Prof. Augustine Agwuele, PhD
Areas of interest
- Phonetics: Speech production, coarticulatory processes, and suprasegmentals
- Socio- Cultural Linguistics: Habitual linguistics practices and societal organization
- Peoples and Cultures of Africa: Socio-cultural dynamics in the interaction of language, culture and society
Religionization and Secularization of communicative gestures among Yoruba people
Yoruba people and religions distinguish the initiated (awo) from the naïve (ọ̀gbẹ̀rì), they perceive and classify these initiates as spiritual’ or ‘religious’ on the presumption that they closely interact with the supernatural and thusly they oppose the religious and secular. The ‘religious’ includes (a) individual actors (practitioners), who (b) communicate a religious message). The practitioner and the ‘religious’ must be communicated in clear differentiation from the mundane. A glaring but less explored area in explicating “the processes of social differentiation and practices of conceptual distinction” (Kleine & Wohlrab-Sahr 2020:6) is how both the actor and message are nonverbally communicated. That is, via those significations in personal appearances and material objects conveying religiosity (c\f Berglund 1976), and ‘body talk’ (Agwuele 2015) or’visible bodily actions’ (Kendon, 2004).
Focusing on the Aladura Movement and Deeper Life Bible Church, I investigate (a) how gestural habitus are exploited and deployed to create and differentiate religious sphere and spaces from the secular and examine the reality of the boundary drawn between them (Norris & Inglehart 2004, Casanova 2007). (b) I explore and historicize the “processes of social differentiation and practices of conceptual distinction” by explicating how Yoruba gestural differentiations shape and influence the manner in which the religious and secular divide is contemporarily enacted in the people’s responses to life challenges as they repurpose and deploy gestures to ‘package’ the self as religious\godly, hence, trustworthy, and honest.
Ultimately, my project centralizes and privileges human actor and their visible bodily-actions, a much-overlooked modality of transmission, by exploring their social reality and everyday experiences, and how, in this case, such actively deployed gestures acquire, and distinctively transmit religiosity in contradistinction to secularity, in addition to seeking out the factors that ensure their viability, continuity, and adaptability.
Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Texas State University (USA)
Visiting Professor, Kisii University, Kenya
Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Texas State University
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Texas State University
Lecturer, Center for Africa and African American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology, Texas State University
Instructor, Dept. of Anthropology, Texas State University
Assistant Instructor, Center for Africa and African American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
- Agwuele, Augustine. The Symbolism and Communicative contents of Dreadlocks in Yorubaland. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
Agwuele, Augustine. Body Talk and Cultural Identity in the African World. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2015.
Falola, Toyin, and Augustine Agwuele. Africans and the Politics of Popular Culture. New York, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2009.
Agwuele, Augustine, and Matewos Karo Tafesse. “Fichee- Cambalaalla (ፍቼ ጫንባላላ) of the Sidaama Peoples.” In Handbook of Oral Traditions and Folklore, edited by Akintunde Akinyemi, and Toyin Falola. New York, NY: Palgrave, 2018.
Barasa, Margaret, and Augustine Agwuele. “A repertoire of Bukusu nonverbal communicative system: Some gender differences.” In Handbook of Oral Traditions and Folklore, edited by Akintunde Akinyemi, and Toyin Falola. New York, NY: Palgrave, 2018.
Agwuele, Augustine. “Intensification and Attenuation: Colonial influences on Yoruba Culture.” In Palgrave Handbook of African Colonial and Postcolonial History, edited by Martin Shanguhyia, and Toyin Falola, Toyin, 451-98. New York, NY: Palgrave, 2018.
Agwuele, Augustine. “Introduction: Body Talks, Non-verbal communication in some African Societies and Institutions.” In Body Talk and Cultural Identity in the African World, edited by Augustine Agwuele, 1-13. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2015.
Agwuele, Augustine. “Nonverbal Message: Yoruba view of ‘deviant’ male hairstyles.” In Body Talk and Cultural Identity in the African World, edited by Augustine Agwuele, 162-80. Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2015.
Agwuele, Augustine. “Repertoire of Yoruba hand and facial Gestures.” Gesture 14, no. 1 (2014): 70-96.
Agwuele, Augustine. “From Village Square to Internet Square: Language and Culture at the USA-Africa Dialogue Series.” In Development, Modernism and Modernity in Africa, edited by Augustine Agwuele, 79-107. New York, NY: Routledge, 2012.
Agwuele, Augustine. “Popular Culture of Yoruba Kinship Practices.” In Africans and the Politics of Popular Culture, edited by Toyin Falola, and Augustine Agwuele, 41-63. New York, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2009.
Agwuele, Augustine. “Indexicality of Wọ́n: Yoruba Language and Culture.” Journal of African Cultural Studies 24, no. 2 (2012): 1-13.