Yoruba ritual : performers, play, agency /
Margaret Thompson Drewal.
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1992.
xxii, 241 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
0253318173 (cloth : alk. paper) 0253206847 (paper : alk. paper)
More Details
Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c1992.
0253318173 (cloth : alk. paper) 0253206847 (paper : alk. paper)
general note
Accompanied by companion video.
local note
ROM copy: Gift of Esther Amrad Dagan in memory of her daughter Halit and in homage to the unknown African artists, 2009.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [221]-234) and index.
A Look Inside
Main Description
Yoruba peoples of southwestern Nigeria conceive of rituals as journeysÑsometimes actual, sometimes virtual. Performed as a parade or a procession, a pilgrimage, a masking display, or possession trance, the journey evokes the reflexive, progressive, transformative experience of ritual participation. Yoruba Ritual is an original and provocative study of these practices. Using a performance paradigm, Margaret Thompson Drewal forges a new theoretical and methodological approach to the study of ritual that is thoroughly grounded in close analysis of the thoughts and actions of the participants. Challenging traditional notions of ritual as rigid, stereotypic, and invariant, Drewal reveals ritual to be progressive, transformative, generative, and reflexive and replete with simultaneity, multifocality, contingency, indeterminacy, and intertextuality. Throughout the book prominence is given to the intentionality of actors as knowledgeable agents who transform ritual itself through play and improvisation. Integral to the narrative are interpolations about performances and their meanings by Kolawole Ositola, a scholar of Yoruba oral tradition, ritual practitioner, diviner, and master performer. Rich descriptions of rituals relating to birth, death, reincarnation, divination, and constructions of gender are rendered all the more vivid by a generous selection of field photos of actual performances.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
A Companion Video
Reader's Road Map
Theory and Method in the Study of Ritual Performancep. 1
Yoruba Play and the Transformation of Ritualp. 12
The Ontological Journeyp. 29
New Beginningsp. 51
Establishing the Selfp. 63
Ritual Play about Play: Performing Miracles in Honor of the Ancestorsp. 89
The Collective in Conflict, or, the Play of Personalitiesp. 113
From Militarism to Dandyism: The Shaping of Performancep. 135
Reinventing Ritual: The Imewuro Annual Rallyp. 160
Gender Playp. 172
Envoip. 197
Glossaryp. 201
Notesp. 205
Sources Citedp. 221
Indexp. 235
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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