Continuity and Change: IFA’S Negotiation of Islamic and Christian Expansion among 19th Century Yoruba
John Cardon Willis
Thesis DT 3.5 2000 W5557
xv, 170 leaves; 29 cm.
This study places the Ifa divination system within the broader historical context of the Christian and Islamic expansion in 19th century Yorubaland. It looks at the role of Ifa as systems of knowledge that defines social, political, and religious roles, validates power, and serves an authority on Yoruba culture and history. In this position, Ifa negotiates the expansion these foreign religions, which is indicative of Ifa's historical role among the Yoruba. I argue that with the assistance of Ifa, the Yoruba used Islam and Christianity as a means of elevating status and intensifying their power during 19th century. I also compare and contrast Ifa's negotiation in Africa with its persistence in the Americas to place Ifa within a broader global context.