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Cover

Listen, Here is a Story

Ethnographic Life Narratives from Aka and Ngandu Women of the Congo Basin

Bonnie L. Hewlett

Publication Date - May 2012

ISBN: 9780199764235

272 pages
Paperback
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $19.95

An ethnography on the lives of the foraging Aka and the farming Ngandu of the Central African Republic that explores women's roles in contemporary Africa.

Description

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.

About the Author(s)

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.

Reviews

"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

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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