Adewumi Damilola Adebayo

PhD Candidate
IEEE Life Members' Fellow in History 2019/20

Adewumi (Damilola) Adebayo is a Cambridge-Africa Scholar. A native of Iwo, Nigeria, Damilola obtained his BA in History at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, where he was a Grace Leadership Foundation Scholar. He obtained an MA in International History from the Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland, as a Hans Wilsdorf Scholar.

His research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Cambridge's Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge's Centre of African Studies (CAS), the History Project, Joint Centre for History and Economics (Harvard), the Economic History Society (UK), among several others.

Economic and Social History | History of Technology | International Organisations | Africa since 1800

Damilola is a historian of Anglophone West Africa, particularly Nigeria. He is interested in research questions that lie at the intersection of social and economic development; science, technology and society; and the role of international bodies in the African past, since 1800.

With skills ranging from statistical analysis of quantitative data to interpretation of official records and literary materials (written, oral and visual), I approach problems from an integrated “top-down” and “bottom-up” position, placing the African at the centre of the narrative.

Doctoral Research

Entitled A Socioeconomic History of Electricity in Southern Nigeria, 1898-1972, Damilola's dissertation investigates the motivations, patterns, sociopolitical, and economic contexts, as well as the impact of electricity in Southern Nigeria, from its inception in 1898, through independence (1960), the Civil War (1967-1970), and to the eve of the OPEC-led international oil boom in the early 1970s. It is a history of socioeconomic life guided by a central question: in what ways has electricity been a cause and effect of social and economic change in Southern Nigeria?


I am a 'supervisor' (small group, essay-based, seminar-style teaching peculiar to the Oxbridge system) for Paper 21: Empires and World History from the Fifteenth Century to the First World War (Faculty of History); Paper 15: The Politics of Africa (Department of Politics and International Studies); and have given a guest lecture for Paper 29: The History of Africa from 1800 to the Present Day (Faculty of History). I have also co-taught the World History course at Cambridge Muslim College.


Tags & Themes


St. John's College
CB2 1TP Cambridge


Key publications

Review of The French Army and Its African Soldiers: The Years of Decolonization, by Ruth Ginio, Journal of African Military History, forthcoming.

“Electricity, Economy and Society in Southern Nigeria, 1890s-1972.” In New Researchers’ Papers, Annual Conference of the Economic History Society, 1–7. Belfast, 2019.

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