Saheed Aderinto (born January 22, 1979) is a Nigerian-American Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University and an award-winning author. He is the Founding President of the Lagos Studies Association. Aderinto has published eight books, thirty-six journal articles and book chapters, forty encyclopedia articles, and twenty book reviews.
Aderinto was born in Ibadan (Nigeria) on January 22, 1979. He completed his elementary school education at Adeen International School in 1990 and secondary school at Ibadan City Academy in 1996. He then went on to earn a BA in History from the University of Ibadan in 2004. Aderinto moved to the United States in 2005 to study at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his MA and PhD in 2007 and 2010, respectively. In Fall of 2010, he started his teaching career at Western Carolina University, Cullowhee NC. In Fall 2022, Aderinto started a new position as Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University.
Aderinto is influenced by a “total” approach to historical research. Instead of locating historical ideas or events solely within a specific branch of history (such as social, political or economic), Aderinto adopts a holistic approach that borrows vocabulary, methodology, and discursive tools from a wide-range of disciplines and sub-disciplines. He is driven by ideas that do not “over-compartmentalize” history but connect diverse strands of knowledge in understanding the past. From works on children and sexuality to guns and animals, he has expanded the frontiers of Nigerian history, disturbing disciplinary boundaries in meaningful ways.
Aderinto’s publications conform to the research agenda of the “Third Wave of Historical Scholarship on Nigeria.” Scholars of this era of Nigerian history, as he demonstrated in one of his books with a similar title, are ideologically motivated by the need to show the importance of history to contemporary Nigeria. Aderinto is drawn to themes like sexuality, which his predecessors hesitated to write about and under-researched populations like children, placing their experience at the center of colonial discourse of modernity. Furthermore, he challenges the rigid binary between colonial and postcolonial ideas by demonstrating that historical periods should not be treated with undue rigidity; rather historians should recognize the continuity and change in core structures and processes that produced them. Aderinto is definitely not the first historian to articulate the need to connect precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial Nigerian history to form a holistic thread of ideas. However, he is one of the few scholars putting this into practice by devoting carefully written epilogues focusing on postcolonial period to books on the colonial period—while also providing a separate chapter on the precolonial period. Aderinto’s scholarship on love, romantic passion, and emotions, stand at the crossroads of gender, race, social class, and power formation across time and space.
Aderinto is the author of When Sex Threatened the State: Illicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900–1958 (University of Illinois Press, 2015) winner of the 2016 Nigerian Studies Association’s Book Award Prize for the “most important scholarly book/work on Nigeria published in English language.” The book examines “the intersection of sex work and the imperial project in British Nigeria.” It has been described as “The first comprehensive history of sexuality of colonial Nigeria.” It “combines the study of a colonial demimonde with an urban history of Lagos and a look at government policy to reappraise the history of Nigerian public life.” Another critic thought that “Saheed Aderinto has produced a very important contribution to African social history and Nigerian historiography ”When Sex Threatened the State has been reviewed in more than a dozen journals, including the Canadian Journal of African Studies, American Historical Review, International Journal of African Historical Studies, Africa: the Journal of the International African Institute, Canadian Journal of History, Journal of the History of Sexuality, Journal of West African History, the Historian, and Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, among others.
He is also the author of Guns and Society in Colonial Nigeria: Firearms, Culture, and Public Order (Indiana University Press, 2018). The book examines the evolution of Nigeria into a gun society during the first half of the twentieth century. In this book, Aderinto details the complex interactions between Nigerians and guns as a significant element of African colonial encounter.
Lagos Studies Association
The history of the LSA dates back to May 2016 when Aderinto co-organized a conference on Lagos with Abosede George (Barnard College) and Ademide Adelusi-Adeluyi (University of California, Riverside) at Barnard College, New York City. Participants at the conference noted the significance of having an organization to harmonize the works of academic and non-academic practitioners of Lagos. They suggested the formation of the LSA. In spring of 2017, Aderinto led the establishment of the LSA as “an international, interdisciplinary organization of academic and non-academic practitioners whose interest focus on Lagos and its peoples. The LSA organizes the annual Lagos Conference held in Lagos (Nigeria) and holds panels at international conferences of the African Studies Association of the United States and the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom.