Ivor L. Miller


Ivor L. Miller 2003

Photo by Craig Miller, 2003


2010 Book Award

Dr. Ivor Miller is a cultural historian specializing in the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and the Americas. He has conducted research in Cuba since 1991 and in Nigeria and Cameroon since 2004.

He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History & International Studies. University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

He has been a Research Fellow at the African Studies Center, Boston University, since 2006.

His dissertation (1995) focused on the Lukumi-Yoruba initiation systems of Ocha and Ifa (Santería) in Cuban society, the relationship of its practitioners and symbols to the nation's political class, as well as its influences in the USA (See Miller 2000). In collaboration with Professor Wande Abimbola, in 1997 he published a book on the trans-Atlantic reach of Yoruba culture, in Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad and the USA: Ifá Will Mend Our Broken World.

His book Aerosol Kingdom (UP of Mississippi, 2002) documents and interprets the creation of Hip Hop culture in New York City from its beginnings in the late 1960s till the present, focusing on the Afro-Caribbean and African-American contributions resulting from 20th century migrations. Miller's most recent book, Voice of the Leopard (UP of Mississippi, 2009), documents the little known history of the Cuban Abakuá, a mutual-aid institution derived from the Ekpe (leopard) society of the Cross River region of Nigeria and Cameroon. Working with both Ékpè and Abakuá leaders, he has documented the foundation of the society in 19th century Havana, and its adaptaions to Cuban society. Abakuá lore in Cuba has proven useful to Cross River peoples as they reconstruct their own cultural history. In  2001 he helped facilitate the first-ever encounter between the Efik of Nigeria and the related Abakuá of Cuba - an event sponsored by the Efik National Association at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. Since then a series of further encounters were organized, in Michigan (2003), in Calabar (2004), and in Paris (2007).

Miller’s forthcoming monograph treats the Cuban ‘classical’ Bata drums of Ocha and Ifá practice, their 19th century foundations and their recent expansion into popular and sacred music in the Western Hemisphere and globally.

Ivor Miller's collected papers and field recordings are housed in the Special Collections of the Amherst College Library.


Curriculum Vitae

Cuban Research (on AfroCubaWeb)