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  • Daisy Mallabar

Professor Francis Dodoo awarded prestigious British Academy Global Professorship to join Oxford

Professor Francis Dodoo is to join the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science in Oxford’s Department of Sociology and Nuffield College as one of three new British Academy Global Professors at the University of Oxford, it is announced today (16 July).

The British Academy annually funds 10 Global Professorships in the UK, seeking to attract experienced international academics to contribute to UK higher education while conducting research at British universities. The programme demonstrates and enhances the UK’s commitment to international research collaboration, while strengthening domestic capacity and capability in the social sciences and humanities. The British Academy will provide funding support for four years.

Professor Dodoo, who joins the centre in January 2021, received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. The Ivy League-trained population scholar is an internationally-recognised researcher with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Africans in the diaspora. He has worked in the areas of gender, power and sexual decision-making; demographic and health outcomes associated with urban poverty; inequality issues among Africans in the diaspora; and on building research capacity in Africa.

Professor Dodoo's current focus is on studying how bride-wealth payment—long considered a mechanism for consolidating marriage in sub-Saharan Africa—affects the normative reproductive autonomy of married women on the continent. He will explore how levels of bride-wealth payment impact women’s ability to control their reproductive goals, how that ability translates preferences into behaviour, and how this in turn is conditioned by lineage, ethnicity, urban environment and education.

Professor Dodoo will be affiliated with the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Department of Sociology and Nuffield College, where he will work with Professor Melinda Mills, Director of the Centre, on collecting data and strengthening genomic, demographic and health research in Africa, and Dr. Ridhi Kashyap on comparing Africa’s bride-wealth with India’s dowry traditions.

Professor Melinda Mills, Director of the Leverhulme Centre, says: ‘We are elated that such a prestigious demographer will join our demographic science centre and bring decades of expertise and a focus on Sub-Saharan African demography and population. His work on men, African populations and fertility decision making is exceptional. I also hope to learn from his vast experience of institutional and individual research capacity building in Sub-Saharan Africa.’

Professor Francis Dodoo says: ‘After the last decade or so focusing on institutional building, including my recent service as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Development [at the University of Ghana] I am delighted at the opportunity to return to a full-time focus on my research. The prospect of being at the world’s top-ranked university is mind-blowing, and the brand new Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science (LCDS) and Oxford’s Department of Sociology present excellent collaborative possibilities with exceptional scholars and students. This would be a fine opportunity to bring new expertise and knowledge on sub-Saharan Africa, assist in growing the Leverhulme Centre, and help in deepening relationships with the continent.’

Professor Dodoo has been Liberal Arts Research Professor of Sociology and Demography at Pennsylvania State University, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Development at the University of Ghana, and founding director of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) in Kenya.

He is a four-time Olympian in athletics and has been decorated with the Grand Medal of the Republic of Ghana. He currently chairs the Governance Commission of World Athletics and is a member of the Governance and Integrity Committee of the Commonwealth Games Federation. He also chairs the board of the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP).


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