Kingdom to be appointed to a professorial chair in History. She was vice-president of the Royal Society of History and, in 2021, she was a member of the Booker International Prize jury. In 2020, she published African Europeans: An Untold History (in Catalan, Europeus Africans. Una història per explicar, Peu de Mosca, 2023), which was a finalist for the 2022 LA Times Book Prize, and the 2021 Orwell Prize. She also co-edited the volume Post-Conflict Memorialization: Missing Memorials, Absent Bodies (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2021) and, moreover, is a regular contributor to the The Guardian and the BBC.

Update: 10 July 2023