Embodying Honor: Fertility, Foreignness, and Regeneration in Eastern Sudan

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Embodying Honor: Fertility, Foreignness, and Regeneration in Eastern Sudan Powered By Docstoc
					204 African Studies Review

belonging and new articulations of race, gender, class, and sexuality in rela-
tion to living with HIV/AIDS.
                                                                 William J. Spurlin
                                                               University of Sussex
                                                                    Brighton, U.K.



Amal Hassan Fadlalla. Embodying Honor: Fertility, Foreignness, and Regener-
ation in Eastern Sudan. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2007. Women
in Africa and the Diaspora series. xiv + 210 pp. Photographs. Bibliography. Index.
$55.00. Cloth.

This book is based on fieldwork among settled Hadendowa women in a
shantytown of Sinkat, an urban center in Eastern Sudan. It focuses on how
the women of this study view and develop strategies for their reproductive
health and fertility, as well as the challenges of child-rearing. The author is
especially interested in how these women conceptualize dangers to their
bodies, reproductive health, and offspring and what they do to avert such
dangers or reverse their harmful impact. To these Hadendowa women, she
argues, what is external and foreign represents potential harm and illness,
while the proximate and familiar protects and heals. More specifically,
physical mobility away from the domestic and familiar, contact with strang-
ers, and consumption of foreign commodities can bring on the evil eye,
immoral spirits, and mysterious diseases that jeopardize fertility and child-
survival. However, when a “foreign” influence causes harm—for example, if
a child dies as a result of a “foreign” influence—women can take recourse
to a ritual of reversal called halafa, through which the active ritual embrace
of the foreign (giving a newborn a foreign name, for example) may offer
protection. Thus a central theme of this study is women’s health-seeking
behavior—in the form of averting, containing, or curing spirit possession
and affliction by the evil eye, as well 
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: [...] a central theme of this study is women's health-seeking behavior-in the form of averting, containing, or curing spirit possession and affliction by the evil eye, as well as, to a lesser extent, herbal remedies.
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