City of 201 Gods: Ilé-Ifè in Time, Space, and the Imagination

City of 201 Gods: Ilé-Ifè in Time, Space, and the Imagination

by Jacob Olupona

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Ícaro|Ícaro|Ícaro|In a study that challenges familiar Western modes of thought, Jacob K. Olupona focuses on one of the most important religious centers in Africa and in the world: the Yorùbá city of Ilé-Ifè in southwest Nigeria. The spread of Yorùbá traditions in the African diaspora has come to define the cultural identity of millions of black and white people in Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and the United States. Seen through the eyes of a native, this first comprehensive study of the spiritual and cultural center of the Yorùbá religion tells how the city went from great prominence to near obliteration and then rose again as a contemporary city of gods. Throughout, Olupona corroborates the indispensable linkages between religion, cosmology, migration, and kinship as espoused in the power of royal lineages, hegemonic state structure, gender, and the Yorùbá sense of place, offering the fullest portrait to date of this sacred African city.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520265561
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 12/13/2011
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 356
Sales rank: 328,046
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jacob K. Olupona is Professor of African Religious Traditions, African, and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of Kingship, Religion, and Rituals in a Nigerian Community: A Phenomenological Study of Ondo Yoruba Festivals and has edited several books, including Beyond Primitivism: Ícaro|Ícaro|Ícaro|Indigenous Religious Traditions and Modernity.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Part I

1 Ilé-Ifè in Time and Space 21

2 The Imagined Sacred City: Ilé-Ifè in the History of Exploration and Discovery 51

3 The Sacred Cosmos and Ilé-Ifè Religion: Divination, Kingship, and Social Identity 86

Part II

4 Myth and Ritual of Sacred Kingship: The Olójó Festival of Ogún 111

5 Itàpá: Identity, Ritual, and Power in the Festival of Obàtálá and Yemòó 144

6 Ifá: Divination Rituals and the New Yam Festival 174

7 The Goddess Morèmi in the Festival of Edi: Gender, Sacrifice, and the Expulsion of Evil 203

8 Odùduwà, the God-King 224

Part III

9 The Changing Face of the City: Royal Narratives and Contested Space in the Palace 251

10 Conclusion: Ancient Orìsà and New Evangelicals Vie for the City of 201 Gods 282

Notes 299

Bibliography 315

Index 325

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