Funlayo E. Wood is a doctoral student in African and African American Studies with a primary field in Religion. Her current research focuses on philosophical, theological and ritual aspects of Ifá-Òrìsà tradition as practiced in Nigeria and in the Americas, and cross-cultural analysis of Yoruba religious concepts and practice – within all of which she privileges Yoruba language as a conduit to understanding. Her broader research interests include African and Diasporic Religions, African/a philosophy and articulations between religion, science, and technology.
Funlayo holds a Bachelor of Arts in the African Diaspora in the Americas from the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique & Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Arts in History from the City College of New York where she was a graduate fellow at the Colin Powell Center for Leadership and Service. Throughout her post-secondary career, she has engaged research on African Indigenous religious systems including research at the University of Legon in Ghana, and at various cultural-historical sites in Nigeria and Egypt. During the summer of 2011, she studied Yoruba language and culture at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria as a part of the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program and during the fall of 2012, she studied Yoruba language at the University of Florida utilizing a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship.
Funlayo is the founding director of the African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association and a former Junior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions (2011-2012) at Harvard Divinity School where she engaged in producing programming for the university and the public around African, African Diasporic and American Indigenous religions. She also she serves on the board of the Orisa Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organizations dedicated to community building and is a trained peace and nonviolence facilitator with Creating a Culture of Peace. She is additionally affiliated with the Harvard Committee on African Studies, the American Academy of Religion, the National Council for Black Studies, and the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora and is a contributor to the popular religion blog State of Formation.
Complementing her academic life, Funlayo is an Òrìsà priestess, writer, public speaker, creator of the positive-thinking webspace www.AseIre.com and of the Orisa-Focal (TM) Guided Meditation Technique. Since her initiations in 2008, Funlayo has been in intensive training with her spiritual guru Awo Chief Oluwole Ifakunle Adetutu, Chief Priest of Ile Omo Ope Shrine in her native New York City.