Insa Nolte

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

My research emphasises the importance of everyday encounters and interpersonal relationships for wider social and political processes West African, Nigerian and especially Yoruba history and society, and has been supported by different UK and international funding agencies. My first book, entitled Obafemi Awolowo and the Making of Remo: The local politics of a Nigerian Nationalist examines power and consent in the history of a distinctive region of Southwest Nigeria, which produced Nigeria’s most important Yoruba politician. I am the lead editor (with Olukoya Ogen and Rebecca Jones) of Beyond Religious Tolerance: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists in an African Town (2017, James Currey/ Boydell and Brewer), and I am currently writing a second monograph on Muslim-Christian marriages and family relationships in southwest Nigeria.

I am currently the PI of an ERC Grant is entitled 'Knowing Each Other: everyday religious encounters, social identities and tolerance in southwest Nigeria' and based both at the University of Birmingham in the UK, and at Osun State University (UNIOSUN) in Nigeria. It centres on the everyday lives of Yoruba Muslims, Christians and traditionalists, and it explores the way in which religious differences and encounters inform social identities shaped by gender, generation, and education etc. (for more information, see our project website and blog and follow us on facebook and on twitter (link: @KEONigeria,)


After a first degree at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, I joined the Centre of West African Studies (now DASA) as a PhD student to work on the history and politics of Remo under the supervision of Paulo de Moraes Farias and Karin Barber. After my graduation, I held the Kirk-Greene Junior Research Fellowship at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and I returned to DASA to take up a lectureship in 2001. In 2015 I was promoted to Reader.

In 2012 I also joined the Department of History and International Studies at Osun State University, Nigeria, as a Visiting Professor.

I am currently the Vice Chair of the UK Council of Area Studies Associations (UKCASA), and the President of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Dr Nolte supervises doctoral research students working on African and Nigerian history, politics and development. Current and recent supervision topics include democratisation and godfatherism in Nigeria; women's empowerment in the Nigerian agricultural sector; Igala women traders and micro-credit enterprise in Jos, Nigeria; and political parties and democratisation in Nigeria.