Political Science Professor Olukunle Owolabi, PhD, Receives Six Awards for Recent Book on the Developmental Legacies of Colonialism

Book cover of, "Ruling Emancipated Slaves and Indigenous Subjects"

Villanova, Pa — Villanova University Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Africana Studies Program, Olukunle Owolabi, PhD, is the recipient of six awards for his book, Ruling Emancipated Slaves and Indigenous Subjects: The Divergent Legacies of Forced Settlement and Colonial Occupation in the Global South.

Dr. Owolabi’s book, published in 2023, continues to receive recognition from top scholarly institutions and professional associations. He is the co-winner of the American Political Science Association's (APSA) 2024 Best Book Award in Citizenship and Migration Studies and received an honorable mention for the APSA’s 2024 Luebbert Best Book Award in Comparative Politics. The APSA also honored Dr. Owolabi with the 2024 Merze Tate-Elinor Ostrom Outstanding Book Award, the organization’s most prestigious award recognizing the best book published in government, politics and international affairs. Previous recipients of this award include some of the biggest names in political science, including Robert Dahl, Theda Skocpol, Adam Przeworski, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.

In addition to these awards from the APSA, Dr. Owolabi is also the recipient of the 2024 Katzenstein Prize, awarded by Cornell University’s Department of Government for an outstanding first book in international relations, comparative politics or political economy. Additional awards include the 2023 Distinguished Book Award by the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration Studies section of the International Studies Association, and the 2024 W.E.B. Du Bois Distinguished Book Award by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists for outstanding work that grapples with fundamental questions of political power, race and other intersections of oppression.

The significance of Dr. Owolabi’s work has been recognized by leading scholars of political science, including David D. Laitin, PhD, of Stanford University. "Olukunle Owolabi, in his eye-opening treatise, describes what generations of development economists did not see, namely that countries populated by slaves of forced settlement have brought peace, prosperity and democracy far outpacing countries of colonial occupation,” writes Dr. Laitin. “He then explains why, showing the returns to emancipation and citizenship. My hat off to Owolabi for opening our eyes to what has long been obscured by academic prejudices."

The recent awards underscore the significant contributions Dr. Owolabi makes to political science and related disciplines. Dr. Owolabi holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto, a master’s in Latin American Studies from Oxford University, and a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame.

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