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Oghenetoja Okoh

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professorokoh

Phone: 410-617-5613
Office: Humanities Center 312

Curriculum Vitae


Oghenetoja Okoh received her B.A. at the University of Minnesota and earned her Ph.D. from New York University. She taught at the University of Akron before coming to Loyola. Her current book manuscript - Minority Identities in Nigeria: Contesting and Claiming Citizenship in the Twentieth Century – is under contract with Cambridge University Press and reflects her current research agenda. She teaches 20th century African and African diaspora history, with expertise on questions of ethnicity, gender, and citizenship.

Courses Taught

  • Encountering the Past
  • Colonialism in Africa
  • Africa in the Western Imagination
  • Gender and Power in Modern Africa
  • The Historian's Craft
  • Contesting empire: Nationalism & Decolonization in the Afro-Atlantic World
  • Ethnicity & Political Violence in Modern Africa


  • In the summer of 2023, Dr. Okoh took 13 students to Europe for an immersive course on the History of Colonial Africa (HS 220). This was a one-time opportunity, which she hopes to do again soon. Why go to Europe to study Africa? This was one of the first questions students asked about the course. Europe holds a significant amount of archival material for Africa because of its imperial past. Many historians of Africa must include a trip to European archives as part of their training. Dr. Okoh took her students to Belgium and the Netherland in partnership with Dr. Sara Scalenghe, who was then Director of our Leuven program. Why Belgium and the Netherlands? Belgium and the Netherlands provide exemplary cases for the kinds of colonial states European empires established across the continent. The Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) exemplified a commodity producing state, and South Africa (established by the Dutch East India Company) exemplified a settler colony. 

    In this immersive experience, students spent two weeks engaged in historically informed walking tours of Brussels, Antwerp, and Amsterdam, where students were able to encounters and appraise how the built environment of these cities embodied their colonial pasts. They visited various key museum exhibits as well: the Royal Africa Museum in Tervuren, and the Rijksmuseum and Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Each of these museums offered critical narratives about colonial Africa, and students were able to connect the legacies of the modern colonialism and the present state of African states and their historical development since independence. Students processed their immersive experience alongside the history they were learning in the course. It was a deeply transformative experience for most of the students, a few of whom agreed they now viewed Europe with a much more nuanced and critical lens. 

    Browse a few of the reflective blogs students produced through this experience: 
    Leyla Hecht’s Travel Blog – Colonial Africa, Imperial Europe
    Juliet Weiss’ Travel Blog – Colonial Africa, Imperial Europe
    Olvia Casey’s Travel Blog – Colonial Africa, Imperial Europe
    Vera Pavlovich’s Travel Blog – Colonial Africa, Imperial Europe
    museaum belgiummuseaum belgium loyol university students maymester

  • statue colonial africa belgiumMaymester Belgium loyola students elephant in museaum summer semester Maymester loyola university students museaumoutside statue museaum

  • Fall 2020 Dr. Okoh collaborated with the Baltimore Museum of Art to enhance her classes’ exploration of matriarchy and kinship in the course –Gender and Power in Modern Africa. It was perfect timing that the exhibit –A Perfect Power– debuted just as they began this unit in the course.


    Here is Dr. Okoh’s reflection on the success of this collaboration: Having access to the wide variety of images and objects in the exhibit really enriched our discussion by engaging how concepts of matriarchy were actually symbolized in many West and West Central African societies. This worked beautifully with the readings I selected on this topic and made the discussions much more vibrant. Most enriching was the opportunity to have Dr. Kevin Tervala, the exhibit’s curator, guest lecture and engage with the students. Attached to our discussion was a visual assignment that asked them to situate selected objects from the exhibit in the historical context we were learning about. At Loyola, we pride ourselves in engaging high impact teaching and learning practices. This was an excellent engagement with this pedagogical mission. Students not only came away feeling enriched, many were excited to engage historical thinking through this visual medium, having it anchor the more abstract concepts of kinship and matriarchy in material culture.IncorporatingA Perfect Powerinto this iteration of the course has expanded my own imagination for how to excite and challenge students in my history courses – courses that, on the surface, can be quite intimidating to prospective students. This was the most engaged iteration of this course, which I’ve taught three times in different settings. This is most surprising given the constraints of the current pandemic. I am most grateful for this experience.