About Me

10-28-15 alicia odewale

           I am a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. I specialize in African Diaspora archaeology in the Caribbean and Southeastern United States with a theoretical focus in human behavioral ecology. My dissertation entitled “Living among Presidents and Kings: Enslaved Africans Coping with Risk in Service to the Elite” compares the material culture of royal slaves in the Danish West Indies (modern day Virgin Islands) and presidential slaves in Virginia to examine the natural and social environment affecting the enslaved community in both regions. This research also analyzes the different strategies these groups used to overcome the challenges they faced in service to the most elite factions of society.

          My archaeological training spans African Heritage Sites in Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, and St. Croix. My focus on the royal slaves in Christiansted and urban slavery in Caribbean contexts offers a unique contribution to current African Diaspora scholarship and has led to new questions regarding Danish slave treatment, quality of life for slaves in an urban environment, the roles of royal and presidential slaves in society, how enslaved people respond to extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, and a host of other inquiries.

         I was fortunate enough to be the first person of color to graduate with a masters in Museum Science and Management from the University of Tulsa and I anticipate being the first African American to graduate with a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Tulsa in the Fall semester of 2016.

         Support for this project comes from the University of Tulsa Graduate School and Research Office, the National Science Foundation, the George Odell Foundation, The National Park Service, American Anthropological Association, EARTHANGLE, the Montpelier Foundation, and Augustana College.




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