UoB professor announced as one of the ‘world’s top 50 thinkers' for 2020


By Georgiana Scott, Deputy Editor

Olivette Otele, Professor of History of Slavery at Bristol University has been recognised as one of the ‘World’s top 50 thinkers for the Covid-19 age’ by Prospect Magazine.

The list, which is released annually, acknowledges the 'leading minds of the moment', encompassing intellectuals across various industries that have made significant contributions within their field of expertise.

There is no official criteria for making the list. However, to identify the world's top thinkers for this year, 'the test of immediate and real world relevance looms large' said Prospect Magazine.

Olivette, has particularly been recognised for her work on Bristol’s associations with the slave trade and for her book ‘African Europeans: An Untold Story’ which is to be released in October.

She told Epigram, ‘This is a huge surprise and an incredible honour to have been chosen alongside people I admired or whose thoughts annoyed me when I was a student.

For example, Jurgen Habermas as well as Cornel West's silences on certain issues, pushed me to reflect on those who were never quoted or deemed valuable just because they did not fit most intellectual moulds.’

Olivette's profile on 'The world's top 50 thinkers for the Covid-19 age / Prospect Magazine 

Olivette joined Bristol University in January and is the first black female History professor in the UK.

She was most recently appointed as independent chair of Bristol City Council’s Commission on Race Equality.

This is a huge surprise and an incredible honour to have been chosen alongside people I admired
Olivette Otele

Also featuring on the 2020 top thinker's list is Eric Yuan founder of Zoom, David Attenborough, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and many other professionals from philosophers to filmmakers.  

For the first time, the majority of members on Prospect Magazine's list are women.

Reflecting on her achievement, Olivette added, 'Black African born French women get little recognition as worthy intellectuals in the UK and in most English speaking countries. So, I’m very happy about this!’

You are able to vote for the overall winner of Propect's world top thinker here.

Featured Image: Rich Fairhead / Prospect

Who will you be voting for as the world's top thinker? Let us know in the comments!