Cultural Modernity in a Colonized World: The Writings of Cheif Isaac Oluwole Delano
This book is about the intellectual life and times of Chief Isaac Oluwole Delano, a cultural icon who significantly shaped Yoruba Studies. It examines the contributions of Chief Delano through a careful interrogation of his many records, letters, documents and over a dozen publications, spanning from 1937 through to 1973. He covered biographies, history and religion, all under the rubric of what may be referred to as Historical-Anthropology. A prominent author, Chief Delano bequeathed several chronicles of events in Nigeria, and accounts depicting the realities of Nigeria’s period of transition into modernity. Aside from being the first Administrative Secretary of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa, a cultural organization that became a political party in Nigeria, Delano was one of the pioneers of Linguistics Studies in West Africa. His activities in this respect led to the second phase of his publications and collections, which cover areas of language and language usage in Yoruba. Born in 1904, he worked as a clerk in the colonial government before venturing into writing and later becoming a full academic. His career trajectory ensured a robust relationship with many of the leading intellectual communities of the time, both within and outside Africa. His records and publications offer accounts of how Nigeria got to its current decayed state, and gives critical insights into how it could escape the quagmire. This comprehensive book covers his biography; the fabric, texture, and contents of his work; the philosophy that undergirds his writings; and a robust contextualization of how to understand them as well as an epistemological guidance to their significance.
Toyin Falola is a historian of the Yoruba and Nigeria, founder and co-editor of Yoruba Studies Review. He has produced over 160 books, and honored globally —including seven honorary doctorates— for his scholarship and service. He is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor and Frances and Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University Of Texas at Austin.
Great expectations from one suited to and capable of undertaking such a monumental task of (w)riting the omissions of history. There are no surprises here: Toyin Falola leads by example, and this is TF, true to his commitment to ensure the rediscovery/reawakening of the generation once silenced or inconveniently lost. At once the work of an intellectual in its rigor, and a gripping story, lyrical in its telling. A gift to scholars of Yoruba cultural history and for future generations.
Pamela Olubunmi Smith, Emerita Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha
A magnum opus, Cultural Modernity is a colossal contribution to reimaging the history and traditions of a great nation and people, and a deserving tribute to Baajiki Ake (Lord Notable of Ake).
Akinloye Ojo, Director, Africa Studies Institute, University of Georgia, Athens