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CHS guest lecture - OLUWABUNMI BERNARD (NIAS): 'Ẹní bá da Ilẹ̀, a bá Ilẹ̀ lọ: Intersectionality of Taboos and the Yorùbá Environmental Sustainability Practices'

When:We 15-11-2023 15:00 - 16:30
Where:Room 1315.0048, Harmonie building

Taboos have been described as a series of indigenous laws that guide the ethics of a people within a particular social context. Hence, taboos have been defined, classified, and discussed mostly as individual laws, as standalone social rules whose infringement results in an automatic penalty (Steiner 1956, Berger, 1967, Eliade 1987, Adler and Fardon 1999). None of these works, however, discussed how seemingly unrelated structures within society intersect to create and enforce a taboo.

Therefore, this study seeks to examine the concept of the intersectionality of taboos, a concept that was conceived from the term intersectionality, to explain how the Yorùbá (of Southwest Nigeria) use layers of indigenous practices to mitigate environmental degradation. This study is both conceptual and empirical in its approach to engaging how Yorùbá indigenous practices create additional layers of social and religious morality in taboos. This is with a view to discouraging violations and rewarding compliance while promoting environmental sustainability. To achieve what I set out to do, I will engage Yorùbá taboos sourced from the Yorùbá oral literature, belief systems, religion, worldview, culture, and traditions that contain nuances that would be explored to explicate how the interconnectedness of Yorùbá beliefs reinforce ecological integrity. The study hopes to demonstrate the inherent capacity of indigenous knowledge such as that of the Yorùbá in contributing to the global clamor for environmental protection and sustainability.

Oluwabunmi Bernard is a research fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS).

Moderator: Iva Pesa