Sacred Rice: An Ethnography of Identity, Environment, and Development in Rural West Africa

Paperback | August 28, 2015

byJoanna Davidson

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Sacred Rice explores the cultural intricacies through which Jola farmers in West Africa are responding to their environmental and economic conditions given the centrality of a crop - rice - that is the lynchpin for their economic, social, religious, and political worlds. Based on more than ten years of author Joanna Davidson's ethnographic and historical research on rural Guinea-Bissau, this book looks at the relationship among people, plants, and identity as it explores how a society comes to define itself through the production, consumption, and reverence of rice.It is a narrative profoundly tied to a particular place, but it is also a story of encounters with outsiders who often mediate or meddle in the rice enterprise. Although the focal point is a remote area of West Africa, the book illuminates the more universal nexus of identity, environment, anddevelopment, especially in an era when many people--rural and urban - are confronting environmental changes that challenge their livelihoods and lifestyles.

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From the Publisher

Sacred Rice explores the cultural intricacies through which Jola farmers in West Africa are responding to their environmental and economic conditions given the centrality of a crop - rice - that is the lynchpin for their economic, social, religious, and political worlds. Based on more than ten years of author Joanna Davidson's ethnogra...

Joanna Davidson is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Boston University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:August 28, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199358680

ISBN - 13:9780199358687

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Sacred Rice1. A Rice Complex2. Ampa Badji and Nho Keboral3. "We Work Hard"4. Cultivating Knowledge5. Of Rice and Men6. Transgressive Segregation Revisited7. Jopai, and the Limits of Legibility8. Conclusions: Structural UncertaintyGlossaryNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Sacred Rice is well thought-out and developed. It combines classic issues and themes in anthropology with an exploration of contemporary problems that will endure. Davidson shows the power of compelling story-telling to illustrate analytical abstractions. I would recommend this book to mycolleagues."--Eric Gable, University of Mary Washington