Dr. J. Kelechi Ugwuanyi

Email:  jkelechi.ugwuanyi@uni-bonn.de

My research interests include critical heritage studies, museums, indigenous knowledge systems, cultural landscapes, and contemporary archaeology. In the past, I explored negotiations between global heritage discourses and local beliefs and value systems in the context of the village arena or ‘square’, a cultural and historical landscape feature typical of many Igbo settlements in southeast Nigeria. I also studied human-nature relational ontologies focusing mainly on human-tree and human-animal connectivity in the same region of Nigeria. In my current research at the Global Heritage Lab I continue to work on themes of cultural landscape, indigenous ontologies and human-nature relationships among Igbo communities, while also examining the changing status of the knowledge produced by anthropologists during the colonial era for local people.

I am also a senior lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Associate Researcher at Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. I have a PhD in Heritage Studies from the University of York and an MA in Cultural Resource Management and Tourism, a BA in Archaeology and Tourism, and a Diploma in Tourism and Museum Studies from the University of Nigeria. I am a co-editor of the Journal of African Cultural Heritage Studies. I also sit on the editorial board of the Studies in Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory book series published by Archaeopress.


Ugwuanyi, J. K. (2024). Coloniality and decoloniality of heritage institutions in West Africa. In Sinamai, A., Giblin, J. D., Shadreck, C. and Ishalonsen, O. (eds.), Routledge handbook of heritage in Africa, (in press). London: Routledge.

Schofield, J. and Ugwuanyi, J. K. (2023). Heritage and posthumanism: seeking harmony in a precarious and unstable world. In Shepherd, N. (ed.), Rethinking heritage in precarious times: Coloniality, Climate Change, and Covid-19, 57-72. London: Routledge.

Onyishi, A. E., Ugwuanyi, J. K. and Oji, C. C. (2023). Assessing the implications of killer herdsmen in the north and unknown gunmen in the south for the tourism industry in Nigeria. IKENGA International Journal of Institute of African Studies, 24(2), 1-25. 

Oji, C. C.; Okam, M.C. and Ugwuanyi, J. K.* (2023). Public archaeology and conservation of archaeological sites in southeastern Nigeria. Journal of Archaeology and Tourism Research, 3(1), 108-117.

Obieluem, H. U.; Ugwuanyi, J. K*. and Agbo, G. E. (2023). Conserving intangible cultural heritage through heritage tourism in Nsukka urban area. Journal of Tourism and Heritage Studies, 12(1), 1-16.

Agbo, P. O.; Ugwuanyi, J. K. and Okwueze, M. I. (2022). Our gods are as powerful as the God of Abraham: analysing the impetus-agitat on the rise of ézéńwànyì in Ǹsúkkà-Ìgbò, Southeastern Nigeria. Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies, 48 (3), 475-490. DOI: 10.1080/02533952.2022.2152544.

Ugwuanyi, J. K. and Obochi, P. N. (2022). Exploring the posthuman interconnectivity for ecosystem conservation: a study of Ọgba-aguowuru sacred forest in Adaba community, Enugu state, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Social Sciences, 18(1), 101-117.

Onyemechalu, J. S. and Ugwuanyi, J. K*. (2022). Íhé Ńkètá and Òkè: concepts and practice of indigenous cultural heritage management in the Igbo cultural area of south-eastern Nigeria. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, 12 (4), 609-624. DOI: 10.1108/JCHMSD-12-2020-0177.

Onyemechalu, S. J. and Ugwuanyi, J. K. (2022). Archaeology of Igbo land – the pride of our ancestors and the joy of the living. In Uchechukwu, C. (ed.), Learning about ndi Igbo, 2-19. Lagos, Nigeria: Integrated Work Solutions Ltd.

Odii, E. C.; Onyemechalu, S. J.; Ugwuanyi, J. K.; Odii, B. C. and Okoro, J. O. (2022). Situating sustainable development in museums’ educational services: a case study of national and institutional museums in Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Social Sciences, 18(1), 19-45.

Ugwunayi, J. K. (2021). Time-space politics and heritagisation in Africa: understanding where to begin decolonisation. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 27(4), 356-374. DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2020.1795907.

Ugwu, C., Ugwuanyi, J. K*. and Onah, S. (2021). Knowledge policing and externally driven paradigms: implications for scholarship and progress in Africa”. Nigerian Journal of Social Sciences, 17 (1), 1-9, (2021).

Ugwuanyi, J. K; Itanyi, E. I. and Obieluem, H. U. (2021). Heritage ontologies in Nigeria: an analysis of how heritage connects and disconnects people. Journal of African Archaeology, 19(2), 131-145. DOI: 10.1163/21915784-bja10007.

Ugwuanyi, J. K.; Obieluem, H. U. and Agbo, G. E. (2021). Contemplating public engagement as an empowerment approach in archaeology and heritage management in Nigeria. Nsukka Journal of the Humanities, 29:2, 42-58. 

Agbo, G. E., Ugwuanyi, J. K. and Obieluem, U. H. (2021). Occupy Nigeria and the inception of online visual mobilisation of street protest.” Mgbakoigba: Journal of African Studies, 9:1, 19-32, (2021). https://www.ajol.info/index.php/mjas/article/view/220491

Ugwuanyi, J. K.; Ugwu, C. and Okwueze, M. (2020). Masking and oral tradition in the re-enactment of village-based hierarchy among the acephalous Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria. World Archaeology, 52:5, 746-764. DOI:10.1080/00438243.2021.1938197.  

Obieluem, H, U. and Ugwuanyi, J. K*. (2020). Authenticity, revitalisation and heritage tourism: an interrogation. Int. Journal of Research in Arts and Social Sciences, 13, 176-185.

Ugwuanyi, J. K. (2020). Human-nature offspringing: indigenous thoughts on posthuman heritage. In Harrison, R. and Sterling, C. (eds.), Deterritorializing the Future: Heritage in, of and after the Anthropocene, 266-288. London: Open Humanities Press.

Ugwuanyi, J. K. and Schofield, J. (2018) Permanence, temporality and the rhythms of life: exploring significance of the village arena in Igbo culture. World Archaeology, 50 (1), 7 – 22, DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2018.1473164.

Ugwuanyi, J. K. (2018). Hegemonic heritage and public exclusion in Nigeria: a search for inclusive and sustainable alternatives. West African Journal of Archaeology, 48, 71 – 92.

Ugwuanyi, J. K; Agu, C. S. and Ugwu, C. (2014). Conserving the unknown heritage: a testimony from Oku N’erere Adoration Museum, Nsukka, Southeast Nigeria. IKENGA International Journal of Institute of African Studies,16 (1 & 2), 18 – 30. 

Engagement in media

“Why stolen objects being returned to Africa don’t belong just to museums – podcast”. Interviewed by The Conversation Weekly, 10 November 2022. https://theconversation.com/why-stolen-objects-being-returned-to-africa-dont-belong-just-in-museums-podcast-194273.  

“Preserving Benin’s Artefacts and Restitution”. Arise News, 18 October 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1pBU8ebEdw.

“Ancient village arenas remain a central force in Igbo life. Here’s why”. The Conversation, 5 December 2018. https://theconversation.com/ancient-village-arenas-remain-a-central-force-in-igbo-life-heres-why-106791.