Watson Institute at Brown University
Africa Initiative

Victor Alabi — The Semiotics of Yoruba Clothing

Thursday, March 2, 2023

4:00pm – 5:30pm

Leung Conference Room, Stephen Robert '62 Hall, 280 Brook Street

Reception to follow.

Victor Alabi will discuss the forms and functions of clothing in Yoruba culture. Alabi considers situational contexts of clothing such as palaces, festivals, and ceremonies, and the roles of clothing in such contexts. Moreover, Alabi examines how the Yoruba people communicate through clothing and how clothing performs iconic, symbolic, and indexical functions. In addition, prints on clothing perform various acts such as advising individuals. These issues are explored in the presentation. For instance, the form of dressing could give information about an individual such as the age group, marital status, or even the current emotional state of an individual. Using Yoruba film excerpts, Alabi shows various examples of how communication is made with Yoruba clothing.

Africa Initiative

Victor Temitope Alabi joined Brown University in the fall of 2022. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, an M.A. in English (Language) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics with a concentration in African Languages from Indiana University Bloomington. Dr. Alabi was a Fulbright FLTA in the African Studies Program at Indiana University between 2014 and 2015. Before coming to Brown University, Dr. Alabi taught at Indiana University for 7 years, teaching Yoruba to undergraduate and graduate students at all levels. Currently, Dr. Alabi teaches at the Center for Language Studies, Department of World Languages and Cultures at Brown University. Dr. Alabi has published over ten research papers in peer-reviewed journals and books. His papers have appeared in Marang: Journal of Language and Literature, Yoruba Studies Review, and Issues in Intercultural Communication among others.