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The Souls of Yoruba Folk

Indigeneity, Race, and Critical Spiritual Literacy in the African Diaspora


Temitope E. Adefarakan

The Souls of Yoruba Folk explores the spiritual lives and experiences of sixteen Africans of Yoruba descent in Canada, and investigates how they make meaning of their Indigenous heritage within the geopolitical space of Eurocentric Canadian culture. The book highlights how Yoruba peoples in the African diaspora strategically utilize their Indigenous spiritual knowledges as decolonizing tools of navigation, subversion, and resistance to colonial oppression in the purportedly ‘multicultural’ space of Canada. The author powerfully weaves together literature of Yoruba peoples from multiple contexts, spanning the African continent and its diaspora, including the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. With its strong emphasis on equity and the usefulness of spirituality in contexts of schooling, education, teaching, and learning, The Souls of Yoruba Folk is ideal for critical and multicultural education courses, and will be especially useful for educators and researchers in the areas of critical interdisciplinary studies, sociology, women’s studies/feminism, anti-racist scholarship and pedagogy, critical education, Canadian studies, equity and religious studies, and African/Black diasporic studies.
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Series Editor’s Preface


“A child doesn’t belong to the father or the mother: A child belongs to the ancestors.” This ancient African proverb bears cosmological witness and offers a scholarly imperative to (re)member our existence as Black people and the central work of providing education that engages our histories, our present conditions, and our futures. But this call is also a recursive one: It is a call to look inward, to look backward, and to look forward for understandings of how to move in ways pleasing to those on whose shoulders we stand. The Souls of Yoruba Folk: Indigeneity, Race, and Critical Spiritual Literacy in the African Diaspora brings together all of these dimensions in an important example of what Adefarakan describes as a “personal and political effort to de-pathologize African spirituality and shift the popular imagination (African and otherwise) from its profound reliance on re-circulated colonizing scripts about African Indigenous spirituality, to ones that are affirming, nuanced, and grounded in an African-centered, feminist, and anti-colonial politic.” Locating this work in the conceptual tradition of W. E. B. DuBois’ notion of double-consciousness, this text raises and inquires into the important, often contradictory, and always complicated ideals that DuBois raised for the African in America, namely the unreconciled (and possibly unreconcilable) nature of the souls of Black people who live in diasporic spaces, spaces that too often render us inferior through dominance ← ix | x → and oppression of our minds, bodies, and souls. Here, Adefarakan adds to the spiritual and scholarly legacy...

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