On the Spot: Olivette Otele

We ask leading historians 20 questions on why their research matters, one book everyone should read and their views on the Tudors ...

Olivette Otele
Why are you a historian of the British and French Empires?

Those stories of conquest, subjugation and collaboration teach us about human nature: greed, power and our ability to overcome adversity.

What’s the most important lesson history has taught you?

Kindness: we exist because many before us have survived hardship and have chosen to share their space, resources and stories. And humility as a scholar: we very rarely discover anything but reinterpret and add to palimpsests.

Which book has had the greatest influence on you?

Nations nègres et culture by Cheikh Anta Diop.

What book in your field should everyone read?

The Bible, the Quran and the Communist Manisfesto.

Which moment would you most like to go back to?

Now is a good place for me as a scholar and a black woman.

Which historian has had the greatest influence on you?

Elikia M’Bokolo: an outstanding historian, a rigorous researcher, a kind man with a great sense of humour.

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