Africa Wo/Man Palava offers the first close look at eight Nigerian women writers and proposes a new vernacular theory based on their work. Flora Nwapa, Adaora Lily Ulasi, Buchi Emecheta, Funmilayo Fakunle, Ifeoma Okoye, Zaynab Alkali, Eno Obong, and Simi Bedford are the writers Chikwenye Okonjo Ogunyemi considers. African womanism, an emerging model of female discourse, is at the heart of their writing. In their work, female resistance shifts from the idea of palava, or trouble, to a focus on consensus, compromise, and cooperation; it tackles sexism, totalitarianism, and ethnic prejudice. Such inclusiveness, Ogunyemi shows, stems from an emphasis on motherhood, acknowledging that everyone is a mother's child, capable of creating palava and generating a compromise.
Ogunyemi uses the novels to trace a Nigerian women's literary tradition that reflects an ideology centered on children and community. Of prime importance is the paradoxical Mammywata figure, the independent, childless mother, who serves as a basis for the new woman in these novels. Ogunyemi tracks this figure through many permutations, from matriarch to exile to woman writer, her multiple personalities reflecting competing loyalties—to self and other, children and nation. Such fragmented personalities characterize the postcolonial condition in their writing. Mapping geographies of pain and endurance, the work opens a space for addressing the palava between different groups of people. Valuable as the first sustained critical study of a substantial but little known body of literature, this book also counters the shortcomings of prevailing "masculinist" theories of black literature in a powerful narrative of the Nigerian world.
AIDS and Africa are indelibly linked in popular consciousness, but despite widespread awareness of the epidemic, much of the story remains hidden beneath a superficial focus on condoms, sex workers, and antiretrovirals. Africa gets lost in this equation, Daniel Jordan Smith argues, transformed into a mere vehicle to explain AIDS, and in AIDS Doesn’t Show Its Face, he offers a powerful reversal, using AIDS as a lens through which to view Africa.
Drawing on twenty years of fieldwork in Nigeria, Smith tells a story of dramatic social changes, ones implicated in the same inequalities that also factor into local perceptions about AIDS—inequalities of gender, generation, and social class. Nigerians, he shows, view both social inequality and the presence of AIDS in moral terms, as kinds of ethical failure. Mixing ethnographies that describe everyday life with pointed analyses of public health interventions, he demonstrates just how powerful these paired anxieties—medical and social—are, and how the world might better alleviate them through a more sensitive understanding of their relationship.
Babatunde Olatunji's record album Drums of Passion proclaimed that the time had come for America to recognize Africa's cultural contributions to the music world. Through his many albums and live performances, the Nigerian drummer popularized West African traditional music and spread his message of racial harmony. In this long-awaited autobiography, Olatunji presents his life story and the philosophy that guided him. Olatunji influenced and inspired musicians for more than forty years—from luminaries to music students and the many ordinary people who participated in his drum circles. He writes about rhythm being "the soul of life," and about the healing power of the drum. Ultimately, The Beat of My Drum shows why at the time of his death in 2003, Olatunji had become, according to The New York Times, "the most visible African musician in the United States."
Black Skin, White Coats is a history of psychiatry in Nigeria from the 1950s to the 1980s. Working in the contexts of decolonization and anticolonial nationalism, Nigerian psychiatrists sought to replace racist colonial psychiatric theories about the psychological inferiority of Africans with a universal and egalitarian model focusing on broad psychological similarities across cultural and racial boundaries. Particular emphasis is placed on Dr. T. Adeoye Lambo, the first indigenous Nigerian to earn a specialty degree in psychiatry in the United Kingdom in 1954. Lambo returned to Nigeria to become the medical superintendent of the newly founded Aro Mental Hospital in Abeokuta, Nigeria’s first “modern” mental hospital. At Aro, Lambo began to revolutionize psychiatric research and clinical practice in Nigeria, working to integrate “modern” western medical theory and technologies with “traditional” cultural understandings of mental illness. Lambo’s research focused on deracializing psychiatric thinking and redefining mental illness in terms of a model of universal human similarities that crossed racial and cultural divides.
Black Skin, White Coats is the first work to focus primarily on black Africans as producers of psychiatric knowledge and as definers of mental illness in their own right. By examining the ways that Nigerian psychiatrists worked to integrate their psychiatric training with their indigenous backgrounds and cultural and civic nationalisms, Black Skin, White Coats provides a foil to Frantz Fanon’s widely publicized reactionary articulations of the relationship between colonialism and psychiatry. Black Skin, White Coats is also on the cutting edge of histories of psychiatry that are increasingly drawing connections between local and national developments in late-colonial and postcolonial settings and international scientific networks. Heaton argues that Nigerian psychiatrists were intimately aware of the need to engage in international discourses as part and parcel of the transformation of psychiatry at home.
In Bloodflowers W. Ian Bourland examines the photography of Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955–1989), whose art is a touchstone for cultural debates surrounding questions of gender and queerness, race and diaspora, aesthetics and politics, and the enduring legacy of slavery and colonialism. Born in Nigeria, Fani-Kayode moved between artistic and cultural worlds in Washington, DC, New York, and London, where he produced the bulk of his provocative and often surrealist and homoerotic photographs of black men. Bourland situates Fani-Kayode's work in a time of global transition and traces how it exemplified and responded to profound social, cultural, and political change. In addition to his formal analyses of Fani-Kayode's portraiture, Bourland outlines the important influence that surrealism, neo-Romanticism, Yoruban religion, the AIDS crisis, experimental film, loft culture, and house and punk music had on Fani-Kayode's work. In so doing, Bourland offers new perspectives on a pivotal artist whose brief career continues to resonate with deep aesthetic and social meaning.
Brandon Kendhammer Ohio University Press, 2018 Library of Congress HV6433.N62B6535 2018 | Dewey Decimal 363.325096690905
From its small-time origins in the early 2000s to its transformation into one of the world’s most-recognized terrorist groups, this remarkable short book tells the story of Boko Haram’s bloody, decade-long war in northeastern Nigeria. Going beyond the headlines, including the group’s 2014 abduction of 276 girls in Chibok and the international outrage it inspired, Boko Haram provides readers new to the conflict with a clearly written and comprehensive history of how the group came to be, the Nigerian government’s failed efforts to end it, and its enormous impact on ordinary citizens.
Drawing on years of research, Boko Haram is a timely addition to the acclaimed Ohio Short Histories of Africa. Brandon Kendhammer and Carmen McCain—two leading specialists on northern Nigeria—separate fact from fiction within one of the world’s least-understood conflicts. Most distinctively, it is a social history, one that tells the story of Boko Haram’s violence through the journalism, literature, film, and music made by people close to it.
In this study of the Biase, a small ethnic group living in Nigeria's Cross River State, David Uru Iyam attempts to resolve a long-standing controversy among development theorists: must Third World peoples adopt Western attitudes, practices, and technologies to improve their standard of living or are indigenous beliefs, technologies, and strategies better suited to local conditions?
The Biase today face social and economic pressures that seriously strain their ability to cope with the realities of modern Nigeria. Iyam, an anthropologist and a Biase, examines the relationship between culture and development as played out in projects in local communities.
Western technologies and beliefs alone cannot ensure economic growth and modernization, Iyam shows, and should not necessarily be imposed on poor rural groups who may not be prepared to incorporate them; neither, however, is it possible to recover indigenous coping strategies given the complexities of the postcolonial world. A successful development strategy, Iyam argues, needs to strengthen local managerial capacity, and he offers suggestions as to how this can be done in a range of cultural and social settings.
In her startling collection of short stories, Broken Lives and Other Stories, Anthonia C. Kalu creates a series of memorable characters who struggle to hold displaced but dynamic communities together in a country that is at war with itself.
Broken Lives and Other Stories presents a portrait of the ordinary women, children, and men whose lives have been battered by war in their homeland. Written in response to the Nigerian Civil War, known on the Igbo side as Ogu Biafra—the Biafran War—this collection focuses on the everyday conditions of the local people and how their personal situations became entangled in national crises. The stories capture a diversity of issues, from the implications of self-rule and the presence of soldiers among civilians, to masquerades, air raids, and rape.
Through her riveting narratives, Kalu draws the reader into the depths of some of Africa’s most troubling issues, such as the concern for safety during the frequent outbreaks of hostilities, which can range from civil unrest to armed combat. How do young people, women, and the elderly cope during those crises? Are the struggles for national political power greater than the everyday struggle for decent living by the person on the street?
While conveying the vitality and joy of Africa's women and youth, Broken Lives and Other Stories also examines the impact of the brain drain caused by wars and instability within the continent itself. Both the war against women and women’s constant war to survive in contemporary Africa are brought into sharp focus throughout these stories.
For readers interested in the last thirty-five years of unrest across Africa, this collection is essential reading.
Historians of colonial Africa have largely regarded the decade of the Great Depression as a period of intense exploitation and colonial inactivity. In Colonial Meltdown, Moses E. Ochonu challenges this conventional interpretation by mapping the determined, at times violent, yet instructive responses of Northern Nigeria’s chiefs, farmers, laborers, artisans, women, traders, and embryonic elites to the British colonial mismanagement of the Great Depression. Colonial Meltdown explores the unraveling of British colonial power at a moment of global economic crisis.
Ochonu shows that the economic downturn made colonial exploitation all but impossible and that this dearth of profits and surpluses frustrated the colonial administration which then authorized a brutal regime of grassroots exactions and invasive intrusions. The outcomes were as harsh for Northern Nigerians as those of colonial exploitation in boom years.
Northern Nigerians confronted colonial economic recovery measures and their agents with a variety of strategies. ColonialMeltdown analyzes how farmers, women, laborers, laid-off tin miners, and Northern Nigeria’s emergent elite challenged and rebelled against colonial economic recovery schemes with evasive trickery, defiance, strategic acts of revenge, and criminal self-help and, in the process, exposed the weak underbelly of the colonial system.
Combined with the economic and political paralysis of colonial bureaucrats in the face of crisis, these African responses underlined the fundamental weakness of the colonial state, the brittleness of its economic mission, and the limits of colonial coercion and violence. This atmosphere of colonial collapse emboldened critics of colonial policies who went on to craft the rhetorical terms on which the anticolonial struggle of the post–World War II period was fought out.
In the current climate of global economic anxieties, Ochonu’s analysis will enrich discussions on the transnational ramifications of economic downturns. It will also challenge the pervasive narrative of imperial economic success.
Counting the Tiger’s Teeth narrates a crucial turning point in Nigerian history, the Agbekoya rebellion (“Peasants Reject Poverty”) of 1968–70, as chronicled by Toyin Falola, reflecting on his firsthand experiences as a teenage witness to history. Falola, the foremost scholar of Africa of this generation, illuminates the complex factors that led to this armed conflict and details the unfolding of major events and maneuvers. The narrative provides unprecedented, even poetic, access to the social fabric and dynamic cosmology of the farming communities in rebellion as they confronted the modernizing state. The postcolonial government exercised new modes of power that corrupted or neglected traditional forms of authority, ignoring urgent pleas for justice and fairness by the citizenry. What emerges, as the rural communities organized for and executed the war, is a profound story of traditional culture’s ingenuity and strength in this epic struggle over the future direction of a nation. Falola reveals the rebellion’s ambivalent legacy, the uncertainties of which inform even the present historical moment. Like Falola’s prizewinning previous memoir, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt, this engagingly written book performs the essential service of providing a way of walking with ancestors, remembering the dead, reminding the living, and converting orality into a permanent text.
When democracy was introduced to Nigeria in 1999, one third of its federal states declared that they would be governed by sharia, or Islamic law. In Democratization and Islamic Law, Johannes Harnischfeger argues that such a break with secular constitutional traditions in a multi-religious country can have disastrous consequences. The efforts by Islamic politicians to assert their own religious laws, Harnischfeger contends, have driven Muslims and Christians to confrontation. This book is an essential contribution to debates surrounding the increasingly fraught relationship between religion and politics.
In the early 1980s, a pharmaceutical company administers an unethical drug trial to residents of the Niger Delta village of Kreektown. When children die as a result of the trial, the dominoes of language extinction and cultural collapse begin to topple. Decades later the end looms for the Menai people. Continents-apart twin brothers separated at birth, an excommunicated daughter living an urbane life with her doctor husband, and an infamous vigilante are among the indelible characters whose lives are shaped by this collective tragedy. Not least of these is the spiritual leader Mata Nimito, who retraces his people’s ancient migration on his quest to preserve the soul of the Menai and resolve the consequences of a centuries-old betrayal.
In The Extinction of Menai, Chuma Nwokolo moves across time and continents to deliver a story that speaks to urgent contemporary concerns. He confronts power relations between large corporations and small communities, corporate lobbies and governments, and big pharma and consumers, all expressed through the competing narratives that record the life and death of a civilization.In a novel of stunning scope, Chuma Nwokolo moves across time and place to deliver a story that speaks to urgent contemporary concerns. His characters’ indelible voices offer perspectives that are simultaneously global, political, and intimately human.
Musician, political critic, and hedonist, international superstar Fela Anikulapo-Kuti created a sensation throughout his career. In his own country of Nigeria he was simultaneously adulated and loathed, often by the same people at the same time. His outspoken political views and advocacy of marijuana smoking and sexual promiscuity offended many, even as his musical brilliance enthralled them. In his creation of afrobeat, he melded African traditions with African American and Afro-Caribbean influences to revolutionize world music.
Although harassed, beaten, and jailed by Nigerian authorities, he continued his outspoken and derisive criticism of political corruption at home and economic exploitation from abroad. A volatile mixture of personal characteristics -- charisma, musical talent, maverick lifestyle, populist ideology, and persistence in the face of persecution -- made him a legend throughout Africa and the world. Celebrated during the 1970s as a musical innovator and spokesman for the continent's oppressed masses, he enjoyed worldwide celebrity during the 1980s and was recognized in the 1990s as a major pioneer and elder statesman of African music. By the time of his death in 1997 from AIDS-related complications, Fela had become something of a Nigerian institution.
In Africa, the idea of transnational alliance, once thought to be outmoded, has gained new currency. In African America, during a period of increasing social conservatism and ethnic polarization, Africa has re-emerged as a symbol of cultural affirmation. At such an historical moment, Fela's music offers a perspective on race, class, and nation on both sides of the Atlantic. As Professor Veal demonstrates, over three decades Fela synthesized a unique musical language while also clearing -- if only temporarily -- a space for popular political dissent and a type of counter-cultural expression rarely seen in West Africa. In the midst of political turmoil in Africa, as well as renewal of pro-African cultural nationalism throughout the diaspora, Fela's political music functions as a post-colonial art form that uses cross-cultural exchange to voice a unique and powerful African essentialism.
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a Nigerian activist who fought for suffrage and equal rights for her countrywomen long before the second wave of the women's movement in the United States. Her involvement in international women's organizations led her to travel the world in the period following World War II. She championed the causes of the poor and downtrodden of both sexes as she joined the anticolonial movement struggling for Nigeria's independence.
For Women and the Nation is the story of this courageous woman. One of a handful of full-length biographies of African women, let alone of African women activists, it will be welcomed by students of women's studies, African history, and biography, as well as by those interested in exploring the historical background of Nigeria.
Throughout Africa one craft among many stands out: that of the blacksmith. In many African cultures, smiths occupy a significant position, not just as artisans engaging in a difficult craft but also as special people. Often they perform other crafts, as well, and make up a somewhat separate group inside society. The Forge and the Funeral describes the position of the smith in the culture of the Kapsiki/Higi of northern Cameroon and northeastern Nigeria. Situated in the Mandara Mountains and straddling the border of these two countries, Kapsiki culture forms a specific and highly relevant example of the phenomenon of the smith in Africa. As an endogamous group of about 5 percent of the population, Kapsiki smiths perform an impressive array of crafts and specializations, combining magico-religious functions with metalwork, in particular as funeral directors, as well as with music and healing. The Forge and the Funeral gives an intimate description and analysis of this group, based upon the author’s four decades–long involvement with the Kapsiki/Higi. Description and analysis are set within the more general scholarly debates about the dynamics of professional closure—including the notions of caste and guild—and also consider the deep history of iron and brass in Africa.
"Orr's acute memory and reflective contemplations about life in her beloved Africa...give readers an intricate picture of an unusual upbringing blended with an adult's take on the cultural changes in the world beyond the missionary compounds."
The daughter of medical missionaries, Elaine Neil Orr was born in Nigeria in 1954, in the midst of the national movement that would lead to independence from Great Britain. But as she tells it in her captivating new memoir, Orr did not grow up as a stranger abroad; she was a girl at home--only half American, the other half Nigerian. When she was sent alone to the United States for high school, she didn't realize how much leaving Africa would cost her.
It was only in her forties, in the crisis of kidney failure, that she began to recover her African life. In writing Gods of Noonday she came to understand her double-rootedness: in the Christian church and the Yoruba shrine, the piano and the talking drum. Memory took her back from Duke Medical Center in North Carolina to the shores of West Africa and her hometown of Ogbomosho in the land of the Yoruba people. Hers was not the dysfunctional American family whose tensions are brought into high relief by the equatorial sun, but a mission girlhood is haunted nonetheless--by spiritual atmospheres and the limits of good intentions.
Orr's father, Lloyd Neil, formerly a high school athlete and World War II pilot, and her mother, Anne, found in Nigeria the adventure that would have escaped them in 1950s America. Elaine identified with her strong, fun-loving father more than her reserved mother, but she herself was as introspective and solitary as her sister Becky was pretty and social. Lloyd acquired a Chevrolet station wagon which carried Elaine and her friends to the Ethiope River, where they swam much as they might have in the United States. But at night the roads were becoming dangerous, and soon the days were clouded by smoke from the coming Biafran War.
Interweaving the lush mission compounds with Nigerian culture, furloughs in the American South with boarding school in Nigeria, and eventually Orr's failing health, the narrative builds in intensity as she recognizes that only through recovering her homeland can she find the strength to survive. Taking its place with classics such as Out of Africa and more recent works like The Poisonwood Bible and Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, Gods of Noonday is a deeply felt, courageous portrait of a woman's life.
Elaine Neil Orr, a professor of literature and women's studies at North Carolina State University, is the author of two scholarly books. She has been awarded an NEH fellowship and writing fellowships in creative nonfiction by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
In the years following World War II, the women of Abeokuta, Nigeria, staged a successful tax revolt that led to the formation first of the Abeokuta Women’s Union and then of Nigeria’s first national women’s organization, the Nigerian Women’s Union, in 1949. These organizations became ground zero for a new political vision of a vehicle for women across Nigeria to define their interests, desires, and needs while fulfilling the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship. In The Great Upheaval, Judith A. Byfield has crafted a finely textured social and intellectual history of gender and nation-making that not only tells a story of women’s postwar activism but grounds it in a nuanced account of the complex tax system that generated the “upheaval.”
In capturing the dynamism of women’s political activism in Nigeria’s postwar period, Byfield illuminates the centrality of gender to the study of nationalism. She thus offers new lines of inquiry into the late colonial era and its consequences for the future Nigerian state. Ultimately, she challenges us to problematize the collapse of her female subjects’ greatest aspiration, universal franchise, when the country achieved independence in 1960.
"Growing Apart is an important and distinguished contribution to the literature on the political economy of development. Indonesia and Nigeria have long presented one of the most natural opportunities for comparative study. Peter Lewis, one of America's best scholars of Nigeria, has produced the definitive treatment of their divergent development paths. In the process, he tells us much theoretically about when, why, and how political institutions shape economic growth."
— Larry Diamond, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
"Growing Apart is a careful and sophisticated analysis of the political factors that have shaped the economic fortunes of Indonesia and Nigeria. Both scholars and policymakers will benefit from this book's valuable insights."
— Michael L. Ross, Associate Professor of Political Science, Chair of International Development Studies, UCLA
"Lewis presents an extraordinarily well-documented comparative case study of two countries with a great deal in common, and yet with remarkably different postcolonial histories. His approach is a welcome departure from currently fashionable attempts to explain development using large, multi-country databases packed with often dubious measures of various aspects of 'governance.'"
— Ross H. McLeod, Editor, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies
"This is a highly readable and important book. Peter Lewis provides us with both a compelling institutionalist analysis of economic development performance and a very insightful comparative account of the political economies of two highly complex developing countries, Nigeria and Indonesia. His well-informed account generates interesting findings by focusing on the ability of leaders in both countries to make credible commitments to the private sector and assemble pro-growth coalitions. This kind of cross-regional political economy is often advocated in the profession but actually quite rare because it is so hard to do well. Lewis's book will set the standard for a long time."
— Nicolas van de Walle, John S. Knight Professor of International Studies, Cornell University
Peter M. Lewis is Associate Professor and Director of the African Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.
In Africa's Forest and Jungle is the memoir of Richard Henry Stone, a Civil War era Southern Baptist missionary, who served in what is now Nigeria during the late 1850s and again during the first years of the American Civil War. Stone published this work in 1899, when it became clear that age would prevent him from returning to Africa.
Stone served in Africa with his wife and successfully learned the Yoruba language. He was an intelligent, self-reflective, and reliable observer, making his works important sources of information on Yoruba society before the intervention of European colonialism. In Africa's Forest and Jungle is a rare account of West African culture, made all the more complete by the additional journal entries, letters, and photographs collected in this edition.
The "woman question," this book asserts, is a Western one, and not a proper lens for viewing African society. A work that rethinks gender as a Western construction, The Invention of Women offers a new way of understanding both Yoruban and Western cultures.
Author Oyeronke Oyewumi reveals an ideology of biological determinism at the heart of Western social categories--the idea that biology provides the rationale for organizing the social world. And yet, she writes, the concept of "woman," central to this ideology and to Western gender discourses, simply did not exist in Yorubaland, where the body was not the basis of social roles.
Oyewumi traces the misapplication of Western, body-oriented concepts of gender through the history of gender discourses in Yoruba studies. Her analysis shows the paradoxical nature of two fundamental assumptions of feminist theory: that gender is socially constructed and that the subordination of women is universal. The Invention of Women demonstrates, to the contrary, that gender was not constructed in old Yoruba society, and that social organization was determined by relative age.
A meticulous historical and epistemological account of an African culture on its own terms, this book makes a persuasive argument for a cultural, context-dependent interpretation of social reality. It calls for a reconception of gender discourse and the categories on which such study relies. More than that, the book lays bare the hidden assumptions in the ways these different cultures think. A truly comparative sociology of an African culture and the Western tradition, it will change the way African studies and gender studies proceed.
"OyewÃ¹mi's book is a departure from the majority of feminist writers on Africa. She goes further to show a society almost unintelligible using the common set of presumptions in feminist literature about how society is organized. Her indignation is real and forceful and her research and lucid presentation admirable." Modern African Studies
"Oyewumi's work is an extremely interesting study that forces readers to rethink some of the accepted notions of colonialism." National Women's Studies Association Journal
Oyeronke Oyewumi is assistant professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
The 1970s and 1980s were times of political and religious turmoil in Nigeria, characterized by governmental upheaval, and aggressive confrontations between the Sufi brotherhoods and the Izala movement. In Islamic Reform and Political Change in Northern Nigeria, Roman Loimeier explores the intermeshing of religion in the struggle for political influence and preservation of the interests of Nigerian Muslims.
Loimeier's careful scholarship combines astute readings of the work of previous scholars--both published and unpublished--with archival material and the findings of his own fieldwork in Nigeria. His work fills a substantial gap in contemporary Nigerian studies. This book provides invaluable and essential reading for serious students of Nigerian politics and of Islamic movements in Africa.
Now known internationally through the recordings of King Sunny Ade and others, juju music originated more than fifty years ago among the Yoruba of Nigeria. This history and ethnography of juju is the first detailed account of the evolution and social significance of a West African popular music. Enhanced with maps, color photographs of musicians and dance parties, musical transcriptions, interviews with musicians, and a glossary of Yoruba terms, Juju is an invaluable contribution to scholarship and a boon to fans who want to discover the roots of this vibrant music.
Roy Doron Ohio University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PR9387.9.S27Z64 2016 | Dewey Decimal 823.914
Named a Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Title for 2017
Hanged by the Nigerian government on November 10, 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa became a martyr for the Ogoni people and human rights activists, and a symbol of modern Africans’ struggle against military dictatorship, corporate power, and environmental exploitation. Though he is rightly known for his human rights and environmental activism, he wore many hats: writer, television producer, businessman, and civil servant, among others. While the book sheds light on his many legacies, it is above all about Saro-Wiwa the man, not just Saro-Wiwa the symbol.
Roy Doron and Toyin Falola portray a man who not only was formed by the complex forces of ethnicity, race, class, and politics in Nigeria, but who drove change in those same processes. Like others in the Ohio Short Histories of Africa series, Ken Saro-Wiwa is written to be accessible to the casual reader and student, yet indispensable to scholars.
Winner of the 2015 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for outstanding book on African women's experiences. (African Studies Association)
Honorable Mention, New York African Studies Association Book Prize
In Making Modern Girls, Abosede A. George examines the influence of African social reformers and the developmentalist colonial state on the practice and ideology of girlhood as well as its intersection with child labor in Lagos, Nigeria. It draws from gender studies, generational studies, labor history, and urban history to shed new light on the complex workings of African cities from the turn of the twentieth century through the nationalist era of the 1950s.
The two major schemes at the center of this study were the modernization project of elite Lagosian women and the salvationist project of British social workers. By approaching children and youth, specifically girl hawkers, as social actors and examining the ways in which local and colonial reformers worked upon young people, the book offers a critical new perspective on the uses of African children for the production and legitimization of national and international social development initiatives.
Making Modern Girls demonstrates how oral sources can be used to uncover the social history of informal or undocumented urban workers and to track transformations in practices of childhood over the course of decades. George revises conventional accounts of the history of development work in Africa by drawing close attention to the social welfare initiatives of late colonialism and by highlighting the roles that African women reformers played in promoting sociocultural changes within their own societies.
Nigeria is famous for "419" e-mails asking recipients for bank account information and for scandals involving the disappearance of billions of dollars from government coffers. Corruption permeates even minor official interactions, from traffic control to university admissions. In Moral Economies of Corruption Steven Pierce provides a cultural history of the last 150 years of corruption in Nigeria as a case study for considering how corruption plays an important role in the processes of political change in all states. He suggests that corruption is best understood in Nigeria, as well as in all other nations, as a culturally contingent set of political discourses and historically embedded practices. The best solution to combatting Nigerian government corruption, Pierce contends, is not through attempts to prevent officials from diverting public revenue to self-interested ends, but to ask how public ends can be served by accommodating Nigeria's history of patronage as a fundamental political principle.
"Toyin Falola has given us what is truly rare in modern African writing: a seriously funny, racy, irreverent package of memories, and full of the most wonderful pieces of poetry and ordinary information. It is a matter of some interest, that the only other volume A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt reminds one of is Ake, by Wole Soyinka. What is it about these Yorubas?"
-Ama Ata Aidoo
"A splendid coming-of-age story so full of vivid color and emotion, the words seem to dance off the page. But this is not only Falola's memoir; it is an account of a new nation coming into being and the tensions and negotiations that invariably occur between city and country, tradition and modernity, men and women, rich and poor. A truly beautiful book."
-Robin D. G. Kelley
"More than a personal memoir, this book is a rich minihistory of contemporary Nigeria recorded in delicious detail by a perceptive eyewitness who grew up at the crossroads of many cultures."
"The reader is irresistibly drawn into Falola's world. The prose is lucid. There is humor. This work is sweet. Period."
-Ngugi wa Thiongo'o
A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt gathers the stories and reflections of the early years of Toyin Falola, the grand historian of Africa and one of the greatest sons of Ibadan, the notable Yoruba city-state in Nigeria.
Redefining the autobiographical genre altogether, Falola miraculously weaves together personal, historical, and communal stories, along with political and cultural developments in the period immediately preceding and following Nigeria's independence, to give us a unique and enduring picture of the Yoruba in the mid-twentieth century. This is truly a literary memoir, told in language rich with proverbs, poetry, song, and humor.
Falola's memoir is far more than the story of one man's childhood experiences; rather, he presents us with the riches of an entire culture and community-its history, traditions, pleasures, mysteries, household arrangements, forms of power, struggles, and transformations.
In the 1940s, British shipping companies began the large-scale recruitment of African seamen in Lagos. On colonial ships, Nigerian sailors performed menial tasks for low wages and endured discrimination as cheap labor, while countering hardships by nurturing social connections across the black diaspora. Poor employment conditions stirred these seamen to identify with the nationalist sentiment burgeoning in postwar Nigeria, while their travels broadened and invigorated their cultural identities.
Working for the Nigerian National Shipping Line, they encountered new forms of injustice and exploitation. When mismanagement, a lack of technical expertise, and pillaging by elites led to the NNSL’s collapse in the early 1990s, seamen found themselves without prospects. Their disillusionment became a broader critique of corruption in postcolonial Nigeria.
In Nation on Board: Becoming Nigerian at Sea, Lynn Schler traces the fate of these seamen in the transition from colonialism to independence. In so doing, she renews the case for labor history as a lens for understanding decolonization, and brings a vital transnational perspective to her subject. By placing the working-class experience at the fore, she complicates the dominant view of the decolonization process in Nigeria and elsewhere.
Even with a university education, the Igbo women of southeastern Nigeria face obstacles that prevent them from reaching their professional and personal potentials. Negotiating Power and Privilege is a study of their life choices and the embedded patriarchy and other obstacles in postcolonial Africa barring them from fulfillment.
Philomina E. Okeke recorded life-history interviews and discussions during the 1990s with educated women of differing ages and professions. Her interviews expose both familiar and surprising aspects of the women's experience—their victories and compromise—within their families, marriages, and workplaces. Okeke explores the many factors that have shaped women's access to sponsorship and promotion in their quest to join men as partners in nation building.
Negotiating Power and Privilege captures the voices of African female professionals and vividly portrays the women's continuous negotiation as wives, mothers, single women, and workers. It shows the inherent limitations of contemporary policies in developing nations that often prescribe secondary and advanced education for women as a panacea for every social ill. It is also an original and important contribution to African studies, gender studies, development studies, education policy, and sociology. This engagingly written book will appeal to a wide audience, ranging from undergraduate students to scholars and professionals.
Nigerian video films—dramatic features shot on video and sold as cassettes—are being produced at the rate of nearly one a day, making them the major contemporary art form in Nigeria. The history of African film offers no precedent for such a huge, popularly based industry.
The contributors to this volume, who include film and television directors, an anthropologist, and scholars of film studies and literature, take a variety of approaches to this flourishing popular art. Topics include aesthetic forms and distribution; the configurations of various ethnic audiences; the new media environment dominated by cassette technology; the video's materialism in a period of economic collapse; transformation of the traditional Yoruba traveling theater; individualism and the moral crisis in Igbo society; Hausa cultural values; the negotiation of gender roles, and the genre of Christian videos.
Nigeria’s Nollywood has rapidly grown into one of the world’s largest film industries, radically altering media environments across Africa and in the diaspora; it has also become one of African culture’s most powerful and consequential expressions, powerfully shaping how Africans see themselves and are seen by others. With this book, Jonathan Haynes provides an accessible and authoritative introduction to this vast industry and its film culture.
Haynes describes the major Nigerian film genres and how they relate to Nigerian society—its values, desires, anxieties, and social tensions—as the country and its movies have developed together over the turbulent past two decades. As he shows, Nollywood is a form of popular culture; it produces a flood of stories, repeating the ones that mean the most to its broad audience. He interprets these generic stories and the cast of mythic figures within them: the long-suffering wives, the business tricksters, the Bible-wielding pastors, the kings in their traditional regalia, the glamorous young professionals, the emigrants stranded in New York or London, and all the rest. Based on more than twenty years of research, Haynes’s survey of Nollywood’s history and genres is unprecedented in scope, while his book also vividly describes landmark films, leading directors, and the complex character of this major branch of world cinema.
When Nigeria hosted the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977, it celebrated a global vision of black nationhood and citizenship animated by the exuberance of its recent oil boom. Andrew Apter's The Pan-African Nation tells the full story of this cultural extravaganza, from Nigeria's spectacular rebirth as a rapidly developing petro-state to its dramatic demise when the boom went bust.
According to Apter, FESTAC expanded the horizons of blackness in Nigeria to mirror the global circuits of its economy. By showcasing masks, dances, images, and souvenirs from its many diverse ethnic groups, Nigeria forged a new national culture. In the grandeur of this oil-fed confidence, the nation subsumed all black and African cultures within its empire of cultural signs and erased its colonial legacies from collective memory. As the oil economy collapsed, however, cultural signs became unstable, contributing to rampant violence and dissimulation.
The Pan-African Nation unpacks FESTAC as a historically situated mirror of production in Nigeria. More broadly, it points towards a critique of the political economy of the sign in postcolonial Africa.
After an explosion of conversions to Pentecostalism over the past three decades, tens of millions of Nigerians now claim that “Jesus is the answer.” But if Jesus is the answer, what is the question? What led to the movement’s dramatic rise and how can we make sense of its social and political significance? In this ambitiously interdisciplinary study, Ruth Marshall draws on years of fieldwork and grapples with a host of important thinkers—including Foucault, Agamben, Arendt, and Benjamin—to answer these questions.
To account for the movement’s success, Marshall explores how Pentecostalism presents the experience of being born again as a chance for Nigerians to realize the promises of political and religious salvation made during the colonial and postcolonial eras. Her astute analysis of this religious trend sheds light on Nigeria’s contemporary politics, postcolonial statecraft, and the everyday struggles of ordinary citizens coping with poverty, corruption, and inequality.
Pentecostalism’s rise is truly global, and Political Spiritualities persuasively argues that Nigeria is a key case in this phenomenon while calling for new ways of thinking about the place of religion in contemporary politics.
Written by one of the foremost scholars of African art and featuring 129 color images, Postcolonial Modernism chronicles the emergence of artistic modernism in Nigeria in the heady years surrounding political independence in 1960, before the outbreak of civil war in 1967. Chika Okeke-Agulu traces the artistic, intellectual, and critical networks in several Nigerian cities. Zaria is particularly important, because it was there, at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, that a group of students formed the Art Society and inaugurated postcolonial modernism in Nigeria. As Okeke-Agulu explains, their works show both a deep connection with local artistic traditions and the stylistic sophistication that we have come to associate with twentieth-century modernist practices. He explores how these young Nigerian artists were inspired by the rhetoric and ideologies of decolonization and nationalism in the early- and mid-twentieth century and, later, by advocates of negritude and pan-Africanism. They translated the experiences of decolonization into a distinctive "postcolonial modernism" that has continued to inform the work of major Nigerian artists.
Privately Empowered responds to the lack of adequate attention paid to Islam in Africa in comparison to Islam in the Middle East and the Arab world. Shirin Edwin points to the tight embrace between Islam and politics that has rendered Islamic feminist discourse historically and thematically contextualized in regions where Islamic feminism evolves in tandem with the nation-state and is commonly understood in terms of activism, social affiliations, or struggles for legal reform. In Africa itself, Islam bears the burden of being a “foreign” presence that is considered injurious to African Muslim women’s success. Edwin examines the fictional works of the northern Nigerian novelists Zaynab Alkali, Abubakar Gimba, and Hauwa Ali due to the texts’ emphases on personal and private engagement, Islamic ritual and prayer in the quotidian, and observance of Qur’anic injunctions. Analysis of these texts connects the ways in which Muslim women in northern Nigeria balance their spiritual habits in ever changing configurations of their personal and private domains. The spiritual universe of African Muslim women may be one where Islam is not the source of their problems or their legislative and political activity, but a spiritual activity that can exist devoid of activist or political forms.
In Religion and the Making of Nigeria, Olufemi Vaughan examines how Christian, Muslim, and indigenous religious structures have provided the essential social and ideological frameworks for the construction of contemporary Nigeria. Using a wealth of archival sources and extensive Africanist scholarship, Vaughan traces Nigeria’s social, religious, and political history from the early nineteenth century to the present. During the nineteenth century, the historic Sokoto Jihad in today’s northern Nigeria and the Christian missionary movement in what is now southwestern Nigeria provided the frameworks for ethno-religious divisions in colonial society. Following Nigeria’s independence from Britain in 1960, Christian-Muslim tensions became manifest in regional and religious conflicts over the expansion of sharia, in fierce competition among political elites for state power, and in the rise of Boko Haram. These tensions are not simply conflicts over religious beliefs, ethnicity, and regionalism; they represent structural imbalances founded on the religious divisions forged under colonial rule.
In the case of Nigeria, scholarship on religious politics has not adequately taken into account the pluralistic context and the idealistic pretensions of the state that inhibit the possibility of forging an enduring civic amity among Nigeria’s diverse groups. Ilesanmi proposes a new philosophy or model of religio-political interaction, which he calls dialogic politics. Dialogic politics celebrates pluralism and suggests that religious institutions he construed as mediating structures functioning as buffers between individual citizens in search of existential meaning and cultural identity and the impersonal state, which tends to gravitate toward instrumental objectives. Ilesanmi’s study offers a fresh perspective on the complex relations between political attitudes and religious convictions.
Science and an African Logic
Helen Verran University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress DT515.45.Y67V47 2001 | Dewey Decimal 160.8996333
Does 2 + 2 = 4? Ask almost anyone and they will unequivocally answer yes. A basic equation such as this seems the very definition of certainty, but is it?
In this captivating book, Helen Verran addresses precisely that question by looking at how science, mathematics, and logic come to life in Yoruba primary schools. Drawing on her experience as a teacher in Nigeria, Verran describes how she went from the radical conclusion that logic and math are culturally relative, to determining what Westerners find so disconcerting about Yoruba logic, to a new understanding of all generalizing logic. She reveals that in contrast to the one-to-many model found in Western number systems, Yoruba thinking operates by figuring things as wholes and their parts. Quantity is not absolute but always relational. Certainty is derived not from abstract logic, but from cultural practices and associations.
A powerful story of how one woman's investigation in this everday situation led to extraordinary conclusions about the nature of numbers, generalization, and certainty, this book will be a signal contribution to philosophy, anthropology of science, and education.
What determines agrarian settlement patterns? Glenn Davis Stone addresses this question by analyzing the spatial aspects of agrarian ecology--the relationship between how farmers farm and where they settle--and how farming and settlement change as population density rises. Crosscutting the fields of cultural anthropology, archaeology, geography, and agricultural economics, Settlement Ecology presents a new perspective on the process of agricultural intensification and explores the relationships between intensification and settlement decision making. Stone insists that paleotechnic ("traditional") agriculture must be seen as a social process, with the social organization of agricultural work playing a key role in shaping settlement characteristics. These relationships are demonstrated in a richly documented case study of the Kofyar, who have been settling a frontier in the Nigerian savanna. The history of agricultural change and the development of the settlement pattern are reconstructed through ethnography, archival research, and aerial photos and are analyzed using innovative graphical methods. Stone also reflects on the limits of ecological determination of settlement, comparing the farming and settlement trajectories of the Kofyar and Tiv on the same frontier.
Mainstream media and film theory are based on the ways that media technologies operate in Europe and the United States. In this groundbreaking work, Brian Larkin provides a history and ethnography of media in Nigeria, asking what media theory looks like when Nigeria rather than a European nation or the United States is taken as the starting point. Concentrating on the Muslim city of Kano in the north of Nigeria, Larkin charts how the material qualities of technologies and the cultural ambitions they represent feed into the everyday experiences of urban Nigeria.
Media technologies were introduced to Nigeria by colonial regimes as part of an attempt to shape political subjects and create modern, urban Africans. Larkin considers the introduction of media along with electric plants and railroads as part of the wider infrastructural project of colonial and postcolonial urbanism. Focusing on radio networks, mobile cinema units, and the building of cinema theaters, he argues that what media come to be in Kano is the outcome of technology’s encounter with the social formations of northern Nigeria and with norms shaped by colonialism, postcolonial nationalism, and Islam. Larkin examines how media technologies produce the modes of leisure and cultural forms of urban Africa by analyzing the circulation of Hindi films to Muslim Nigeria, the leisure practices of Hausa cinemagoers in Kano, and the dynamic emergence of Nigerian video films. His analysis highlights the diverse, unexpected media forms and practices that thrive in urban Africa. Signal and Noise brings anthropology and media together in an original analysis of media’s place in urban life.
In this unprecedented account of the dynamics of Nigeria's pharmaceutical markets, Kristin Peterson connects multinational drug company policies, oil concerns, Nigerian political and economic transitions, the circulation of pharmaceuticals in the Global South, Wall Street machinations, and the needs and aspirations of individual Nigerians. Studying the pharmaceutical market in Lagos, Nigeria, she places local market social norms and credit and pricing practices in the broader context of regional, transnational, and global financial capital. Peterson explains how a significant and formerly profitable African pharmaceutical market collapsed in the face of U.S. monetary policies and neoliberal economic reforms, and she illuminates the relation between that collapse and the American turn to speculative capital during the 1980s. In the process, she reveals the mutual constitution of financial speculation in the drug industry and the structural adjustment plans that the IMF imposed on African nations. Her book is a sobering ethnographic analysis of the effects of speculation and "development" as they reverberate across markets and continents, and play out in everyday interpersonal transactions of the Lagos pharmaceutical market.
Although popularized in Africa by Western missionaries, the Christian faith as practiced by Africans has acquired unique traits over time. Some of the most radical reinterpretations of Christianity are offered by those churches known as “AICs” (variously, African Initiated, African Instituted, or African Independent Churches)—new denominations founded by Africans skeptical of dogma offered by mainstream churches with roots in European empires. As these churches spread throughout the African diaspora, they have brought with them distinct practices relating to gender. Such practices range from the expectation that women avoid holy objects and sites during menstruation to the maintenance of church structures in which both men and women may be ordained and assigned the same duties and responsibilities.
How does having a female body affect one’s experience of indigenized Christianity in Africa? Spirit, Structure, and Flesh addresses this question by exploring the ways ritual, symbol, and dogma circumscribe, constrain, and liberate women in AICs. Through detailed description of worship and doctrine, as well as careful analyses of church history and organizational processes, Deidre Helen Crumbley explores gendered experiences of faith and power in three Nigerian indigenous AICs, demonstrating the roles of women in the day-to-day life of these churches.
Leonard Plotnicov offers a fascinating study of the urbanization of tribal Africans. His study is based on extensive interviews with residents of Jos, Nigeria over a two-year period. The participants come from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds, and Plotnicov portrays the difficulties associated with assimilation into a Westernized society.
Thus Ruled Emir Abbas is an important new research tool that reveals much about daily life in Kano, the wealthiest and most populous emirate of the African Sokoto Caliphate. It contains a selection of Kano Judicial Council documents, as well as their English translations, that deal with matters such as land disputes, tax collection disputes, and theft. These documents are invaluable resources that reveal much about Kano social, economic, and political life before the region came under the influence of colonial institutions, law, and language. This selection of records for more than 415 cases, along with their translations, will become essential reading for those interested in Nigeria’s past and will certainly become a standard work in the field of Nigerian history and anthropology.
Refrains about financial hardship are ubiquitous in contemporary Nigeria, frequently expressed through the idiom “to be a man is not a one-day job.” But while men talk constantly about money, underlying their economic worries are broader concerns about the shifting meanings of masculinity, amid changing expectations and practices of intimacy.
Drawing on twenty-five years of experience in southeastern Nigeria, Daniel Jordan Smith takes readers through the principal phases and arenas of men’s lives: the transition to adulthood; searching for work and making a living; courtship, marriage, and fatherhood; fraternal and political relationships; and finally, the attainment of elder status and death. He relates men’s struggles both to fulfill their own aspirations and to meet society’s expectations. He also considers men who behave badly, mistreat their wives and children, or resort to crime and violence. All of these men face similar challenges as they navigate the complex geometry of money and intimacy. Unraveling these connections, Smith argues, provides us with a deeper understanding of both masculinity and society in Nigeria.
Tony Allen is the autobiography of legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, the rhythmic engine of Fela Kuti's Afrobeat. Conversational, inviting, and packed with telling anecdotes, Allen's memoir is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with the musician and scholar Michael E. Veal. It spans Allen's early years and career playing highlife music in Lagos; his fifteen years with Fela, from 1964 until 1979; his struggles to form his own bands in Nigeria; and his emigration to France.
Allen embraced the drum set, rather than African handheld drums, early in his career, when drum kits were relatively rare in Africa. His story conveys a love of his craft along with the specifics of his practice. It also provides invaluable firsthand accounts of the explosive creativity in postcolonial African music, and the personal and artistic dynamics in Fela's Koola Lobitos and Africa 70, two of the greatest bands to ever play African music.
The Two Princes of Calabar
Randy J. Sparks Harvard University Press, 2004 Library of Congress DA125.N4S66 2004 | Dewey Decimal 909.049607092267
In 1767, two "princes" of a ruling family in the port of Old Calabar, on the slave coast of Africa, were ambushed and captured by English slavers. The princes were themselves slave traders who were betrayed by African competitors--and so began their own extraordinary odyssey of enslavement. Their story, written in their own hand, survives as a rare firsthand account of the Atlantic slave experience. Sparks made the remarkable discovery of the princes' correspondence and has managed to reconstruct their adventures from it.
African cinema in the 1960s originated mainly from Francophone countries. It resembled the art cinema of contemporary Europe and relied on support from the French film industry and the French state. Beginning in 1969 the biennial Festival panafricain du cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou (FESPACO), held in Burkina Faso, became the major showcase for these films. But since the early 1990s, a new phenomenon has come to dominate the African cinema world: mass-marketed films shot on less expensive video cameras. These “Nollywood” films, so named because many originate in southern Nigeria, are a thriving industry dominating the world of African cinema.
Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-first Century is the first book to bring together a set of essays offering a comparison of these two main African cinema modes.
Contributors: Ralph A. Austen and Mahir Şaul, Jonathan Haynes, Onookome Okome, Birgit Meyer, Abdalla Uba Adamu, Matthias Krings, Vincent Bouchard, Laura Fair, Jane Bryce, Peter Rist, Stefan Sereda, Lindsey Green-Simms, and Cornelius Moore
Breaking new ground in the understanding of sexuality's complex relationship to colonialism, When Sex Threatened the State illuminates the attempts at regulating prostitution in colonial Nigeria.
As Saheed Aderinto shows, British colonizers saw prostitution as an African form of sexual primitivity and a problem to be solved as part of imperialism's "civilizing mission". He details the Nigerian response to imported sexuality laws and the contradictory ways both African and British reformers advocated for prohibition or regulation of prostitution. Tracing the tensions within diverse groups of colonizers and the colonized, he reveals how wrangling over prostitution camouflaged the negotiating of separate issues that threatened the social, political, and sexual ideologies of Africans and Europeans alike.
The first book-length project on sexuality in early twentieth century Nigeria, WhenSex Threatened the State combines the study of a colonial demimonde with an urban history of Lagos and a look at government policy to reappraise the history of Nigerian public life.
In this stunning debut novel, a child dissects the darkness at the heart of her British diplomatic family. Living in Nigeria on the brink of civil war, Anna—also known as Jake—becomes blood brothers with Dave, the Korean American daughter of a C.I.A. operative. They do push-ups, collect pornography, and plot lives of unmarried freedom while around them a country disintegrates. Luscious, terrifying, and raw, Nigeria itself becomes a lesson in endurance, suffering, love.
Stories are layered upon stories: Anna's grandmother tells stories about life as a white woman on the Gold Coast; the clairvoyant and closeted "Aunt" Elsie gives Anna a story of transformation to hold onto in the coming tumult of adolescence. Yet Where Bones Dance also spirals down to the stories that are not told—sexual abuse, the myth of benign colonialism, the chaos of postcolonial Africa. Sensual and fantastical by turns, this moving, funny, immensely readable book delivers an understanding of the interplay of sexuality, gender, race, and war that is sophisticated beyond the years of its intrepid narrator.
Winner, Georges Bugnet Award for Novel, Alberta Literary Awards, Writers Guild of Alberta
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians and the Public Library Association
How may we conceptualize Africa in the driver’s seat of her own destiny in the twenty-first century? How practically may her cultures become the foundation and driving force of her innovation, development, and growth in the age of the global knowledge economy? How may the Africanist disciplines in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences be revamped to rise up to these challenges through new imaginaries of intersectional reflection? This book assembles lectures given by Pius Adesanmi that address these questions. Adesanmi sought to create an African world of signification in which verbal artistry interpellates performer and audience in a heuristic process of knowledge production. The narrative and delivery of his arguments, the antiphonal call and response, and the aspects of Yoruba oratory and verbal resources all combine with diction and borrowings from Nigerian popular culture to create a distinct African performative mode. This mode becomes a form of resistance, specifically against the pressure to conform to Western ideals of the packaging, standardization, and delivery of knowledge. Together, these short essays preserve the
committed and passionate voice of an African writer lost far too soon. Adesanmi urges his readers to commit themselves to Africa’s cultural agency.
Responding to growing international interest in the Yorùbá culture of southwestern Nigeria, practitioners of bàtá—a centuries-old drumming, dancing, and singing tradition—have recast themselves as traditional performers in a global market. As the Nigerian market for ritual bàtá has been declining, international opportunities for performance have grown. Debra L. Klein’s lively ethnography explores this disjunction, revealing the world of bàtá artists and the global culture market that helps to sustain their art.
Yorùbá Bàtá Goes Global describes the dramatic changes and reinventions of traditional bàtá performance in recent years, showing how they are continually recreated, performed, and sold. Klein delves into the lives of Yorùbá musicians, focusing on their strategic collaborations with artists, culture brokers, researchers, and entrepreneurs worldwide. And she explores how reinvigorated performing ensembles are beginning to parlay success on the world stage into increased power and status within Nigeria. Klein’s study of the interwoven roles of innovation and tradition will interest scholars of African, global, and cultural studies, anthropology, and ethnomusicology alike.