Says modernist theories that older traditions and religions will fade away have been proven wrong by the resilience of culture

Prof. Toyin Falola of the Department of History, University of Texas, U.S., on Monday during a lecture at the 15th Memorial Lecture of late poet and novelist, Joseph Folahan Odunjo, at the  University of Ibadan, faulted claims predicting the death of some cultures over time because of westernisation.

During the lecture titled ‘Atlantic Yoruba and the Expanding Frontiers of Yoruba Culture and Politics’, Falola, however, admitted that changes might occur because of Western influence

He expressed the need to fortify traditions through identity formations and social integration between local and Diaspora movements.

“We have to culturalise ourselves before we can culturalise others, as places that we call ‘home’ have expanded beyond geographical space of South Western Nigeria as in this case,” he said.

“However, modernist theories that older traditions and religions will just fade away have been proven wrong by the resilience of culture and these theories are incorrect. Cultures and ethnicities remain powerful.

“Though changes will come through western influences, which is accepted, but core values will stand strong. Therefore, our vision of modernity as Yoruba must remain expansive, accommodating, receptive to change and progressive.”

He said the Yoruba, at home and abroad, should see themselves as a nation and continue to learn from one another, interacting and sharing ideas to promote development and competition.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Isaac Adewole, commended the impact of the literary works of Chief J.F. Odunjo in the modernisation of Yoruba culture, adding that the university would continue to research into the development of Yoruba language. 

“It is a well known fact in linguistic circles that language varies in space and in time,” he said.

“Let me assure you that UI will continue research to expand the frontiers of knowledge in Yoruba, through enhanced collaboration between scholars at home and abroad.”

J.F. Odunjo Memorial Lectures have been hosted by UI since 1990. The popular author of the Alawiye Yoruba series was awarded the Doctor of Letters by OAU, Ile-Ife in 1976. He died on April 19, 1980.

The memorial lectures have been used as a platform to encourage research in Yoruba studies.

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