Wesleyan portrait of Okechukwu Charles Nwafor

Okechukwu Charles Nwafor

Assistant Professor of Art History

Boger Hall, 304


BA University of Nigeria
MFA Nnamdi Azikiwe University
PHD University of Western Cape

Okechukwu Charles Nwafor

Okechukwu Nwafor’s scholarship broadly addresses African Art history, African Visual Culture, Visual History, Museum Studies and Curatorship. His special interests include the political, economic and social networks that circulate around material things such as clothes and photographs. By questioning the deeper, intricate transactions in the materials of everyday life, Nwafor uncovers the wider artistic and aesthetic promise of marginal things.  

His first book is Aso ebi: Dress, Fashion, Visual Culture and Urban Cosmopolitanism in West Africa (University of Michigan Press, 2021). This book investigates how Aso ebi (family dress), fashion, and photography engendered a new visual culture that has redefined urban cosmopolitan experience in West Africa. His ongoing book projects are provisionally titled Exit of an Icon: Photography and the Visual Culture of Death and Funeral in West Africa and Ndidi Dike: Art, Counter Culture and Postcolonial Crisis. Nwafor’s articles have appeared in journals, including History in Africa, Third Text, Cultural Critique, African Arts, African Studies, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Fashion Theory, Critical Intervention: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. His recent articles in 2023 include "A Class of Their Own: Newspaper Obituaries and the Colonial Public Sphere in Lagos, 1880–1920.” History in Africa 50 (2023):1-27 and “The Slave Ship and Badagry in Ndidi Dike’s ‘Waka-into-Bondage: The Last 3/4 Mile." Third Text  (2023): 1-18.

Before Nwafor came to Wesleyan, he was an academic staff at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria where he taught courses in art history and painting and was part of the Department’s postgraduate board. He has served as a chair of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts in his former institution and was a Forsyth Postdoctoral fellow in the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan. He worked on his second book project when he was a University of Michigan Presidential Scholar (UMAPS) in 2018 and also a Postdoctoral fellow in Photography and Visual Culture at the Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research (WISER) in the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Wed 1-2:30pm, or by appointment


Fall 2024
ARHA 266 - 01
History of African Photography

ARHA 267 - 01
African Arts of Commemoration