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Plundered Kitchens, Empty Wombs Threatened Reproduction and Identity in the Cameroon Grassfields

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ISBN-10: 0472109898

ISBN-13: 9780472109890

Edition: 1999

Authors: Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

List price: $85.00
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Plundered Kitchens, Empty Wombs examines the symbolic language of food, fertility, and infertility in a small, mountainous African kingdom to explore more general notions of gender, modernity, and cultural identity. In the Cameroon grassfields, an area of high fertility, women hold a paradoxical fear of infertility. By combining symbolic, political-economic, and historical analyses, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg traces the way reproductive threat is invoked in struggles over gender and ethnic identities. Women's fears of reproductive disorders, she finds, are an important mode of expression for their worries about much larger issues, such as rural poverty, brought about or exacerbated by political and economic changes in this century. A lively case study of an infertile queen who flees the palace sets the stage for discussions of the ethnographic and historical setting, the symbolism of fertility and infertility, and the development and interaction of cosmopolitan and ethno-gynecologies. The book concludes with an analysis of the links between women's role in human reproduction and the divine king's role in social reproduction, both occurring in the rapidly changing context of a multiethnic African nation. Plundered Kitchens, Empty Wombs underscores the relevance of medical anthropology to other anthropological specializations, as well as to epidemiologists, population specialists, and development planners. It should reach a broad audience in medical anthropology, public health, and women's studies. Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Carleton College.
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Book details

List price: $85.00
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 6/3/1999
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 280
Size: 6.75" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

List of Illustrations
Pronunciation Guide
Cast of Characters
Introduction: Fertility and the Politics of Identity in Cameroon
The Short-lived Marriage of a King's Wife: Paulette's "Plugged Fertility" and Blocked Mobility
Being Bangangte: Social Organization and Identity
Cooking Inside: The Symbolic Construction of Gender, Marriage, and Fertility
The Kitchen Plundered: Fear of Infertility
Seeking Remedies: Medical Pluralism and the Distribution of Fear
"Then We Were Many": The Search for Vitality in a Changing Context
Kings of Bangangte