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Roland Oliver (born 1923) is Emeritus Professor of African history
at the University of London. Throughout a long career he was an
eminent researcher, writer, teacher, administrator and organiser,
who had a profound effect on the development of African Studies in
the United Kingdom and who has made an outstanding contribution to
the study of African history.Following his undergraduate and
doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge between 1941 and
1948, Roland Oliver joined the staff of the School of Oriental and
African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, where he was
successively Lecturer, Reader and Professor until his retirement in
1986. His appointment as a Lecturer in African history marked the
beginnings of the contemporary academic field of African history.
The African History Seminar that he founded and chaired at the
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) became the most
important venue for the advancement of the academic discipline of
African history anywhere in the world, and has profoundly
influenced all subsequent scholarship on the subject.
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