Dr. Saheed Aderinto is a historian who uses unusual lenses such as sexuality, guns, animals and music to reexamine colonial identity and subjecthood in modern Africa, with a particular focus on Nigeria. He is a Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University.
Aderinto’s work challenges historians to think about what constitutes the past in completely new ways, to ask new questions about the makers of history and to question conventional assumptions about power, agency and authority. He aims to recalibrate conventional definitions of sources used to reconstruct African history.
His work excavates previously unused sources and reexamines existing ones to mobilize innovative methodologies and vocabularies from multiple fields and render interpretations that take historical research in unexpected directions.
Aderinto describes himself as a serial methodologist and decompartmentalizing historian who adopts multiple disciplinary tools in understanding the past while blending different genres of history to reveal the complexities of people and events that came before us.
Aderinto has written a number of books, including When Sex Threatened the State: Illicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900-1958 (University of Illinois Press, 2015), Guns and Society in Colonial Nigeria: Firearms, Culture, and Public Order (Indiana University Press, January 2018), and Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa: The Human and Nonhuman Creatures of Nigeria (Ohio University Press, 2022).
His first book, When Sex Threatened the State, was the winner of the 2016 Nigerian Studies Association Book Award for being the “most important scholarly book/work on Nigeria published in the English language.”
Aderinto’s work has appeared in leading Africanist and specialist journals including the Canadian Journal of African Studies; Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History; Journal of the History of Sexuality; Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History; History in Africa: A Journal of Method; Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies; Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute; the Journal of Social History; and the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, among others.
He is currently writing a book and making a documentary about the history of Fuji music in Nigeria.
Aderinto received his BA in History from the University of Ibadan and his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin.