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Beloved UW Professor Tejumola Olaniyan Dead at 60

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Tejumola Olaniyan

Beloved UW Professor Tejumola Olaniyan died suddenly on Saturday. He was 60 years old.

Olaniyan was named Wole Soyinka Professor of the Humanities back in July. He was also the Wole Soyinka Humanities Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Olaniyan’s work focused on popular visual art and democratic struggles, histories of emotion in African and African diaspora music, and cultural forms and practices of urbanization in Africa.

Olaniyan authored several books, including “Arrest The Music!: Fela & His Rebel Art and Politics.” The work examines the music, life and politics of the great Afrobeat artist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

Olaniyan earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Ife in Nigeria. Olaniyan attended Cornell University where he earned a master’s degree and his Ph.D. in 1991.

Olaniyan died Saturday afternoon at his home in Madison of heart failure. He was set to leave on a trip to Europe for a conference. Olaniyan is survived by his wife, Mojisola Olaniyan, the assistant dean and director of Academic Enhancement at UW Law School and his children, Bolajoko and Olabimpe.