Joseph Akinniyi

Graduate Student


Omobolanle J. Akinniyi is a historian of 20th century Africa, thematically interested in Socio-military History and Gender History. Specifically, he is concerned about the survival strategies of African women in war, their contributions to the war efforts, and the varied manifestations of their contributions in social roles. He is also interested in war memory, trauma, and commemoration.

Outside academics, he co-directs Woke Foundation, an NGO committed to intellectually empowering underserved young Africans and fostering educational development in Africa.


Advising Committee with Lead Listed First

Professor Judith Byfield (Chair); Professor Sandra Greene; Professor Barry Strauss

Research Focus

Akinniyi’s thesis, tentatively titled “Beyond Victimhood: Biafran Women, the Homefront and the Burden of War in Biafra,” gives agency to Biafran women in the analysis of the Nigerian Civil War. His research, looking beyond the popular narratives of victimhood, explores the contribution of Biafran women as combatants and non-combatants on the war front and homefront during the Nigerian Civil War. It investigates the resultant dearth of men on the homefront and the implication this had on food production, gender roles, and family structures.