Dr. Emmanuel D. Babatunde received a Carnegie Fellowship to identify ways to improve nutrition in Nigeria.

Dr. Emmanuel D. Babatunde, a Lincoln University anthropology professor, has been chosen by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to collaborate with an African higher education institution to identify healthy, indigenous foods that are disappearing from the local Nigerian table and suggest ways to bring them back.

Babatunde and his African counterpart will use the fellowship to combine the latest research in soil science and indigenous knowledge to improve conservation, combat environmental degradation and preserve nutritious local food types.

“Because I’m an anthropologist, I am always looking at the impact of cultural behaviors on health,” Babatunde said.  “In America, we have seen for some time how obesity caused by an enormous consumption of processed foods without expending enough energy leads to disease. Now we are seeing diseases caused by consumption of processed foods showing up in Nigeria, a place where these problems never existed. How do we bring those indigenous foods back to the table?”

Babatunde, chair of the Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, will work with Dr. Johnson Adesodun, deputy dean and professor of soil science at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. Babatunde said he hopes to establish a joint research relationship as well as a faculty/student exchange between the two universities.

“We will go into the community and interview people, then offer lectures and presentations based on our findings,” Babatunde said. “We are going to offer a graduate-level certificate of soil health preservation using a combination of empirical science and indigenous knowledge.  We will train graduate students to use their ethnographic skills to identify indigenous foods that are disappearing from the local table.”

To complete the Fellowship requirements, Babatunde will travel to Nigeria for about 10 weeks in Summer 2015. He will work with Dr. Kelebogile Setiloane, associate professor of behavioral health and nutrition at the University of Delaware.  Setiloane, a nutritionist, is also a recipient of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship, who will help to manage the nutritional aspects of the research.

The Carnegie Program facilitates engagement between scholars born in Africa who are now based in the United States or Canada and scholars in Africa on mutually beneficial academic activities. The Program is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with Quinnipiac University.