adebayod


Damilola Adebayo

Photo of Damilola Adebayo

Department of History

Assistant Professor

Office: 2176 Vari Hall
Phone: 416-736-2100 Ext: 66969
Email: adebayod@yorku.ca

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Damilola Adebayo is a historian of Anglophone West Africa, particularly Nigeria. His research and teaching interests are at the intersection of three fields namely social and economic history; science, technology and society (STS); and the role of international organizations in the African past.

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Damilola Adebayo is a historian of Anglophone West Africa, particularly Nigeria. His research and teaching interests are at the intersection of three fields namely social and economic history; science, technology and society (STS); and the role of international organizations in the African past. His current research theme investigates the socioeconomic life of Western technologies in African cities since the 1850s. He is keen to understand the varied contexts within which Western energy, communication, and transportation technologies were adopted, appropriated, hybridized, reinvented, or discarded by the upper class and everyday people; and the ways in which these technologies have been a cause and effect of change in African societies.

A product of this theme is his ongoing book project, provisionally entitled Power to the People: Electricity and Urban Life in Twentieth-Century Nigeria. The book analyzes the evolution and impact of electrification in Nigerian cities from its inception in 1898, through independence (1960), the Civil War (1967-1970), and to the eve of the OPEC-led international oil boom in the early 1970s. It makes original contributions to studies of colonial and post-colonial investments in infrastructure, colonial and post-colonial development, technology and modernity, regulation and privatization, urbanism, and energy inequality.

Adebayo holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Cambridge-Africa Scholar (2016-2020). His research has been generously supported by many grants and fellowships, including the IEEE Life Members’ Fellowship in the History of Electrical and Computing Technology and the Melvin Kranzberg Fellowship awarded by the Society for the History of Technology. Adebayo obtained a BA degree in History from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he was a Grace Leadership Foundation Scholar; and an MA degree from the Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland, as a Hans Wilsdorf Foundation Scholar.

Degrees

PhD, University of Cambridge
MA, The Graduate Institute (IHEID), Geneva
BA, University of Ibadan

Research Interests

Science and Technology , Energy and Natural Resources, Economic Life, Urbanism and Urbanisation, Cities, International Organizations, Labour, Vocational and Technical Education, Indigenous ("Traditional") Knowledge, Modern Africa, Nigeria

Current Research Projects

Power to the People: Electricity and Urban Life in Twentieth-Century Nigeria

    Summary:

    A revised version of my doctoral dissertation, this monograph project investigates the evolution and impact of electricity generation, supply, and consumption in Southern Nigerian cities from its inception in 1898, through independence (1960), the Civil War (1967-1970), and to the eve of the OPEC-led international oil boom in the early 1970s.

    A revised version of my doctoral dissertation, this monograph project investigates the evolution and impact of electricity generation, supply, and consumption in Southern Nigerian cities from its inception in 1898, through independence (1960), the Civil War (1967-1970), and to the eve of the OPEC-led international oil boom in the early 1970s. It adds to the growing corpus of literature on the socioeconomic past that bridges what used to be the “divide” between the respective territories of historians of Africa (up to the 1960s, the decade of independence) and social scientists, especially economists and political scientists (post-1960s). In the research, I analyze a variety of largely new qualitative and quantitative sources including correspondence and reports from archives in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and the World Bank in Washington DC. The sources also include statistical abstracts, newspapers, historical fiction, music lyrics, and memoirs.

    The monograph makes three main contributions to the history of colonial infrastructure and the global historiography of electrification. First, it argues that the desire to improve the efficiency of resource extraction, as well as the need to promote socioeconomic development and colonial modernity in Southern Nigerian cities were simultaneous motives of investments in electrification since the 1890s. Second, it contributes to the global historiography by showing that the social processes initiated by the consumption of electricity in Western societies (which resulted in a new “techno-culture” ) had parallels in Nigeria.

    Third, the monograph argues that the combination of motives and the social processes initiated by electricity consumption were the result of Southern Nigerians’ participation in electricity production and consumption since the 1890s. Nigerians’ participation in production was achieved through their influence in the legislative processes, their activities in the colonial service, and, most importantly, through direct investments by Native Authorities. Regarding consumption, the desire of everyday urban dwellers for electricity can be explained through the lens of ̀làjú, a Yoruba idea of “modernity”, while their capacity to afford electricity (dating back to the 1930s, which is as far as data is available) can be explained through government’s energy tariff policies and rising wages.

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    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Jan   Year: 2021

    End Date:
      Month: May   Year: 2023

    Funders:
    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
    The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT)


Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2022 AP/HIST3780 6.0 A Themes in African History LECT
Fall/Winter 2022 AP/HIST2750 6.0 B African History, 1800 to the Present HYFX


Damilola Adebayo is a historian of Anglophone West Africa, particularly Nigeria. His research and teaching interests are at the intersection of three fields namely social and economic history; science, technology and society (STS); and the role of international organizations in the African past.

Damilola Adebayo is a historian of Anglophone West Africa, particularly Nigeria. His research and teaching interests are at the intersection of three fields namely social and economic history; science, technology and society (STS); and the role of international organizations in the African past. His current research theme investigates the socioeconomic life of Western technologies in African cities since the 1850s. He is keen to understand the varied contexts within which Western energy, communication, and transportation technologies were adopted, appropriated, hybridized, reinvented, or discarded by the upper class and everyday people; and the ways in which these technologies have been a cause and effect of change in African societies.

A product of this theme is his ongoing book project, provisionally entitled Power to the People: Electricity and Urban Life in Twentieth-Century Nigeria. The book analyzes the evolution and impact of electrification in Nigerian cities from its inception in 1898, through independence (1960), the Civil War (1967-1970), and to the eve of the OPEC-led international oil boom in the early 1970s. It makes original contributions to studies of colonial and post-colonial investments in infrastructure, colonial and post-colonial development, technology and modernity, regulation and privatization, urbanism, and energy inequality.

Adebayo holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Cambridge-Africa Scholar (2016-2020). His research has been generously supported by many grants and fellowships, including the IEEE Life Members’ Fellowship in the History of Electrical and Computing Technology and the Melvin Kranzberg Fellowship awarded by the Society for the History of Technology. Adebayo obtained a BA degree in History from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he was a Grace Leadership Foundation Scholar; and an MA degree from the Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland, as a Hans Wilsdorf Foundation Scholar.

Degrees

PhD, University of Cambridge
MA, The Graduate Institute (IHEID), Geneva
BA, University of Ibadan

Research Interests

Science and Technology , Energy and Natural Resources, Economic Life, Urbanism and Urbanisation, Cities, International Organizations, Labour, Vocational and Technical Education, Indigenous ("Traditional") Knowledge, Modern Africa, Nigeria

Current Research Projects

Power to the People: Electricity and Urban Life in Twentieth-Century Nigeria

    Summary:

    A revised version of my doctoral dissertation, this monograph project investigates the evolution and impact of electricity generation, supply, and consumption in Southern Nigerian cities from its inception in 1898, through independence (1960), the Civil War (1967-1970), and to the eve of the OPEC-led international oil boom in the early 1970s.

    Project Type: Funded
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Start Date:
      Month: Jan   Year: 2021

    End Date:
      Month: May   Year: 2023

    Funders:
    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
    The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT)



Upcoming Courses

Term Course Number Section Title Type
Fall/Winter 2022 AP/HIST3780 6.0 A Themes in African History LECT
Fall/Winter 2022 AP/HIST2750 6.0 B African History, 1800 to the Present HYFX