Olufemi (Femi) Vaughan is the Alfred Sargent Lee & Mary Ames Lee Professor of Black Studies at Amherst College. He is author and editor of ten books and over eighty scholarly articles and reviews, including Religion and the Making of Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2016; 2017 Nigerian Studies Association Book Prize) and Nigerian Chiefs: Traditional Power in Modern Politics, 1890s-1990s (University of Rochester Press, 2000; 2001 Cecil B. Currey Book Prize -- Association of Global South Studies). He was professor of Africana Studies & History, and associate provost at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and Geoffrey Canada Professor of Africana Studies & History, and director of Africana Studies at Bowdoin College. Vaughan is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Nigeria, senior editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Methods, Sources, and Historiography in African History, and a member of the advisory council of the Africa Program, Wilson Center. He is the recipient of several professional awards including a Wilson National Fellowship, Wilson Public Policy Fellowships, Ford Foundation Fellowships, a Distinguished Scholars Award of the Association of Global South Studies, and a State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. 


B.A. 1980; MA.1983, Government, St. John's University; PhD., Politics, 1989, Oxford University

Project Summary

In collaboration with Adesoji Adelaja (Michigan State University), Femi Vaughan's research project will analyze structural and systemic factors that pose major challenges to Nigerian governance and development. The project will also propose public policy responses to these challenges.

Major Publications

Religion and the Making of Nigeria, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016, pp. xi-311

Nigerian Chiefs: Traditional Power in Modern Politics, 1890s-1990s, Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2000, pp. v-293

Chiefs, Power, and Social Change: Chiefship and Modern Politics in Botswana, 1880s-1990s, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003, pp. v-218

Legitimacy and the State in Twentieth Century Africa (co-editor with T. Ranger) London: Macmillan Press, 1993, pp. vi-284

West African Migrations: Transnational and Global Pathways in a New Century (co-editor with M. Okome) New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012, pp. 1-280

Transnational Africa and Globalization (co-editior with M. Okome) New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012, pp. 1-266

Tradition and Politics: Indigenous Political Structures in Africa, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005, pp. v-406

"Chieftaincy Politics and Communal Identity in Colonial Western Nigeria, 1893-1951," Journal of African History, 44, 2003, pp. 283-302

"Assessing Grassroots Politics and Community Development in Nigeria," African Affairs: Journal of the Royal African Society, 94, 1995, pp. 501-518 

Previous Terms

Scholar: January 2013-April 2013; Project Title: "Religious Structures and State Formation in Nigeria, 1804-2007" Fellow: September 2006 - May 2007; Project Title: "Islam, Christianity, and Indigenous Religions in the Formation of Modern West African States"