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Olanrewaju Lasisi

Degree Conferred : May 2023
Year Entered: 2016
Degree Sought: M.A./Ph.D.
Sub-field: Archaeology
Research Interests: : Historical Archaeology of West Africa; Power and Landscape; Sacred Landscapes; Comparative Colonialism; Archaeoastronomy; Ethnoastronomy.
Regional Specialization: Africa, African Diaspora, Nigeria.
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Social Media Accounts: Twitter @Lasisilanre1; Instagram @lasisispeaks; Facebook Olanrewaju Blessing Lasisi


Olanrewaju Lasisi is a Junior research fellow at Harvard’s research institute, Dumbarton Oaks, where he is currently researching the Ijebu Landscape of power. His doctoral dissertation at William & Mary examines the nature and structure of power and landscape in the Ijebu Kingdom, southwestern Nigeria. Ijebu kingdom is mentioned in travel accounts dating to the late fifteenth century. It is widely known by its enclosure known as Sungbo’s Eredo, a 180 km–long earthwork that surrounded the entire kingdom. Lasisi’s research suggests that the Ijebu-Ode, the capital of the Ijebu kingdom and the seat of the paramount ruler, and the outlying towns and their third-class kings played a pivotal role in the kingdom’s organization of space. Using evidence from ethnography and performance genre, archaeology, oral history, and archeoastronomy, Lasisi explores how this practice of space mirrors the practice of power politics, particularly the intersection of astronomy, architecture, and ritual at the ancient palace sphere. He interrogates the negotiation of power between the king at the kingdom’s capital and those at the outlying towns through ritual dramas, annual pilgrimages, and landscape signatures.

Olanrewaju Lasisi received his master’s degree at William & Mary. He holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Lasisi has been conducting research in Ijebu-Ode since 2014, and he now directs the Ijebu-Ode Archaeological Project from which his current dissertation emanates. He has received several grants from prestigious agencies, including the WennerGren Foundation, Washington Explorers, African Studies Associations, Society for Africanist Archaeologists, Dixon Family Scholarship, and William & Mary (Office of the Dean, Graduate Advisory Board, and the Department of Anthropology), among others, to support his research.