Professor Olukoya Ogen

Olukoya Joseph OGEN is Professor of History  in the Department of History & International Studies, Osun State University, Nigeria.

He will be a LUCAS/ LAHRI Virtual Fellow between April and June 2022. As part of his fellowship he will be developing his project The globalisation of African religion and the post-colonial resurgence of Yoruba traditional religious practices. Whilst associated with the University of Leeds, he will be collaborating with Abel Ugba (School of Politics and International Studies) and Adriaan van Klinken (School of PRHS).

Project Abstract

The literature on Islam and Christianity in Africa suggests an almost complete triumph of the monotheistic religions, however, the available body of evidence suggests that traditional religious practices are not only resilient but have also been attracting re-converts from Islam and Christianity. Taken together, the reasons for this renaissance, its continued spread and popularity both locally and globally as well as the increasing reliance on Yoruba alternative medicine by African immigrants, remains a fascinating subject of intellectual inquiry.

The study argues that locally and globally, Yoruba traditional religion is currently witnessing a resurgence; social contact between monotheists and traditionalists across Yorubaland and beyond is very close, and that the globalisation of Yoruba traditional religious practices is predicated on the resilience of Yoruba cultural values.  Thus, the study problematizes the revitalisation, globalisation and adaptability of African indigenous knowledge systems. This case is not only relevant in relation to religion per se, but also in relation to broader questions of identity and public health.