Arts of Being Yoruba: Divination, Allegory, Tragedy, Proverb, Panegyric



There is a culturally significant way of being Yoruba that is expressed through dress, greetings, and celebrations--no matter where in the world they take place. Adeleke Adek documents Yoruba patterns of behavior and articulates a philosophy of how to be Yoruba in this innovative study. As he focuses on historical writings, Ifa divination practices, the use of proverbs in contemporary speech, photography, gendered ideas of dressing well, and the formalities of ceremony and speech at celebratory occasions, Adeeko contends that being Yoruba is indeed an art and Yoruba-ness is a dynamic phenomenon that responds to cultural shifts as Yoruba people inhabit an increasingly globalized world.

Product Details

Indiana University Press
Publish Date
July 17, 2017
6.0 X 0.48 X 9.0 inches | 0.69 pounds

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About the Author

Adélékè Adéèk is Humanities Distinguished Professor in the English and African American and African Studies departments at Ohio State University. He is the author of Proverbs, Textuality, and Nativism in African Literature and The Slave's Rebellion: Literature, History, Orature (IUP).


"This book will remain an unparalleled prestigious excavation of the very best in Yorùbá artistic, literary, cultural, and philosophical studies for many years to come. It belongs in every Yorùbá household as well as in the archives of Yorùbá social and cultural history."

--Research in African Literature


Arts of Being Yorùbá is a needed contribution to Yorùbá studies and a welcome rejoinder to a more culturally essentialist understanding of what it means to be - or not be - Yorùbá.

"--Journal of Modern African Studies


In uniting various themes and topics, the book creates a tool and methodology to rethink interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, hybridity, and modernity. Recommended.



Arts of Being Yoruba is timely and strategic. It is a commendable output, which makes pronouncements that further rekindles hope and sustained interest in African cultural studies generally.

"--African Studies Quarterly