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Adewumi Damilola Adebayo

Adewumi  Damilola Adebayo

PhD Candidate,

Economic and Social History; World History

Co-convenor, World History Workshop (2018/19)

Graduate Representative (2018/19)

St. John's College,
Cambridge CB2 1TP


Adewumi (Damilola) Adebayo is a Cambridge-Africa Scholar. A native of Iwo, Nigeria, Damilola obtained his BA at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, where he was a Grace Leadership Foundation Scholar. He has an MA from the Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland. You can read more about him here.

Research Interests

In general: African history (all periods); empire; economic history; technology and society; labour history; international organisations; urban histories.

Doctoral Research: My doctoral research investigates the complex history of the production and use of electricity in Southern Nigeria from early 1890s to 1972. It is a socioeconomic history of the evolution and impact of an energy technology system. In general, the thematic scope of historical research on electricity in Nigeria (and indeed, the entire African continent) is narrow. The significance of this dissertation is its contribution to broader debates and issues that matter to historians, sister disciplines and to the general reading audience. I hope my research would provide some answers to big questions such as: Were British investments in power infrastructure for promoting economic growth of colonies, or for boosting rent-seeking? As a "General Purpose Technology", what was the impact of electricity on total factor productivity during my period? With the introduction of electricity, what changes were engendered in the way of life, and consequently, the way of thinking (modernity)? What impact did the use of electricity have on urbanisation and inequality in the twentieth century society? How has Nigeria’s abundant natural resources (coal, oil and gas, and hydropower – which became the source of energy for power generation) been managed to drive industrialisation? What can we learn from the management of electricity, a “public good”, by the government and the private sector during my period?


Research Supervision

Supervisor: Professor Gareth Austin

Other Professional Activities

Junior Research Fellow, IFRA Nigeria - Institut français de recherche en Afrique


  • International History
  • Economic, Social History
  • Imperial History

Key Publications


World History Student Conference 2017, King’s College, London Strand WC2R 2LS London, United Kingdom, 6 May 2017. Paper Title: “The ILO and the Political Economy of Labour Policy-Making in Southwestern Nigeria: 1930-1958”.

PhD Workshop on African & Asian Economic History, King’s College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 9th February 2017. Paper Title: “Electricity, Economy and Society in Southern Nigeria, 1896 – 1972: Issues and Methods”.

World History Student Conference 2016, King's College London Strand WC2R 2LS London, United Kingdom, 7 May 2016. Paper Title: “Marxist-Leninist Ideology South of the Sahara: The Ujamaa Model of African Socialism (1961-1985) Reconsidered”.

African History Research Workshop, The Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland, 28-29 April 2016. Paper Title: “The ILO and the Political Economy of Wage Determination in Colonial Nigeria from the 1930s to the 1950s”

Global History Students Conference 2015, Friedrich Meinecke Institut (FMI) at the Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany, 25-26 April 2015. Paper Title: “Racial Discrimination in Transnational Perspective: Black American Baptist Missionaries in South Africa, 1880 – 1915”

Other Publications

Adebayo, A. D. “Nigeria’s Failing Economy and the Primacy of Politics.” In the Long Run, March 1, 2017.