Arts of Being Yoruba

Arts of Being Yoruba

Divination, Allegory, Tragedy, Proverb, Panegyric
Adélékè Adéèkó
Distribution: World
Publication date: 7/17/2017
ISBN: 978-0-253-02672-9
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There is a culturally significant way of being Yorùbá that is expressed through dress, greetings, and celebrations—no matter where in the world they take place. Adélékè Adéẹkọ documents Yorùbá patterns of behavior and articulates a philosophy of how to be Yorùbá in this innovative study. As he focuses on historical writings, Ifá divination practices, the use of proverbs in contemporary speech, photography, gendered ideas of dressing well, and the formalities of ceremony and speech at celebratory occasions, Adéékó contends that being Yorùbá is indeed an art and Yorùbá-ness is a dynamic phenomenon that responds to cultural shifts as Yorùbá people inhabit an increasingly globalized world.

Author Bio

Adélékè Adéèkọ is Humanities Distinguished Professor in the English and African American and African Studies departments at Ohio State University. He is the author of Proverbs, Textuality, and Nativism in African Literature and The Slave's Rebellion: Literature, History, Orature (IUP).


"This book is bound to change how we think about and perhaps how we study what it is to be Yoruba. More importantly, it opens new vistas for contestations, interpretations, characterizations, and idenitification of what being Yoruba means or entails." —Olufemi Taiwo, author of Africa Must Be Modern

"Adeleke Adeeko articulates how people act Yoruba through the retention of traditional cultural practices, like naming ceremonies, kneeling down to greet, lineage praise poetry, and even in writing and art. All of these are part of the Yoruba "art of being," and thus, are a configuration of culture." —Akintunde Akinyemi, author of Yoruba Orature and Riddles

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Table of Contents

“Writing” and “Reference” in Ifaì Divination Chants
2. Culture, Meaning, Proverbs
3. Reading, Writing, and Epistemic Instability in
Faìguìnwa’s Novels
Sex, Gender, and Plot in FaìguìnwaÌ’s Adventures
Lost in Translation: IÌsòoÌòlaì’s Eòfuìnsòetaìn AniìwuìraÌ and YoruÌbaì Woman-Being
From Orality to Visuality: Photography and the Panegyric in Contemporary YoruÌbaì Culture
Conclusion: Book Launching as Cultural Affirmations