Rituals for Suspicion, Rituals for Fate

This work in progress is part of my emerging collection of essays titled, "The White Man is My Driver." Details on this effort and the first essay are here. This piece moves further into how culture shapes our our interpersonal concerns. [3,000 words] I must have seemed slightly unhinged. I was in the middle of a …

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Spirit Children and Family Misfortune: The Case of Victor

The following is a second excerpt from my recent book, Spirit Children: Illness, Poverty, and Infanticide in Northern Ghana. Within rural Northern Ghana, the Nankani people describe how disabled or ill children and those whose births coincide with tragic events are spirit children sent from the bush to cause misfortune and destroy the family. Upon identification, …

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The White Man is My Driver

I'm working on a new collection of essays and experimenting with different forms of writing. This post is from my book in progress tentatively titled, “The White Man is My Driver: Fieldnotes on Identity and Belonging.” Readability and narrative will be privileged over theory and abstraction. In other words, the book consists of mostly the …

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What is Cultural Psychodynamics?

I frequently refer to parts of my research and writing as grounded in or working from a "cultural psychodynamic" perspective. What is this? In short, it is a theory and methodology that brings together perspectives from cultural phenomenology and psychoanalysis. It emphasizes the complexity of cultural subjects and examines the ways in which culture and …

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Risk, Hope, and Help-Seeking: The Case of Leah

The following is an excerpt from my recent book, Spirit Children: Illness, Poverty, and Infanticide in Northern Ghana. I present Leah and the challenges that her family had while caring for her. Experience-near, ethnographic accounts provide a much needed "human" and "lived" dimension to the oft-sterile health statistics and stereotypes that are used to inform …

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