A Scriptural Economy: Magics, Meanings, and Massages of Lagos (Abstract)

Definitions of “scripture” fetishize and sacralize the phenomenon. “scripture” is treated as sacred (texts to be revered), and most assuredly, written with a capitalized initial, “S”. But “scripture”, beyond its axial hegemonic characterizations, is forged through human relationships. Using comparative methodological approaches found in the writings of Wilfred Cantwell Smith (What Is Scripture?) and Vincent Wimbush (White Men’s Magic), this paper examines scriptural imaginaries in the ideation of Lagos as a city, a heavily-freighted terminology, as a modern invention.

As a signifier within Africa’s postmodernities Lagos embodies the consistencies and contradictions of “scripture”, namely opportunities for formations\ re-formations\ deformations\deform-(n)ations within pre- and postcolonial ambiguities, as windows unto understanding human complexities, or what it means to be human. Thus, while scriptures are not always about sacred writings, the British annexation of Lagos as its prized possession via the fiat of scriptural logics shows, as Wimbush argues, that “texts and literacy mark where power is in the world.” Yet, scriptures are not about texts per se; rather, performances of scriptures (signifying and scripturalizing practices) reveal that “individuals are the vehicles of power.”

In this paper references to (emergent historical) sites of scriptural formations establish the transmutability and translocality of scriptures. By citing the preponderance of religious presences within her, Lagos assumes the reiterations of the indwelling magics, meanderings, meanings, and massages of Henry Louis Gates’ significations or Wimbush’s scripturalization.

Finally, processes of nativization and normalization appear to transfer from the early empire dealers to new localized institution builders of society that would not spoil.

Terms: scripture, scripturalization, postcolonial, signifying, power relations

Dr. David Olali presented this paper during the 61st Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association held in Atlanta, GA (November 29-December 1, 2018).
The theme of the events was Energies: Power, Creativity and Afro-Futures.

Want more details about this presentation, contact Dr. David Olali: david.olali@cgu.edu.

III-P-2 The Crossroads of Spiritualities: New and Old Religions of Lagos in Transition (Lagos Studies Association)

Chair: Babatunde Babalola, University of Cambridge

Scriptural Economy: Magics, Meanings, and Massages of Lagos, by David Olali, Claremont Graduate University

Ecclesiastical Polity, Christian Nationalism, and Religious Freedom in West Africa, 1880-1884, by Adrian M. Deese, University of Cambridge

Muhammad Jumat Adesina and the Yoruba Madhist Movement in Lagos and Ijebu, by Oliver Coates, University of Cambridge

Discussant: Adedamola Osinulu, New York University

Comparative Study of the Ruins and La Fortuna Estates: A Glimpse of 21st Century Heritage Mansion Restoration and Preservation–written By Estelita Valdeavilla-Llanita

The Ruins is a local attraction in the city of Talisay. It has achieved prominence because of its romantic grandeur and restorative development effort. The romantic ambience is a reflection of a deep-seated history of its construction in the 1920s when a sugar baron poured in his riches in building what was known as the “living Taj Mahal” of the Philippines.

The original edifice is an 11-room mansion built by the rich baron for his wife who died after giving birth to their 11thchildren. On the other hand, The Hacienda La Fortuna is not just an emblem but an iconic display of corporate success in San Carlos City. The heritage mansions were witnesses to the affluent lifestyle of the colonial elite family that lived the fastidious opulence of the rich and powerful. Both situated in Negros Islands, Philippines, these heritage sites withstood time and has become an index that reflected the condition of the past.

The paper talks about the anthropology behind the economics of both structures and analyzes the diverse nature of the two while combining the focus of their reconstructive vision. The comparative study approach made use of their common origin.

This comparative study reveals the stories behind each framed wall and convalescent dig of magnanimity. Significant personalities behind the effort of reconstruction and restoration were accessed as resource persons that shed light into the mysterious public posturing of these structures. The social components of the structures were examined through the people that lives around the community and those who owned the properties. The trails of information were viewed from various lenses of identification. The practical essence of the paper rests on its holistic purview about restoration and preservation of heritages sites.

At the end it hopes to promote meaningful reflection among individuals and communities on the set parameter of reconstruction, preservation, ownership, and mobilization of heritage an economic venture from the standpoint of society culture and politics. Recommendations were anchored on the fitted role of stakeholder s and major players. The paper addresses the historical dynamics of heritage preservation from the pundit in the field. Two lessons are expected to be taught by the diverse approaches used in the two heritage sites.