Month: May 2016
Soyinka on Religion
I’m pleased to announce my newly-published article on Wole Soyinka
“‘Shipwreck of Faith: The Religious Vision and Ideas of Wole Soyinka” (Toronto School of Theology, 2016)
“This article investigates the religious vision and ideas of Wole Soyinka in selected non-fiction writings. While African spirituality is deployed as a literary trope in Soyinka’s creative works and dramatic masterpieces such as Death and the King’s Horseman and A Dance of the Forests, scholars have given scarce attention to his engagement with religion in his non-fiction productions. To highlight that engagement, first, this article proposes the notions of radical skepticism and religious inclusivism as symbolic markers to describe Soyinka’s perspective on religion and his shipwreck of faith. His witness of religious violence and fanaticism in his home country of Nigeria and the host countries outside of his native land had shaped his religious experience and altered his religious vision. To call Wole Soyinka a radical agnostic and religious inclusivist in the humanist tradition is to confront the uneasiness and ambivalence of religion that had marked both his adolescent and adult life. Second, it argues that Soyinka’s abandonment of his Anglican faith, the “imported religion” of his childhood and Nigerian parents, was a consequence of his re-evaluation of the merits and liberalism of his ancestral faith: the Yoruba religious tradition and spirituality. Third, it contends that Soyinka rejected the Christian faith because of a theological crisis he encountered both as a teenager in Ake (his hometown) and as a student at the University College in Ibadan. The article resituates Soyinka’s religious sensibility not in the tradition of the Abrahamic religions but within the religious world view and cultural framework of African indigenous faiths and spirituality. Finally, it presents Wole Soyinka as a religious critic and radical theistic humanist.”
Keywords:Yoruba religion, religious fanaticism, religious inclusivism, African humanism, African spirituality
Let’s Talk about Port-au-Prince’s Gun Culture Problem!
Port-au-Prince (Note: I said Port-au-Prince not Haiti) has a serious gun culture problem similar to the gun crisis in Southside of Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisiana, Philadelphia, Miami, New York City, Memphis, Oakland, Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, etc.However, this culture of violence in Haiti’s capital city is linked to the country’s high level of unemployment, the country’s backward political process, and the disregard for law and order. The gangstarization of the country’s Police forces just like in the United States also contributes to this predicament.
Interestingly, many gangsta politicians and the gangsta bourgeois-elite minority in the country make a grand economic profit out of the non-regulating gun ownership and the kidnapping activity in the capital city. What makes it worst is that many Haitian public intellectuals and cultural critics remain silent about this pivotal issue. An Ayiti tout moun se chef!
If we are serious about radically transforming our civil and political societies, we need to be engaging in critical self-reflection and bring to surface (in meaningful conversations) our internal forces and Haitian-made woes that are destroying us and deferring future emanticipating possibilities.
3 cautionary statements for and about PhD holders:
3 cautionary statements about PhD holders:
1. A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in any academic discipline does not make one a scholar.
2. A PhD does not give one authority to write on a non-specialized field or non-specialized discipline of study or even for any individual (the PhD holder) to pretend that he/she is a specialist and an expert in every academic field of learning.
3. A PhD does not make one a thinker or wiser.