Once Upon a Kingdom

Once Upon a Kingdom : Myth, Hegemony, and Identity

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The old West African kingdom of Benin continues to hold a powerful sway on the imagination of many. Today, the communities that once lived in the pale of Benin's power still tell stories that show traces of their ingrained resentment of the kingdom. Using stories he collected from narrators in some of these communities, the west-Niger Igbo of the present Delta State of Nigeria, Okpewho reveals an effort by marginalized peoples to defend themselves and their place in an uneven socio-political landscape. For these communities, in other words, the present mirrors the past in both folklore and political reality. Okpewho goes on to suggest that the political crises facing several countries today may be traced to their failure to create a level playing field for the plural identities within them.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 155.7 x 233.7 x 20.3mm | 447.88g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 5 b&w photos
  • 0253211891
  • 9780253211897

Table of contents

1. A Kingdom and Its Discontents Historical and cultural relations Mythological relations History and the folk imagination 2. The Hunter Who Became an Oba: Heroism and Social History Heroism among the western Igbo OjiuduOs story Hunter, hero, and society Historical claims 3. Male Manque: Divinity, Authority, and the Individual OEhiO and the divine king OkoojiiOs story OChiO and the king in every man The Oba in the story 4. The Old Woman on the Outskirts: Myth, Gender, and Power The tales and their telling The image of Benin The old woman on the outskirts 5. The Singer in the Tale: Two Profiles Some theoretical issues The pauper princess: a modern womanOs story? Odogwu: the singer also writes A mythology of the self 6. Myth, Empire, and Self-Determination Influence of Benin on others Influence of others on Benin Nation, narration, and self-determination Will the subaltern please speak up? Notes Bibliographyshow more

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4 ratings
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