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Oare’ Dozier-Henry
Technology Rx: Yoruba Ontology and the African Worldview


This paper interrogates the continued reliance on the nomothetic claims of the traditional Eurocentric research criteria which privileges empiricism and applies it (inappropriately in the author’s view) to human behavior. This responds to the call over decades for culturally specific, locally sensitive knowledge production (Adesina,2002). While it is not easy to overcome the epistemic framework of Western scholarship, this paper offers an Africentric critique of the continuing alienation of humans and meaning structures impacted by the deification of scientism and its handmaiden, technology. Relentless emphasis on science and technology consumes academe’s attention and shifts focus away from the important questions of human agency and ontological meaning.

By the late 1960s in the U.S., interest in non-Western, particularly Asian, philosophies by many young Whites hinted at a lack of vitality in Western life and the corrosion of traditional “American” institutions. Amidst an atmosphere encouraging inclusion and exploration of other cultures, the search for and ensuing embrace of “new” spiritual balms for old wounds among the dominant majority did not include Africa. Specifically, the paper examines views absent from Western mainstream philosophical considerations: the African worldview and Yoruba/ traditional Ifa cosmology. Duly noted is the fact “Ifa worship and studies are more welcome and promoted in the worldwide African Diaspora countries than in Yorubaland that is locked into fundamentalisms of the Abrahamic religions (Ogundipe).” Yet the Ifa system has successfully established itself in most places where Africa’s progeny reside and is one of the most rapidly spreading spiritual systems. Consideration is given to what can we learn from African traditional religion, particularly its Yoruba expression, about identity and transcendence. What potential might African cosmology have to repair the ills that plague us all? Ifa cosmology and African traditional religion deserve recognition rather than reclusion from the world’s great spiritual traditions honored for their capacity to empower, restore and heal.

Dr. Oare’ Dozier-Henry is a tenured full professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Human Services at Florida A&M University where she started teaching in the fall of 1991.  The politics and knowledge and issues of critical pedagogy shape her research agenda.  Dr. D-H’s interests trample boundaries generally adhered to by education scholars concerned with “schooling” and include culture and worldview studies.  Academic inquiry energized a Fulbright to study traditional medicine in Francophone Africa, travel to a remote area of Mexico to research a community of Afrodescendants of Seminole maroons and Buffalo soldiers, and Brazil to examine the Carnival tradition.  For Dr.D-H, the most interesting questions emerge from the interrogation of transcendence and the quest for Spirit.  As an adult educator/scholar-activist, Dr. D-H’s concerns are global equity and reframing our relationship with the Sacred, which to use Eliade’s definition is the “structure of consciousness concerned with notions of being, of meaning, and of truth.”  As a Diasporan African, Dr. D-H is committed to the healing restoration of African identity and sensibilities.


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