Yoruba Studies at UT
History of the Program
Yoruba Studies at UT began as a student-driven initiative from the African Student Association (ASA) in collaboration with the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. ASA and the Warfield Center were concerned about the absence of instruction in indigenous African languages at UT. The students circulated petitions, consulted with faculty, met with administrators and, eventually, the Yoruba Studies Program was born in 2002. Dr. Akin Alao of Obafemi Awolowo University (Ile-Ife, Nigeria) was hired to teach Yoruba Language as well as Yoruba History and Culture. When Dr. Alao returned to OAU, Dr. Fehintola Mosadomi from Tulane University was hired to teach the Yoruba courses. Dr. Omoniyi Afolabi was hired to supplement the language instruction, and to teach courses on the Yoruba presence in Brazil along with Lusophone African literature. The other Yoruba Studies faculty include Dr. Toyin Falola who teaches courses in Yoruba history, Dr. Jossiana Arroyo Martinez who teaches literature courses with Yoruba diasporic content, Dr. Moyo Okediji who teaches Yoruba visual aesthetics, and Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones who teaches courses in Yoruba theatrical and ritual performance.
Yoruba Studies Program fosters an understanding of Yoruba politics, aesthetics, and spiritual cosmology that is diasporic in focus. Not only is Yorubaland of Nigeria considered, but Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad, Benin, U.S.A. (particularly Miami and New York City), and Puerto Rico are positioned as integral components of any contemporary understanding of Yoruba reality.