Itẹ oluwakììshí (Rebecca) Arigbabu is originally from Nigeria but relocated to Texas with her family at age 15. Her preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. She recently completed her master’s from the University of Chicago, where her thesis explored how awareness of generalized violence against Black people in the US influences the ethno-racial identities of African immigrants. Prior to that, she obtained her B.Sc. in Sociology at Texas A&M University in 2020. She also received her associate degree from Navarro College, where she was an active member of the student governing body and served as the state and chapter Vice President Representative in 2017-18.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, she is interested in examining the social and economic trajectories and integration patterns of African immigrants now living in the United States, and how their presence could reshape Black America in the coming years, paying close attention to causes of disparities, inequalities, and social stratification. Additionally, her research will evaluate existing incorporation frameworks’ explanation of African immigrants’ identity(ies) negotiation and racialization process. For example, she will draw from the intellectual thoughts of de/post-colonial scholars to understand how African immigrants interact with the Black racial identity in the US. The questions she wants to explore are motivated by her Nigerian-American identity and how personal experiences with the racial category were inextricably entangled with her own internalized and unconscious anti-blackness that became more apparent shortly after moving to the US. Therefore, in conversation with de/post-colonial theorists, her research also seeks to examine and understand how the racialized hierarchies of power that intercepted Western Europe’s form of colonialism could influence how they interact with the Black racial identity in the US/Diaspora. By centering this dimension that has influenced scholarly explorations of their integration patterns within de/post-colonial contexts, she hopes her research will initiate new and dynamic conversations on African immigrants’ own understanding and conceptualizations of their ethno-racial identities.
As she finds her voice as a scholar, Rebecca hopes to hone the methodological and theoretical skills required to undertake her research. Additionally, she hopes to be an active member of some of the many vibrant communities WashU and St-Louis has. After completing her doctoral studies, her goal is to obtain an academic position that will allow her to continue her research and mentor aspiring sociologists who, like her, want to understand their ever-changing society and develop ways to make it better and more equitable.