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Anthropology, History Professors Win Prestigious Award for Co-Authoring Book about the Nigerian Civil War

A nine-year research project that included more than 100 interviews with survivors and witnesses of a massacre during the Nigerian Civil War is recognized by the world’s major professional society of oral historians.

Elizabeth Bird, PhD, professor of anthropology and Fraser Ottanelli, PhD, professor of history, are winners of the Oral History Association’s 2018 Book Award.

Their book titled The Asaba Massacre: Trauma, Memory, and the Nigerian Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2017) details the mass killing of hundreds of civilians by soldiers of the Nigerian government, during the 1967-70 civil war over the secession of Biafra. The authors aimed to show the importance of the massacre to the history of the war, as well as explore the process of memory over 50 years.

The book committee wrote that they were “particularly struck by the strength and rigor of the scholarship, the dialogical use of new media, and the community-engaged approach taken to such a sensitive and traumatic event.”

The USF professors were honored at the OHA Annual Conference in Montreal.


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