This scholarship was awarded to students who are planning to write a senior thesis in their college’s departmental honors program.
With the help of her Faculty supervisor, Dr. Christen Smith, Obayan, a double major in African American Studies and International Relations, was able to submit her thesis proposal titled “State Violence, Radical Protest and the black/African Female Body.”
Obayan’s research focuses on state violence against women in the Nigerian post-colony. She examines the radical indigenous practice of nude protests and how women are using these protests to challenge state power.
“Nude protest is an indigenous form of protest that African women have been employing for centuries to not only resist capitalist state formations, colonial and post-colonial, but also to redress anti-women formations in their communities,” said Obayan.
In her research, she expresses her idea of how the state—i.e., globalized neo-imperial capitalist state formations —is built off black women’s bodies.
“I believe that if black women were to resist the state formations they could function to undo the state,” said Obayan.
Her interest in black feminist thought stemmed from her African studies classes and cultural background. Upon learning about black women’s oppression and agency in her courses, she began developing her research interests by taking more AFR classes and engaging in black feminist texts.
“I’m Nigerian that is why I am invested in this--it’s personal to me. I’ve always had a desire to do work in the Nigerian system and address the inequalities that plague the women there,” said Obayan.
She plans to alter this dynamic through her research.
“I hope my research will provide a more nuanced view of the black woman’s body. Black women are usually seen as objects of mastery and something to be acquired and possessed; they are never seen as points of power that can possibly rupture the hegemonic systems of global civil society,” said Obayan.
She said she is proud to be an AFR major and was given the opportunity to represent the department.