Akin Ogundiran, University of North Carolina – Charlotte
6.10pm-8pm, 26 October 2017
Anthropology Department – Sheldon Scheps Memorial Library, Room 457 Schermerhorn Extension
In this presentation, Ogundiran uses a suite of sources–archaeology, oral traditions, and historical linguistics–to make the case for a deep-time history of the emergent principles that defined the Yoruba as a community of practice between ca. 300 BC and AD 1200. Yes, it is another story of “being and becoming” but his collage of narratives and structural analyses offers ideas and conclusions that are different from the canonical stories of origins that currently dominate Yoruba historiography. Here, Ogundiran focuses on four principles that he considers most important in shaping the long-term Yoruba historical experience: (1) the ilé (House) as the building block of social organization; (2) the dyadic ìlú/oba-aládé (urban/divine kingship) as the model of political culture and ideology of governance; (3) the institutionalization of gendered duality as the epistemological framework for constructing social order; and (4) the quest for immortality through ancestral veneration. The regional and sub-continental contexts in which these core principles unfolded will be emphasized throughout. This study is the first of a nine-chapter book manuscript on the long-term history of the Yoruba community of practice from 300 BC to AD 1830. It offers a fodder of contemplation regarding how the ancestral Yoruba expanded from their Niger-Benue Confluence homeland to become, within about a thousand years, the largest cultural/language group in West Africa south of River Niger. The study also raises questions about the social experience of time and the implications for writing about time and periodization in African historiography.
Please email Evin at firstname.lastname@example.org for the pre-circulated paper.
Akin Ogundiran earned his Ph.D. in archaeological studies at Boston University. He is also a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Ibadan, both in Nigeria. He is currently a Professor of Africana Studies, Anthropology & History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte where he also serves as chair of the Africana Studies Department. His research interests privilege archaeology, material culture, and historical ethnography, as well as embodied practices, orality, and mythos to understand the long-term multiscalar networks that framed community, household lives, and cultural formations in the Yoruba world in continental, global, and Black Atlantic contexts. Most of his previous archaeological research projects have focused on the emergent communities at the periphery and frontiers of hegemonic states. He has also collaborated on projects that examine the archaeology of modernity in Atlantic Africa and the African Diaspora. He is completing a book manuscript on Yoruba cultural history and is leading a long-term interdisciplinary field project that is examining the political economy, settlement ecology, and cultural history of the Old Oyo Empire in West Africa. Dr. Ogundiran has received support for his research from many sources including the Social Science Research Council, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, National Endowment for the Humanities, Dumbarton Oaks, and the National Humanities Center.
Additional information about this workshop series may be found here.