UCL Department of Geography


Nicola Horne

Research Title

Oyinbo as Other: The making and meanings of whiteness in Lagos, Nigeria

More about Nicola

Before returning to academia, I worked in fundraising, marketing and public engagement roles at Cancer Research UK in London for nine years and later in the Migration Delivery team at the British High Commission in Nigeria.

Academic Background

  • 2021 (expected) PhD Geography, UCL
  • 2008 Postgraduate Certificate Leadership & Management, University of Sussex
  • 2004  MSc Geography, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2002 BA (First Class Honours) Geography, Oxford University
Research Interests

The existing literature’s overriding focus on how whiteness is made and understood by white people and in Western societies, to the virtual exclusion of all others, is problematic. Whiteness retains a potent symbolism around the world, including in places without significant white populations.

In south-western Nigeria, for example, oyinbo is a Yoruba word commonly translated as ‘white person’. Yet the imperfection of this translation belies the fact that many African perspectives on whiteness have been largely unexplored. These unexamined perspectives on whiteness, what it means and how it’s made, are based on and inform the lived experience of many millions of people.

In exploring how the concept of oyinbo is made and understood in Lagos, Nigeria, my research aims to highlight some of these alternative manifestations of whiteness, and to contribute to the existing literature by problematising common Western understandings of what it means to be ‘white’.

Research Grants, Prizes and Awards
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), PhD studentship (3 yrs)