Dr Oluwaseun Osadola

UK Host Institution: University of Aberdeen
Project status

Benin Imperialism in North-Eastern Yoruba Land

Imperialism as an economic arrangement is not only synonymous to Britain and other European nations; it is a known and practiced act in the West Africa sub-region even before 1600. Benin and the Oyo empires are examples of earlier societies that expanded their empires through military and socioeconomic conquest. Imperial expansion and state building created enduring processes of cultural exchange and borrowing.

The proposed research will examine cultural exchange and inter-ethnic diffusion as a result of Benin’s influence in Eastern Yoruba land, looking particulary into the evolution of the casting of naturalistic bronze sculptures from the thirteenth to nineteenth centuries. As the overwhelming majority of these artistic works and cultural treasures are held outside of Nigeria – and primarily within British museums and university collections – this research fellowship will examine donor files and museum collections in the UK to illuminate the cultural history and aesthetic traditions of pre-colonial Nigeria.

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