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Listen, Here is a Story: Ethnographic Life Narratives from Aka and Ngandu Women of the Congo Basin

Overview


Based on author Bonnie L. Hewlett's ten years of field experience in the Central African Republic, Listen, Here Is a Story: Ethnographic Life Narratives from Aka and Ngandu Women of the Congo Basin offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of contemporary African women in their own words.

Rendered here are the experiences of four women who Hewlett depicts in their homes, fields, and the forest. The women vividly recall memories, childhood games, dances, folk tales, songs, and...

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Overview


Based on author Bonnie L. Hewlett's ten years of field experience in the Central African Republic, Listen, Here Is a Story: Ethnographic Life Narratives from Aka and Ngandu Women of the Congo Basin offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of contemporary African women in their own words.

Rendered here are the experiences of four women who Hewlett depicts in their homes, fields, and the forest. The women vividly recall memories, childhood games, dances, folk tales, songs, and drawings from throughout their lives and provide insights and anecdotes from their experiences as children, adolescents, mothers, wives, and providers.

A vital contribution to literature on foraging and farming societies, Listen, Here Is a Story presents a new viewpoint on small-scale communities from a non-Western perspective.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A great book. The personal narratives, cross-cultural comparisons, and life-cycle approach are enjoyable, insightful, and make a valuable contribution to the literature."--Rich Warms, Texas State University

"An important contribution to our understanding of the Aka and Ngandu women that bridges the gap between evolutionary and cultural anthropology."--Paul James, Western Washington University

"Listen, Here Is a Story speaks volumes about women's lives that are not only African, but universal as well. The stories are fabulous and the author's field notes are terrific. This was a labor of love and it shows."--Robert M. Hicks, Ball State University

"Hewlett's colorful and fascinating descriptions and eloquent writing in addition to the beautiful and detailed narrative of Aka and Ngandu women would not let the reader put the book down." --African Studies Quarterly

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Bonnie L. Hewlett has conducted research with several ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa. She is a Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Washington State University, Vancouver and was a Fulbright scholar 2010-2011 at Hawassa University, Ethiopia.

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Table of Contents

Each chapter ends with "Notes from the Field" and "Questions for Reflection."
Preface
Acknowledgements
Map of Central African Republic
INTRODUCTION: WOMEN'S LIVES AT THE CROSSROADS
Into the Field
Anthropological Methods: Collecting the Data
The Women
Blondine, a Ngandu Woman
Therese, a Ngandu Woman
Nali, an Aka Woman
Konga, an Aka Woman
CHAPTER ONE. THE FOREST AND VILLAGE WORLDS
Socio-Economic and Historic Context of Central Africa Republic
The Impact of Colonialism on Nambélé, Central African Republic
Overview of the Aka and Ngandu Peoples
The Aka
The Ngandu
The Nature of Relations Between the Aka and Ngandu
In Their Words: Relations Among the Women
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
CHAPTER TWO. CHILDREN OF THE FOREST AND VILLAGE
The Work of Childhood
Ngandu Children
Aka Children
Earliest Memories and Childhood
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
Lessons of Respect and Learning to Share
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
When the Moon Is Full and the Night Is Clear
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Therese's Story
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
Developmental and Cross-Cultural Perspectives
CHAPTER THREE. THE COMPONENTS OF A GOOD LIFE
On Becoming a Woman
Ngandu Adolescents
Aka Adolescents
Menstruation, First Marriage, and Love
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Therese's Marriage Story
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
The Work and Pleasure of Sex
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Nali's Story
Aka Women: Konga
Sex, Love, and Attachment: The Interactive Nature of Culture, Ecology, and Biology
CHAPTER FOUR. THE HARSH AND DELIGHTFUL REALITIES OF MARRIAGE AND MOTHERHOOD
The Work of the Night
Learning to Love and Learning to Mourn: Child Birth and Child Loss
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
The Adaptive Design of Grief
Woodburn's Model
Explaining Diversity and Unity
Ngandu
Aka
CHAPTER FIVE. THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING A WOMAN
Egalitarianism, Hierarchy, and Gendered Relations
Differing Faces of Gendered Realities, or, the Life of a Woman
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
Voices of Pain and Passion
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Blondine's Story
Ngandu Women: Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
Confronting the Challenge: Jealousy, Anger, and Divorce
CHAPTER SIX. GENERATIONS AND GRANDMOTHERS
From Mothers to Grandmothers
Reflections from a Woman's Life
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Louise, friend and (ex)sister-in-law of Blondine's
Gaspard, 58-year-old brother of Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Basil, 50-year-old son of Therese
Chantal, 39-year-old daughter of Therese
Mbengui, 20-year-old grandson of Therese
Vanessa, 24-year-old granddaughter of Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Elaka, daughter of Nali
Kokote, husband of Nali
Aka Women: Konga
Mokandja, son of Konga
Moboubou, daughter of Konga
Lessons from the Grandmothers
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Therese's story
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
Social Continuity and Change: An Intergenerational View
Ngandu Women: Blondine
Ngandu Women: Therese
Aka Women: Nali
Aka Women: Konga
Lives at the Intersection of the Global and Local Worlds
Grandmothers, Kinship, and Health
CHAPTER SEVEN. CONCLUSION: GLOBALIZATION AND FORCES OF CHANGE
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

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