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Yoruba indigenous knowledges in the African Diaspora: knowledge, power and the politics of indigenous spirituality.

This study investigates how Yoruba migrants make meaning of Yoruba Indigenous knowledges in the African Diaspora, specifically within the geopolitical space of dominant Canadian culture. This research is informed by the lived experiences of 16 Africans of Yoruba descent now living in Toronto, Canada, and explores how these first and second generation migrants construct the spiritual and linguistic dimensions of Yoruba Indigenous identities in their everyday lives. While Canada is often imagined as a sanctuary for progressive politics, it nonetheless is also a hegemonic space where inequities continue to shape the social engagements of everyday life. Hence, this dissertation situates the historical and contemporary realities of colonialism and imperialism, by beginning with the premise that people in diasporic Yoruba communities are continuously affected by the complicated interplay of various forms of oppression such as racism, and inequities based on language, gender and religion. This study is situated within a socio-historical and cosmological context to effectively examine colonialism's impact on Yoruba Indigenous knowledges. Yet, inversely, this study also involves discussion of how these knowledges are utilized as decolonizing tools of navigation, subversion and resistance. The central focus of this research is the articulation of colonial oppression and how it has reconfigured Yoruba Indigenous identities even within a purportedly 'multicultural' space. First, the historical dis/continuities of the Yoruba language in Yorubaland are investigated. This strand of the research considers British colonization, and more specifically, the Church Missionary Society's (CMS) efforts at translating the Bible into Yoruba as pivotal in the colonial project. What kinds of categories does missionary education create that differ from pre-colonial categories of Yoruba Indigenous identity? How are these new identities shaped along lines of race and gender? In other words, what happens when Yoruba cosmology encounters colonialism? The second strand of this research investigates how these historical colonialisms have set the framework for enduring contemporary colonialisms that continue to fracture Yoruba Indigenous knowledges.

This dissertation offers insights relevant to diversity and equitable pedagogy through careful consideration of the complicated strategies used by participants in their negotiations of Yoruba identities within a context of social inequity and colonialism.

Elizabeth Temitope Adefarakan, Ph.D., University of Toronto (Canada), 2011, 263 pages; AAT NR77736.

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Title Annotation:Dissertation Abstracts: JPAS 2011 Selections
Author:Temitope Adefarakan, Elizabeth
Publication:Journal of Pan African Studies
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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