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Olumayowa Willoughby

Ph.D. Student in Africana Studies


Bam Willoughby is a 4th year PhD student in the field of Africana Studies at Cornell University. They received their B.A in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College in 2014. Their undergraduate thesis “But The Color Stayed” was an interdisciplinary exploration of how the lived experiences of Turks of African descent reflected for whom the Turkish nation-state was—and was not—intended. Their dissertation uses literary analysis, archival research, and ethnography to argue that African-descended Turkish people’s relationships to land are critical indexes of modern Turkish history. Their works insists on the necessity of recuperating subjugated sites of historical inquiry and tending to the primacy of African genealogies of being within a contemporary Turkish landscape. In 2016 they were awarded the Foreign Language Areas Studies Fellowship through the U.S Department of Education. In 2018 they were awarded the Koc-Holding Fellowship through the Institute of Turkish Studies. Bam will spend the 2018-2019 academic year as a Visiting Researcher at Koc University, conducting ethnographic fieldwork with communities of Turks of African descent in and around Izmir, sharpening their scholastic cache rubbing shoulders with Koc University intellectual powerhouses, and meandering the Ottoman archives with great intent.


  • Africana Studies and Research Center


Spring 2020