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Sabine Jell-Bahlsen The Water Goddess in Igbo Cosmology £ 28.99
A study of the Igbo people's belief in a water Goddess that resides in Lake Oguta in south- eastern Nigeria. Bahlsen looks at the rituals, beliefs and social organisation associated with it. “This evocative study of a water Goddess among the Igbo of Lake Oguta in southeastern Nigeria, thoroughly explores the rituals, beliefs and social organization associated with rituals of women's power. A form of Mammy Wata found through coastal Western Africa … the analysis of this powerful Goddess, based on many years of research, is a notable contribution to African female ritual studies, long neglected by scholars." --Dr. Simon Ottenberg, University of Washington, Seattle “To the best of my knowledge, this is the most informative study yet on the Water Goddess in Igbo cosmology, and it seems poised to remain for a long time, the most authoritative work on the subject.” --Dr. Ernest N. Emenyonu, University of Michigan, Flint “Produced with the cultural sensitivity and thoroughness of a seasoned ethnographer and an accomplished filmmaker, this long-awaited interdisciplinary work is a study of confluences on a grand scale. Ogbuide (the Lake Goddess) holds sway in an environment where the force and flexibility of water determines commerce, artistic expression, gender relations, and communal life. Located at the confluence of the rivers Nigerand Urashi, Ogbuide (Oguta Lake) stands as a metaphor for where worlds meet;revealing the intertwining of numerous registers—myths, symbols, aesthetics, customs, medicine, spirituality, religion, history/histories, literature, and ecology.” --Obioma Nnaemeka, Indiana University, Indianapolis “This brilliantly researched and documented book is a must read for all serious scholars and researchers of Africa and its various cultures, religious beliefs and practices especially the adoratory worship of the Water Goddess in the Oguta riverine areas of southeastern Nigeria.” --Dr. Michael C. Mbabuike, Hostos Community College of the City University of New York ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sabine Jell Bahlsen holds an MA in ethnology from the Free University in Berlin/Germany and a PhD in anthropology from the New School University in New York. She edits the journal Dialectical Anthropology and is the director of Ogbuide Films. Her published articles appear in many publications.
Louis Djisovi Ikukomi Eason Ifa £ 19.99
The Yoruba God of Divination in Nigeria and the United States, by Louis Djisovi Ikukomi Eason, With Reflections and Commentaries Edited by Toyin Falola In this book, the late Dr. Louis Djisovi Ikukomi Eason offers a combination of personal, historical and solicitous accounts on Ifa, the Yoruba divination deity. Using sites in Nigeria and the United States, he reveals various aspects of the religious practices and festivals that are associated with this important deity. As he narrates his first-hand observations and insertions into the inner sanctuaries of divination, he offers remarkable insights on ancient elements of Ifá worship and practices in Ilé Ifè and their contemporary rebirth among African Americans who successfully turned the Oyotunji Village into a powerful religious space. ABOUT THE AUTHOR LOUIS - DJISOVI IKUKOMI EASON, Ph.D. (1949-2005) was born and reared in Atlanta, GA. A community activist, he assisted in physically locating Oyotunji African Village at its present site in Sheldon, South Carolina in 1971. He was initiated into the Yoruba-Fon Traditional Religion as a priest of Shango/Ajakata in 1978, and in 1992, he received both hands of Ifa in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and later was enstooled as a chief. Director of a cultural program and an instructor and co-founder of the Africana Studies Program at Bowling Green State University (1997-2005), he also was an African percussionist in the Babatunde Olatunji genre and the author of several scholarly articles on African Traditional Religions.
Simon Ottenberg & Toyin Falola Igbo Religion & Social Life £ 36.99
In this volume Emeritus Professor Simon Ottenberg presents a number of detailed essays on the religious life of the Igbo people in southeastern Nigeria and on the Limba of northern Sierra Leone, based on extensive anthropological field research over many years. Ottenberg stresses the important of looking at African religious life in terms of ritual activity and change over time. There are also chapters on the growth of Abakaliki, an Igbo town, and essays reflecting on the author's field experiences in Africa over time. The volume concludes with two general papers. "This two-volume collection of essays is a significant milestone in the discourse of African Studies and an insightful summation of the career of a distinguished scholar of African anthropology and art history. The books testify to the originality of Ottenberg's insights and chronicle his transformation from a young anthropologist observer to a valued member of the Afikpo-Igbo society." -Sylvester Okwunodu OgbechieArt Historian, University of California, Santa Barbara "This book presents us with an invaluable snapshot of the emergence of a uniquely innovative approach to the study of African cultures, peoples, and histories, an approach which privileges the sensibilities, priorities, and changing social dynamics of the African people without casting their universe in the language of insular exceptionalism." -Ebe M. OchonuVanderbilt University ABOUT THE EDITOR TOYIN FALOLA initiated this series, and has edited previous books on the essays of Ade Ajayi, Bethwell Ogot, Richard Sklar, Adiele Afigbo, and Adu Boahen. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. His career has been the subject of three festscriften published by Africa World Press.
Ogonna Agu The Book of Dawn and Invocations £ 11.99
The Search for Philosophic Truth by an African Initiate - Karnak Philosophy From the Introduction: From the background of African traditions there appears to be much similarity between many indigenous African traditions and the civilization of Ancient Egypt. I was fascinated by the discovery that much of Igbo traditions expressed somewhat similar views like those we find among the ancient Egyptians… Igbo cultural tradition is one such culture. Jeffries in his studies of the Nri-Igbo traditions of Nigeria shows a cluster of ideas such as belief in the Sun God Chukwu, the winged solar disc which forms the model of the Nri-Igbo facial scarification; the ram-headed god Ikenga, etc. Igbo religious outlook deals mainly with the world of nature, which is of particular interest in these days of our awareness of the harm done to the environment, and more importantly, humanity is seeking to return to the religion and philosophy of nature. So also do we deal with religion as a social model to which the entities must adhere. Thus Chukwu is seen as an entity with hands and feet, and elder who takes titles (such as Ezechukwu, Ezechukwuoke, etc.) and wears a hat with eagle feathers. ---Ogonna Agu
Mahmud Kati ibn al hajj al-Mutawakkil Kati Timbuktu Chronicles 1493-1599 £ 27.99
The Al Hajj Mahmud Kati's Tarikh at Fattash Some five hundred years ago, the Askiya Muhammad founded the Songhay Dynasty of the Askiyas, which flourished for more than a century in Sahelian West Africa. The Askiya Muhammad administered his kingdom from Gao, Mali, although many of his most loyal followers were located in Timbuktu, Mali. The Timbuktu based scribe al hajj Mahmud Kati was a close friend of the Askiya Muhammad, who accompanied the famous Songhay leader during his pilgrimage to Mecca. The Tarikh al fattash is an eyewitness account of the rise and fall of the Songhay Empire, told from Kati’s perspective as a key participant in many of the most important events in the era of the Askiyas. Wise’s The Timbuktu Chronicles, 1493-1599 is a translation of the Octave Houdas and Maurice Delafosse’s rendition of the Tarikh al fattash, which was compiled from three versions of the text that surfaced in the early twentieth century, and that were edited by Houdas and Delafosse in 1913. It includes a new introduction by Wise, as well as the original introduction and scholarly notes of Houdas and Delafosse. Although long valued as the most important historical document of the medieval period, Kati’s chronicle is also a literary achievement that is comparable to the writings of figures like Chaucer, Rabelais, and Montaigne. Wise’s introduction and study questions accompanying this translation provide contextualizing information for the non-specialist. The Tarikh al fattash is essential reading for all students of African literature and history. Christopher Wise deserves both our admiration and gratitude for making available to the wider world this five hundred year old chronicle—the best, the most significant and the most useful on the Songhai empire. The premodern is connected with the modern; old Africa and new Africa are blended; and texts and interpretations are united to understand the past, to teach about the past, allowing us to reflect more profoundly on an era that we continue to hold in awe for its achievements, the endurance of its ideas, the brilliance of its scholars, and the grandeur of its institutions. —Toyin Falola University Distinguished Professor and the Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor, University of Texas at Austin, and the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Chair of Modern Africa At-Large, Benue State University, Nigeria The appearance of Mahmud Kati's Tarikh al Fattash in English translation is long overdue. In the years to come, we may look forward to the appearance of more neglected classics from Timbuktu and elsewhere in West Africa, in both Arabic and Ajami. Wise's new volume, with its very readable translation and helpful introduction, performs an important service for African literary studies. —Fallou Ngom Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the African Language Program, Boston University Thanks need to be given to Christopher Wise and Haba Abu Taleb for resurrecting Tarikh al-Fattashor The Timbuktu Chronicles, which is now available in English because of their translation. This fifteenth century text is a marvel of literature and history and its availability in this excellent English translation will provide an important new treasure for those who are interested in the history and civilization of Islam. —Ricardo Rene Laremont Professor of Political Science and Sociology SUNY Binghamton ABOUT THE AUTHOR, EDITOR & TRANSLATORS Mahmud Kati ibn al hajj al-Mutawakkil Kati was born in Kurmina (Northern Mali), in the year 1468. Kati’s father was a Sephardic Arab Muslim, who migrated to Timbuktu in the era of the Spanish Inquisition. Kati’s mother was a black African woman of Songhay-Soninke origin. Kati lived most of his adult life in Timbuktu. He most likely died in 1552, fourteen years after the death of the Askiya Muhammad. Christopher Wise is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Western Washington University. Wise’s previous publications include his translation of Norbert Zongo’s The Parachute Drop (2004) and The Yambo Ouologuem Reader (2008). Hala Abu Taleb is an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Jordan. She also teaches courses on American Literature and Cross-cultural Communication to undergraduates in the English Department. Her research interests include identity politics, cultural bridging and aesthetic resistance.
K. Noel Amherd Reciting Ifa: Identity, Difference & Heterogeneity £ 27.99
This book generates a critical Ifa poetics and analysis that emphasizes Ifa as a philosophical heritage that privileges heterogeneity of discourses, texts, and worlds. The book foregrounds and elucidates the practices and explications of Ifa thinkers (individual babalawo and their personal elaborations and explanations) and achieves this by its detailed transcription, translation, and analysis of an actual divination that took place in Ijebu Remo, Nigeria. Therefore, the book urges returning Ifa to its actual sites of recitation and contextualization in situ where the performances are bound up in specific locations, their pasts, the participants (both human and non-), diverging interests, and the differences of style and language that reside in every performance. Many works display and/or refer to Ifa “poems” in order to appeal to Ifa’s authority thereby supporting their arguments and theoretical considerations on other subjects but overlook the performer, the uniqueness of his recitation, and the context of its performance. What is missing is a critical theory for the justification of such use. This book fills this gap by linking apparently transcendent Ifa texts to the real people who recite them within the horizon of still living heritages. A fundamental question for African Philosophy, asked by thinkers such as Wiredu, Towa, Serequeberhan, and others, has been: how can a modern philosophical discourse arise that is rooted in the continuum of cultural heritages? Discourse in oral cultures must be seen as simultaneous with performance so that the orature recitation by a specialist is in fact the intellectual elaboration by an individual thinker in an indigenous mode of heritage. Because this book foregrounds the contextual recitations of texts by specific individuals, it suggests that this goal is already present but must be brought out through developing a recognition of the discursive strategies of oral performances mobilized by individuals who therein express their unique knowledge and understanding. This book focuses on a particular diviner with analysis of his divination performance, juxtaposed and compared with other performances by the same diviner at other times, different diviners in the same town, and different diviners in other places. The book, therefore, explores epistemological and ontological concepts and activities that arise through reciting texts in ritual settings and the predominance of a metonymic logic. It also considers history as tied to performance such that temporality is seen as an imbroglio of interconnected events, personae, locations, and actions. This book challenges an uncritical reification of Ifa as a facile, static repetition of itself through time and space. Included in the book are multiple transcriptions of actual recitations by particular, named babalawo. This reveals Ifa texts as emergent performances by individual babalawo contextually incorporating, reflecting, and entangling themselves within the realities of towns, histories, Orisa, lineages, tensions, disputes, and so on, in and to which the babalawo’s recitations act. To utter Ifa texts is a form of social action by a specific individual within a unique context of circumstances and participants. This is arguably the most scholarly work in recent years to be written on Ifa, the well known Yoruba body of ideas on religion, divination, philosophy and more. With a solid base in ethnography and recitations offered in the book, the author effectively connects detailed field research with scholarly work drawn from literature, anthropology, history, and language. —Toyin Falola, FAH, The Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor and University of Texas Distinguished Teaching Professor ABOUT THE AUTHOR K. NOEL AMHERD acquired his master’s degree in Anthropology and Ph.D. in African Studies from the Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham. This book is the culmination of relationships he originally forged in 1995 with the diviners of Ode Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria, who performed his itefa (Ifa initiation) and expressed their expectations of him to “be a babalawo”. He continues to articulate the sophistication of Ifa epistemology, and the ways that it establishes new relevance amidst the pressures of modernity, geo-political interests, and religious conversion.
Chima J. Korieh Olaudah Equiano and the Igbo World £ 28.99
History, Society, and Atlantic Diaspora Connections Olaudah Equiano and the Igbo World examines aspects of the history, society and Atlantic Diaspora connection of the Igbo people of the Bight of Biafra hinterland. The large presence of the Igbo in the Americas and the role of enslaved Africans of Igbo origin were important in shaping the larger history of slavery, patterns of enslavement, and new identity formations in the Americas. In this regard, the intellectual contribution of this most famous Igbo son, Olaudah Equiano, to discourses on the history of slavery in the Americas is of great importance. The book addresses several issues including: Igbo history and cultural values as glimpsed from Olaudah Equiano’s narrative, as well as the later Igbo encounter with Western imperialist forces, including the missionary and the colonizing forces, their response to slavery in the New World and aspects of Igbo impact on the Atlantic Diaspora. The contributors draw from history, literature, philosophy, and anthropology to address the intersection between the Igbo and the outside world and how this encounter shaped the currents of slavery, colonialism and the accompanying social transformations in Igboland and across the African Diaspora. Placing the African background of the Igbo in the context of Atlantic history presents an alternative conceptual approach that teases out the nuances of interconnection between African and the broader Atlantic/global history. The value of this approach is that it recasts our understanding of African continuities in the Atlantic World by situating such experiences in their African backgrounds. This approach sheds light on the interconnections between different parts of the Atlantic world and what specific regions of Africa brought to the complex economic and social formations that began with European exploration of the West African coast in the fifteenth century. This is a classical exposé of the Igbo entrepreneurial spirit, elegantly packaged in brilliant historical narratives. Equiano represents the indomitable Igbo spirit which under the most despicable circumstances is sometimes bloodied but never bows. This book embodies the most lucid commentaries on Equiano’s odyssey given by his ancestral descendants. It is a must-read for everyone who wants to explore more deeply the historical labyrinth of trans-Atlantic slavery—Dr. Ifeanyi Ezeonu, Brock University, Canada ABOUT THE EDITOR CHIMA J. KORIEH teaches African History at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He holds a PhD in African History from the University of Toronto, Canada. Prior to joining Marquette, he was Associate Professor of African History at Rowan University in New Jersey. He received the prestigious British Academy Visiting Fellowship at Oxford University, Oxford, UK in 2008. He has authored various articles and essays in journals, books, and encyclopedia. His publications include the following co-edited volumes: The Aftermath of Slavery: Transition and Transformation in Southeastern Nigeria, Missions, States and European Expansion in Africa, and Gendering Global Transformations: Gender, Culture, Race, and Identity. Dr. Korieh is Associate Editor (Africa) of Encyclopedia of Western Imperialism and Colonialism since 1450 and the founding editor of Mbari: The International Journal of Igbo Studies.
Adiele Afigbo Myth, History & Society £ 28.99
The collected works of Adiele Afigbo The basic idea in this book is that Nigerian historians, indeed historians of Africa, have from the birth of the new African historiography seen and pursued historical studies and historical writing as part of the larger effort to create, consolidate and run modern and modernizing states in Africa. It is this larger process that Professor Adiele Afigbo refers to as statecraft. Afigbo makes the point that strictly speaking this role is not a new one in Africa. It is a revival and continuation of a process and profession which has been part of the African way of life as seen in “the older versions of history,” which we refer to today as myths and legends, and which were constructed to shore up the states of old Africa and to create wide enough political space for the citizens of each state and society. “… The history of Africanization of knowledge cannot be written without placing Professor Afigbo at the center stage of the process.” —Adebayo Oyebade, Tennessee State University From Igbo to African historiography, theoretical and empirical consideration and broadening the scope of African history provide the potent emotional drive of Afigbo’s work. He expands the canon of historical thinking and reinvigorates oral tradition as a sophisticated tool in the analysis and defense of African history.” —Chima J. Korieh, Rowan College About the Author Toyin Falola, is University Teaching Professor and the Frances Higginbothom Nalle Centennial Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. A Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, his numerous books in this series inclde Africa in the Twentieth Century: The Adu Boahen Reader, and Igbo History and Society: The Essays of Adiele Afigbo. His memoir, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt captures the history of his childhood.