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Funerals in Africa: Explorations of a Social Phenomenon

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Funerals in Africa

Explorations of a Social Phenomenon

Edited by Michael Jindra and Joël Noret
Foreword by Jan Vansina, University of Wisconsin-Madison

244 pages, 20 illus., bibliog, index

ISBN  978-0-85745-205-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (September 2011)

ISBN  978-1-78238-128-0 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (June 2013)

eISBN 978-0-85745-206-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


Thanks to its historical approach, this book is a valuable addition to the already rich ethnographic literature on African funerals.  ·  JRAI

 “Jindra and Noret have assembled an excellent group of researchers to address funerals in contemporary Africa, and the result is a work grounded in ethnographic detail that reinterprets previous critical discourses on funerals and brings a fresh perspective at a time when HIV and AIDS have multiplied funerals in Africa…This book is highly recommended for all who seek a historical yet fresh interpretation of funerals in Africa today.  ·  Religious Studies Review

This collection is of great benefit to scholars and students across a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, development studies, economics, history, religious studies.  ·  Rebekah Lee, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Funerals in Africa is an excellent volume. Based on outstanding original research the collection shows how social and economic changes in Africa are illuminated through the analysis of burials, mortuary rites, mourning and remembrance. In this collection encounters with world religions emerge as the key theme. Death and burial are therefore employed to illuminate classic debates on conversion, reformism and local-global religious tensions. Highly recommended for anthropologists and historians and a major contribution to African studies."  ·  David Pratten, Director, African Studies Centre, Oxford University


Across Africa, funerals and events remembering the dead have become larger and even more numerous over the years. Whereas in the West death is normally a private and family affair, in Africa funerals are often the central life cycle event, unparalleled in cost and importance, for which families harness vast amounts of resources to host lavish events for multitudes of people with ramifications well beyond the event. Though officials may try to regulate them, the popularity of these events often makes such efforts fruitless, and the elites themselves spend tremendously on funerals. This volume brings together scholars who have conducted research on funerary events across sub-Saharan Africa. The contributions offer an in-depth understanding of the broad changes and underlying causes in African societies over the years, such as changes in religious beliefs, social structure, urbanization, and technological changes and health.

Michael Jindra is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and a visiting research scholar in the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame. He has published in journals such as Africa, Sociology of Religion, Anthropological Forum, and Society and has also contributed chapters to a number of books. His current research focuses on the connection between lifestyle diversity, culture, and inequality in the US.

Joël Noret is Assistant Professor of anthropology at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. He has been conducting fieldwork in southern Benin since the beginning of the 2000s. His publications include the co-edited special issue of Gradhiva, Mémoire de l'esclavage au Bénin (with Gaetano Ciarcia, 2008), his monograph, Deuil et funérailles dans le Bénin méridional. Enterrer à tout prix (Brussels, 2010), and Mort et dynamiques sociales au Katanga (with Pierre Petit, Tervuren-Paris, 2011).

Subject: Anthropology of ReligionAnthropology (General)
Area: Africa


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