Dr J. Kelechi Ugwuanyi

Kelechi Ugwuanyi is a critical heritage researcher specialising in Igbo cultural landscapes, indigenous cosmology and contemporary archaeology. His current research involves working with Igbo communities in eastern Nigeria and with colonial archives and collections in the UK, Germany and France to explore heritage dissonance and ontological ambivalence resulting from colonial and missionary encounters with Igbo cosmology, particularly around the concept of nso ani (sanctions or taboos). His research seeks to understand the dissonance of nso ani as conflict between indigenous worldviews and the worldviews of colonial administrators and missionaries in the late nineteeth and early twentieth centuries. In a project with Pitt Rivers Museum curator Paul Basu, he is exploring this in the context of taboos around ‘twin birth’ in eastern Nigeria and what it can tell us about the tensions between indigenous and colonial/missionary conceptions of personhood and relationships between human and more-than-human worlds. The project complicates the contemporary revalorisation of indigenous cultural knowledges and practices in decolonial research and revival movements. At the Pitt Rivers Museum, Kelechi is particularly interested in reexamining historical anthropological collections from Igbo-speaking areas of Nigeria, including the important collections made by P. A. Talbot, M. D. W. Jeffreys and G. I. Jones.

Prior to becoming a postdoctoral researcher at the Global Heritage Lab, University of Bonn, Kelechi was Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He received his PhD in Heritage Studies at the University of York.