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Oluwamayowa Willoughby

Ph.D. Student in Africana Studies


Oluwamayowa Willoughby is a 6th year Doctoral Graduate Candidate at the Africana Studies & Research Center at Cornell University.  Broadly, Oluwamayowa’s research focuses on historiographies & ecologies of Ottoman and post-Ottoman worlds, how community relationships to agricultural labor tell time, relationships between so called Middle-Eastern and so called Western scientific discourse, environmentalism, and how we can use this knowledge to challenge prevailing notions of blackness. 

Oluwamayowa’s dissertation investigates how the manumission of enslaved Africans at the end of the 19th century and their subsequent relocation into Southwestern Anatolia  for the express purpose of land cultivation-- all within the context of their "freedom"-- served as a driver for "black" identity formation in contemporary Turkey. Their dissertation tarries with the paradox of forced agricultural labor within a context of so-called freedom and unfurls a scaffolding for contextualizing the kinds of conditions that have made "black"Aegean, rural, living, livelihood, and survival (im)possible in contemporary Turkey. 



  • Africana Studies and Research Center