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Grant number like: HB-50225-12

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Debra Lynn Klein
Gavilan College (Gilroy, CA 95020-9599)

Awards for Faculty
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$12,600 (approved)
$12,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 9/30/2012

Reclaiming the Òrìsà in Nigeria: The Intersection of Traditional Indigenous Religion and Islam in Yorùbá Popular Culture

My project will show that despite the popularity of evangelicalism in southern Nigeria, traditional religious beliefs and practices have been making a steady comeback among Yorùbá Muslims who have continued to incorporate the òrìsà—indigenous spirits—into their Islamic, popular culture, and business practices and worldviews. My hypothesis is that predominantly Muslim Yorùbá towns, in dialogue with òrìsà-focused communities throughout the globe, provide the necessary conditions for a Nigeria-based òrìsà reclamation movement; thus, analyzing the nexus of òrìsà and Islam in popular culture and business contexts will shed light on how Nigerians negotiate and reinvent Yorùbá òrìsà culture through local performance and global networks. This research contributes to analyses of culture reclamation processes in which communities invoke cultural and spiritual traditions in order to claim meaningful identities and lives against the grain of globalizing religious paradigms and practices.