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Happy Accidents: Serendipity and the Historian's Craft

Dr. Judith Byfield
Cornell University
Watson Hall 517

Dr. Judith Byfield's upcoming Seminar Series lecture, "Happy Accidents: Serendipity and the Historian's Craft," considers the role that serendipity plays in historical research and production. Building on the work of scholars in media studies, history and anthropology, it argues that serendipity is the outcome of our training and the social universe in which we work.

Dr. Judith Byfield is a professor of history and member of the Africana Studies and Research Center and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies field within the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The primary focus of her scholarship has been women's social and economic history in Nigeria and she has conducted extensive research into tie-dye production, World War II, Nigerian women's political activism, and nationalism. At present, she is a Fulbright Global Scholar working on a new project inspired by the West Indian women she met during her research trips to Nigeria entitled, “Curry Goat and Gari: West Indian Women in 20th Century Lagosian Society.” Her latest book, A Great Upheaval: Women and Nation in Post-War Nigeria (Ohio University Press, 2021), won the American Historical Association's Martin A. Klein Prize, which recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship on African history published in English during the previous calendar year.

Be sure also to check out Dr. Byfield's Seminar Series interview on serendipity and her life studying Nigerian women's history here.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.