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Ayokunmi Ojebode

Honorary Visiting Fellow,

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Biography

Ayokunmi O. Ojebode bagged his PhD in English Literature from the Redeemer's University, Ede, in 2019, defending the thesis titled, "Characterology and Onomasticity in Selected Plays of Femi Osofisan." With over five years of experience as a university faculty, my guiding philosophy has been a deep commitment to teaching and conducting ground-breaking research, especially in African literature, Cultural Studies and Literary Onomastics. Dr Ojebode was a former academic at the Department of English, Ajayi Crowther University, Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the Ife Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS), Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Institute for Name-Studies (INS), School of English, University of Nottingham and English Functional Skills Lecturer at Nottingham College. He has published twenty articles in high-impact factor journals and has presented at several international conferences.

Dr Ojebode contributed and presented one of his research works at the SNSBI's last conference, 'Titbits on Onomastics among the Yoruba Africans' presented at the 2021 Name Studies in Britain and Ireland (SNSBI) Conference (Online), 10-11 April 2021. He and some scholars in the Institute for Name-Studies (INS) scholars/lecturers successfully chaired panel sessions at the 27th International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, Kraków, 22-27 August 2021. He participated in the Institute's first INS seminar on 3 November 2021. He is a presenter at several international conferences, including those organised by the African Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI), De Montfort University, Society of Name Studies in Britain and Ireland (SNSBI), African Studies Association (ASA), United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN Romano-Hellenic Division), International Council of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS), American Name Society (ANS). Dr Ojebode is a peer reviewer for Irinkerindo: Journal of African Migration (IJAM), Brooklyn, NY and Language in Africa, Moscow, Russia.

As a Lecturer at Nottingham College, Dr Ojebode employs a range of resources, visual and audio-visuals, to teach fundamental skills in the English language. His teaching style is engaging and allows me to identify each learner's weaknesses and improvement areas. He exploits the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platform for online courses and inspires learners with relatively low traditional literacy levels to achieve optimum outcomes. Dr Ojebode spurs learners to be creative, engage in group discussion and seek help where necessary. He enjoys collaborative work with peers, teaching and supporting staff and motivating learners to hone their critical thinking, communicative and writing skills. The most fulfilling moments as a lecturer have come from motivating struggling students to comprehend complex concepts through a blend of private sessions, class activities, and group discussions.

Expertise Summary

My unique blend of a desk-based and field-based research approach equipped me to write my PhD thesis, "Characterology and Onomasticity in Selected Plays of Femi Osofisan," defended at the Redeemer's University Nigeria, in September 2019. I leveraged my profound skills in critical textual analysis, semi-structured interviews, interdisciplinary surveys and field visits to explore the postcolonial significance of names in five dramatic texts of a Nigerian literary icon from the literary and sociocultural contexts. I employed Semiotics to connect the data to processes within the Nigerian society, culture and literature. I conducted eleven interviews with experts spanning various disciplines: dramatic literature, orature, history, religion (Christian and Islamic), politics, ethnicity, psychology and branding. Apart from establishing the playwright's disposition for characterisation, demystification and social criticism of Nigeria's postcolonial condition, the study also functions as a history-preserving resource for the transitory Nigerian naming tradition substantiated in social realities (i.e., Àbíkú concept, Ifá corpus, predestination and political issues).

Teaching Summary

Over the years, I have taught undergraduates and postgraduates diverse English and literature modules using multidisciplinary approaches. I have taught African-American and Caribbean Literature in… read more

Research Summary

My recent co-authored article "Name as National Archive: Capturing of Yoruba Masculinist Names in Tunde Kelani's Saworoide," Cambridge Scholars, 2021, examines masculine/ personal names in a… read more

Recent Publications

Over the years, I have taught undergraduates and postgraduates diverse English and literature modules using multidisciplinary approaches. I have taught African-American and Caribbean Literature in English, Comparative Literature, English Drama, and writing courses, including Advanced Research Methodologies, creative and technical writing, and first-year writing. I guide my students to read the texts, explore the core socio-political themes and relate them to contemporary issues like gender, sexuality, race, popular culture, conspiracy theories about government's authoritarianism, viral outbreaks, trauma, surveillance, superpower countries' nuclear wars and ecological degradation.

I have also taught African-American literature with emphasis on famous authors and themes like race, gender and sexuality, especially under different sub-headings like Antebellum and Slave Narratives in Roots by Alex Haley, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Jonathan Swift, Kindred by Octavia Butler, The Narratives of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth, The Narratives of Slavery and Civil War by Fredrick Douglas, The Narrative and Life of Olaudah Equiano also Known as Gustav by Olaudah Equiano. Also, Harlem Reinassance and Black Postmodernism The Fence by August Wilson, Beloved by Toni Morrison, "Why these blues come from us" Harryette Mullen, "And Still I Arise" and Other Poems by Maya Angelou, The Native Son by Richard Wright and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Hip Hop culture Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, James Brown.

I always leverage my expertise in African literature as a significant strength when teaching Black Women and Feminism with underlined themes like Ecocriticism, Immigration, Black identity, Sexual abuse in Alice Walker Colour Purple; Terry McMillan Waiting to Exhale; Edna O'Brien Girl; Kaine Agary Yellow Yellow and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Americanah, along with popular culture (films and songs).

I have successfully supervised an undergraduate and postgraduate student on the Senegalese Wolof griot tradition in Birago Diop's Tales of Amadou Koumba and Gender Reinvention and Royal Wives' Yungba Chant in Alaafin's Palace. I have also acted as a proxy advisor to a doctoral candidate researching the confluence between indigenous Yoruba folktales, Ecofeminism and Gender.

Current Research

My recent co-authored article "Name as National Archive: Capturing of Yoruba Masculinist Names in Tunde Kelani's Saworoide," Cambridge Scholars, 2021, examines masculine/ personal names in a Nollywood film as an allegory of the military dictatorship in Nigeria's political history. My article "Angry River Goddesses Speak: River Names, Memory and National Identity in Tess Onwueme's Then She Said It!" currently under review by UNGEGN Romano-Hellenic Division, Italy, explores a Niger-Delta dramatic text for pseudo-river names in popular Nigerian geopolitical zones focusing on Africa's environmental degradation, gender, goddess narratives and religion. My curriculum project "Home Before Naming: Naming Practices and Yoruba Characterization in Femi Osofisan's Selected Texts" recently defended to complete the Teaching Africa Teacher Certificate (TAT) with Boston University African Studies Center engages diverse learners, especially non-Yoruba university students, on the significance of naming practices in different contexts and settings (educational, literary and sociocultural).

Past Research

In my doctoral thesis, "Characterology and Onomasticity in Selected Plays of Femi Osofisan," I explored the postcolonial significance of names in five dramatic texts of a Nigerian literary icon underpinned to the literary and sociocultural contexts. I employed Semiotics to connect the data to processes within the Nigerian society, culture and literature. I conducted eleven interviews with experts spanning various disciplines: dramatic literature, orature, history, religion (Christian and Islamic), politics, ethnicity, psychology and branding. Apart from Literary onomastics, I have extended my studies to onomastic sub-fields (Brand-naming, e.g., Car Nicknames in Nigeria, Zoonymy, e.g., Animal Names in Alaafin of Oyo's Cognomen, Theonymy, e.g., Names of God in a Nigerian Musical Video and Pseudonymy, e.g., Names in Nigerian political history).

Future Research

I am an expert in African literature, Cultural studies and Literary Onomastics. I have dedicated most of my studies to unearthing the postcolonial significance of personal names in popular Nigerian literature underpinned to the literary and sociocultural contexts. I seek to connect the personal names to processes within the Nigerian society, culture and literature. My current projects border on naming, ecology, identities, and religion and explore naming practices in different contexts and settings.

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