Research & Education

Book Summary

The Souls of Yoruba Folk explores the spiritual lives and experiences of sixteen Africans of Yoruba descent in Canada, and investigates how they make meaning off their Indigenous heritage within the geopolitical space of European Canadian culture. The book highlights how Yoruba peoples in the African diaspora strategically utilize their Indigenous spiritual knowledges as decolonizing tools of navigation, subversion, and resistance to colonial oppression in the purportedly ‘multicultural’ space of Canada. The author powerfully weaves together literature of Yoruba peoples from multiple contexts, spanning the African continent and its diaspora, including the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. With its strong emphasis on equity and the usefulness of spirituality in contexts of schooling, education, teaching , and learning, The Souls of Yoruba Folk is ideal for critical and multicultural education courses, and will be especially useful for educators and researchers in the areas of critical interdisciplinary studies, sociology, women’s studies/feminism, anti-racist scholarship and pedagogy, critical education, Canadian studies, equity and religious studies, and African/Black diasporic studies.


“Adefarakan adds to the spiritual and scholarly legacy set by DuBois, pointing to the ways that colonization within Western thought have produced scant studies in social sciences, education, and cultural studies by or about African spiritualities in diaspora. More specifically, as one of the most popular expressions of Indigenous spirituality in the African diaspora, Adefarakan shines a light on the soul of Yoruba folk as a nuanced “diasporic indigeneity.” In important ways, she extends Dubois’ notions and our understandings of double consciousness and spiritual strivings to ones that are not solely bound by physical space or location, but as realities in diasporas as well. I was particularly struck by the ways that the Yoruba elders and community member participants in this text made sense of being Yoruba people who often overtly pushed down or masked Yoruba spirituality, religion, and traditions while simultaneously lifting up Christianity and/or Islam as their “only” forms of religious practice in Canada. What we learn in The Souls of Yoruba Folk: Indigeneity, Race and Critical Spiritual Literacy in the African Diaspora helps us to better understand these seemingly contradictory realities and points us to the serious consequences and costs of being Black in dispora(s), where forgetting is often encouraged, “necessary,” and a political strategy of survival…This is a brave text. May we listen carefully to the wisdom of the ancestors as they teach us through this important volume.”

Cynthia B. Dillard, PhD. (Nana Mansa II of Mpeasem, Ghana, West Africa)

Series Editor, Peter Lang, Black Studies and Critical Thinking Series-Spirituality and Indigenous Thought

“Temitope Adefarakan has written a provocative and exciting book about one of the great cultures of the modern world. Her research into the indigenous spirituality of the Yoruba of Canada is a pioneering work of incredible beauty and power. It will become a classic for those who engage in the discourse on indigeneity as well as those who are interested in the productive spaces for an invigorating spirituality. This is a necessary read for any contemporary intellectual.”

-Molefi Kete Asante, author of An Afrocentric Manifesto

“Challenging simplistic approaches to religion and the indigenous heritage of African peoples, Adefarakan develops and suggests the rigourous framework of ‘critical spiritual literacy’ as a concept which powerfully articulates the complex nuances of African spiritual life. Drawing from her own experiences as an African-Canadian of Yoruba descent, Adefarakan presents a case that is powerful and enriching. Indeed, this book is a well-researched contribution to African-centred feminist pedagogy: It will reshape our thinking about culture, race and indigeneity, and what this means for teaching practice that is both critical and spiritual.”

-George J. Sefa Dei, PhD – Professor of Social Justice Education & Director, Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies OISE, University of Toronto & 2015 Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow.

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