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What do Widows Really Want? Lecture with Joanna Davidson

February 17 @ 1:15 pm

Anthropological attention to widows has often provided a corrective to male biases in kinship studies by focusing on the widows “themselves and the quality of their lives” (Potash, ed. 1986. Widows in African Societies). But what if these widows do not consider themselves to be members of this category? This presentation explores “the problem of widows” in a place – rural Guinea-Bissau – where they are many (up to 35% of the households) but they are neither named nor recognized as a social category. I consider how an engagement with widows as women who refuse to be problematized as a category might challenge conventional anthropological approaches to gender and to the ethnographic enterprise more broadly. Assistant Professor Joanna Davidson is the author of Sacred Rice: An Ethnography of Identity, Environment, and Development in Rural West Africa.

Lunch is provided for those who sign up with Corky White by February 14th.


February 17
1:15 pm
Event Category:


African Studies Center, William O. Brown Seminar Room, Room 505
232 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215 United States
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