Oluseyi Odunyemi Agbelusi

agbelusi headshot

Oluseyi Odunyemi Agbelusi

Assistant Professor and Anthropology (he/him/his)


2112 G St. NW, Rm 102 Washington DC 20052

Dr. Agbelusi joined the GW Department of Anthropology in the Fall of 2023, and teaches courses on historical preservation and the Black Atlantic.

2022     Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work, The Graduate School at Syracuse University (The 4th Annual Competition). 

2021 – 2022     Dissertation Completion Fellowship, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). 

African Archaeology, African-Diasporas, Atlantic Studies, transnational Black Studies, Colonialism, Museum Anthropology, Preventive Conservation, Sierra Leone, Nigeria. 

My research reveals local responses to, and influences on the nascent British colonialism, imperial policies, and trade networks at Regent, a liberated African village on the Sierra Leone peninsula during the colonial period (circa 1860 to 1960) through the study of written and archaeological data. It explores how Africans liberated from slave ships and barracoons, following the British abolition of the slave trade and therefore of varying cultural and ethnic backgrounds, established new settlements and actively changed or maintained their household spatial practices, socio-economic strategies, as well as material use and discard patterns in this foreign diasporic setting. 

I conducted two years of archival research in Freetown and archaeological investigations, which included settlement-wide surveys and the horizontal excavations of two house loci at Regent Village known to contain stratified domestic deposits dating to the colonial period. I use these written records and archaeological assemblages to show how these diverse Africans adapted to this foreign diasporic environment focusing on varied house structures and the mundane things they made, bought, used, and discarded. Results of the analyses indicate emerging cultural elites in the two excavated house loci, while the settlement-wide survey data reveal that some liberated Africans and their descendants lived in foreign-style houses that were neither European nor local, used many imported materials and retailed them, obtained Western education and went to church, but never became “British.” 

I employ a theoretical framework that connects colonial entanglements, cross-cultural exchange, and identity formation. This theoretical framework is a rich and provocative terrain to make sense of the interconnectedness, intimacies, and agency in Sierra Leone. It shows how the diaspora operates within the geographic concept of “Africa,” how this project disrupts any singular understanding of “Africa,” and under what condition this category both surfaces and disappears. A deeper and fuller engagement with identity formation also provides an important space to examine how diverse, liberated Africans and their descendants create a sense of self and community and how these social formations and global pathways that collide and entangle in Sierra Leone manifest in the material record. 

Ongoing Projects

  • I am currently developing a local project on enslavement and freedom in the DMV—the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. 

ANTH 3891: The Black Atlantic


Journal Articles and Book Chapters 

2015    Agbelusi, Oluseyi O. Archaeological Education in Nigeria: Concepts, Methods, Challenges and Recommendations.” In Students in Archaeology: A Global Perspective, edited by Claire and Jordan Ralph, pp. 220–245. Special Issue Archaeologies 11(2). Springer, New York. 

2014    Agbelusi, Oluseyi O. Afro-Brazilian Influences on Indigenous Yoruba Architecture: The Ibadan Example. West African Journal of Archaeology 39: 61 – 77. 

2014   Agbelusi, Oluseyi O. In Search of the Ancestors: A Preliminary Archaeological Reconnaissance of Orile-Owu, Nigeria. Anistorito13: 1–11. Electronic Copy. Available at: http://www.anistor.gr/english/4 


Book Reviews 

2020    Agbelusi, Oluseyi O. Review of Revelations of Dominance and Resistance: Unearthing the Buried Past of The Akpini, Akan, German, and British at Kpando, Ghana by Apoh, Wazi (2019). Sub-Saharan Publishers. African Archaeological Review 37: 523–525. 

2016    Agbelusi, Oluseyi O. Review of The Ethics of Cultural Heritage, edited by Ireland, T. and J. Schofield   (2015). Springer. Ethical Archaeologies: The Politics of Social Justice: 4, 1–219. Dig ItThe Journal of the Flinders Archaeological Society 3: 92–94. 


Entry in Encyclopedia  

2016       Agbelusi, Oluseyi O. Yatenga. In African Kingdoms: An Encyclopedia of Empires and Civilizations, edited by Saheed Aderinto. ABC-CLIO Greenwood, USA. 



2021     Appiah-Adu, Siaw, Oluseyi O. Agbelusi, Samuel Amartey, and David A. Okanlawon. Pandemic or ‘Plandemic’?: Graduate Study and Research in the COVID Era. Society of Black Archaeologists 21-23. 


Ph.D., 2023, Anthropology, Syracuse University, Upstate New York, USA. 

M.A., 2020, Anthropology, Syracuse University, Upstate New York, USA. 

M.Sc., 2016, Conservation Studies, University College London, in Qatar (UCL Qatar). 

B.A., 2012, Archaeology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.