Ivor Miller

Ivor Miller is a Research Affiliate at the African Studies Center at Boston University, and a non-resident Fellow of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University (2016-2023). A researcher at the Department of History, University of Calabar, Nigeria (2011-2021), he was a Senior Fellow at the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution (2011-2012), and a Fulbright Scholar to Nigeria (2009-2011). Miller studies the cultural history of the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon, and its impact in the Caribbean and the Americas through the trans-Atlantic slave trade. He co-edited 'Calabar on the Cross River: Historical and Cultural Studies' (2017) and co-translated Lydia Cabrera’s Cuban dictionary of Cross River phrases as 'The Sacred Language of the Abakuá' (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2020). He and co-translator Patricia González were awarded two NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations grants from 2016-2022. His book, 'Voice of the Leopard: African Secret Societies and Cuba' (UP of Mississippi 2009/ CBAAC Lagos 2011) was awarded Honorable Mention by the Association for Africanist Anthropology. Based upon fieldwork in Nigeria, Cameroon, Cuba, and the USA, it documents ritual languages and practices that survived the Middle Passage and evolved into a unifying charter for forced migrants into Cuba and their successors. Miller’s research draws upon oral traditions and private manuscripts of specialists in African and Caribbean initiation systems, as well as published literature, official archives, the visual, audio and performed arts, as well as primary observations of ritual practice.

Fellow member
University of Calabar
Expertise on: