DANCING SKELETONS BOOK
Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa, 20th Anniversary Edition [ Katherine A. Dettwyler] on In summary, the book has two main advantages. First. Editorial Reviews. Review. "The chapters contain moving stories and precious vignettes on the Highlight, take notes, and search in the book; In this edition, page numbers are just like the physical edition; Length: pages; Format: Print . Dancing Skeletons book. Read 76 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. This personal account by a biocultural anthropologist illuminates.
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Jul 24, With nutritional anthropology at its core, Dancing Skeletons presents informal, engaging, and oftentimes dramatic stories from the field that. Katherine Dettwyler is an anthropologist who's been working and conducting research in Mali for decades, focusing on childhood nutrition. Dancing Skeletons: . With nutritional anthropology at its core, Dancing Skeletons presents informal, engaging, and oftentimes dramatic stories that relate the author's experiences.
Chapter 5 The Grande Marche. Chapter 6 Rural Africa at Last. Chapter 7 Children Snakes and Death. Chapter 11 Turtles All the Way Down. Chapter 12 Dancing Skeletons. Chapter 13 Mother Love and Child Death. Chapter 14 Postscript Further Reading and Sources of Quotes. SelfHelp for a Hungry World. Chapter 9 Poulet Bicyclette.
Had her research been published as just that — research — instead of a story, it would have been more easily to digest. View 2 comments. Nov 29, Sophia rated it it was ok. This book was on my reading list for the Cultural Anthropology course I took this past semester. While "Dancing Skeletons" provided interesting meat for discussion in class, I was decidedly not fond of the book.
Dettwyler starts out her book with lots of complaining and whining, and seems to be begging the reader to have sympathy for her or to pity her. If you manage to get past the first few chapters of this which is difficult, but possible , then it definitely becomes more interesting. It was an This book was on my reading list for the Cultural Anthropology course I took this past semester.
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It was an interesting look into the life in, and the culture of Mali. However, Dettwyler who is supposed to be a professional anthropologist expresses a shocking amount of ethnocentric views and seems to view herself as superior to the people she's serving and studying. Additionally, she has mountains of conversation that is put between quotes, which implies that she has written, word-for-word, precisely what was said.
I am skeptical of this as she never mentions having a recorder with her or transcribing as she talks with the people. Does she take her memories and impressions from the conversation and transcribe them into conversations? I am unconvinced, and took all of what she said with a grain of salt. I really was unimpressed. Two stars because of the excellent discussions that surrounded this book during class time.
View 1 comment. Feb 25, Kyle rated it did not like it. Absolutely terrible I gave it one star for her occasional rants on the benefits of breast-feeding and vaginal as opposed to elective c-section births.
Aside from the utterly rude and patronizing manner in which she describes her "subjects," what I found most troubling was the blatant omission of any mention of the history of french colonialism within Mali as a possible contributing factor to malnourishment. The idea that "the mothers just need to be educated about how to feed their children Absolutely terrible The idea that "the mothers just need to be educated about how to feed their children" is not only complete bullshit, but also recalls the days of anthropology as an outgrowth of the "white man's burden.
Jan 19, Skyler Myers rated it did not like it Recommends it for: No one. Extremely boring, but even worse, it's completely lacking in compassion. The author and her daughter are clearly the most important people in the universe, according to what I got out of the book. Be prepared to read about mentally disabled people getting yelled at and disabled kids getting mean nicknames. Apr 24, Cody Satterfield rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone Interested in Anthropology.
Life and Death in West Africa" is an amazing ethnography that covers many aspects of life in Western Africa. The detailed account of the relationships the author has with everyone from children and their parents to complete strangers in the street provides a very easy read while also giving the reader an excellent and in depth look at the everyday life of the people in this third world country.
Through multiple different methods of information gathering, she is able to touch "Dancing Skeletons: Through multiple different methods of information gathering, she is able to touch the lives of people who suffer from disease and illness. Showcasing the variety of life and lifestyles in the nation of Mali with a concentration on child nutrition and development is the core value of this book. With plenty of emotional drama tied into it, whether it be Kathy's own personal struggles or those of the people she is conducting research on gives this book a sense of intimacy that is lacking in normal ethnography's which only aim to present facts of the research in a boring manner that leaves the reader disliking anthropological studies.
Listening to the Kathy Dettwyler expand her own world view through the accounts of the people she interacted with for nearly a decade made for an extremely interesting book. This book is a must read for anyone interested in Anthropology, Africa, or simply a good book with educational value. Nov 10, Jenna rated it did not like it. I read this book as an assignment for my cultural anthropology class. Some of the students in my class had raved about it,so I was pretty excited to read it.
Well, I ended up hating it. The author did a very poor job of writing this book. Most of the book was Dettwyler whining and complaining. There are a few interesting parts of the story, but I felt overall it was a waste of time. Jan 14, Kimberly rated it it was ok. Mar 14, Cindy Leighton rated it really liked it Shelves: Read this while looking for a fourth ethnography to add to my high school IB Social and Cultural Anthropology class.
It is a quick, engaging read rare among ethnographries that focuses much on the experience of the anthropologist balancing her roles as mother, friend, and anthropologist in Mali where too many children die not only of malnutrition the focus of Dettswyler but also diptheria, neonatal tetanus, and malaria. For all the snarky reviews I read about this book. For star Read this while looking for a fourth ethnography to add to my high school IB Social and Cultural Anthropology class.
ISBN 13: 9781478607588
For starters this fieldwork was done 30 years ago - much has changed. And do you really think Dettswyler - an anthropology professor - doesn't understand ethnocentrism? This feels to me like a very honest reflection of the challenges of doing fieldwork. Only in fairyland are anthropologists no longer humans with preferences and experiences and biases. Recognizing your biases and feelings is key - pretending they aren't there is dishonest.
I think this ethnography would give my students a lot to discuss about ethics, the realities of fieldwork, and most importantly how exactly "we" should go about "helping" others. Yes I agree with the one criticism that I wish she had given us more background about how Mali got into the food situation they are French colonialism.
I can do some of that research on my own she certainly acknowledges it, and acknowledges that the Bambara do not like being millet farmers, that this is not their traditional way of life or traditional subsistence.
I think this book would give my students a great place to start discussing the point of "AID. And to get over the idea that moms who know they are likely to lose several children in their lifetime must have some magical way of getting over it, or not mourning their losses. Of course they mourn, of course it hurts like hell.
I appreciated that Dettwyler isn't afraid to show her mistakes, her ethnocentric reactions, her fear and disgust and worries along with her love.
She is vulnerable and human and pretending like anthropologists have some magical way to be emotionless robots with no personal history or experience is unrealistic. Jan 10, Kate rated it did not like it Shelves: More memoir than ethnography.
I would have preferred more anthropological discussion and more insights from the women of Mali rather than those of the anthropologist herself.
I understand, by nature, it's impossible to truly be an objective observer, but this took that to one extreme. Very personal and subjective account.
Jun 23, Pavlov's Gods rated it did not like it. This book reads more as a diary than an anthropological exploration of a people, and not an interesting diary at all. Jan 13, Sharlene rated it liked it.
I read this book for my Nutritional Anthropology class. It was also sometimes confusing to read as it implies that the reader knows a fair amount about Anthropology or nutrition in other areas of the world. Sep 18, Jeanne Mitchell rated it it was amazing. I was recently reminded of this excellent read, now available in a new edition. Time for me to read again for the sheer love of reading something joyful. By the way, I think our Shelf choices should have a "read again for pleasure".
Feb 13, Monnie rated it really liked it. I read this for a class and was surprised by how much I liked it. I hadn't researched Africa before reading this book and I couldn't put it down.
Dettwyler is able to research these people while keeping her humanity and not becoming desensitized to their hardships. May 05, Aima Syed rated it liked it Shelves: Had to read for my cultural anthropology class. I would recommend it for sure. Jul 15, Robin rated it really liked it Shelves: An interesting anthropological book about life in rural parts of Mali.
Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa
Certainly worth a read. Dec 29, Rick Hribko rated it it was amazing. Read for school, but enjoyed every minute of it. Informative and exciting to read. Sep 23, Rebecca rated it really liked it. Solid book. Read it for an intro to cultural anthro class.
Definitely interesting to read, and I felt like I learned a lot about Malian culture as well. Feb 05, Kate I. Foley rated it really liked it Shelves: Actual rating: It's always nice when you can actually enjoy an assigned book rather than trudging through it just to finish the homework. Though I wasn't a fan of the writing at all it had a nice storytelling quality, I guess, but it read as being super simplistic , the experience the author had were fascinating.
I was especially interested by the reasons why certain cultures did genital mutilation since Actual rating: I was especially interested by the reasons why certain cultures did genital mutilation since the reasons varied even from one town to the next. Jan 31, Elizabeth rated it really liked it. Life and Death in West Africa is a collection of her observations.
Other stories are heartrending. Mali is a country with less-than-adequate medical facilities and education on the best practises for proper healthcare. This leads to higher rates of childhood disease and death. Malaria, for example, can even be drug-resistant. Something Dettwyler finds out first-hand, unfortunately. In the latter case—social services would take the child from the mother immediately.
But in Magnambougou there was an acceptance that some children die from malnutrition and this child would be one of them. The most challenging chapter was probably the one about female circumcision. It follows on from the acceptance in that, when asked about it, people said it was simply the way it has always been.
The boys were all circumcised, as well, so it only seemed right that the girls were, too. After all, if everyone you know. Sep 18, Megan Green rated it really liked it. I found this to be an amazing book and would recommend it. This book is about the events, people and struggles that Katherine Dettwyler experienced during her trip to West Africa. Dettwyler was there doing a study of the people there related to children health in Mali.
She wanted to study the malnutrition of the children and how they can improve. This book was written from the perspective of the author and her personal accounts of what she saw, felt and understood about the culture. As an anthr I found this to be an amazing book and would recommend it. As an anthropologist she has to try not to ethnocentric, just to look at what is going on without judging it or comparing it to her own.
I had to read this book for my anthropology class, at first I did not want to read it but it actually turned into something great. I loved to hear her stories some parts funny others sad. I really enjoyed the end of the story; she saw so much pain and devastation. Though out her trip she talked to many mothers that have lost so many of their children, and sees so many sick children.
Over all I found the book to be a very good story and just opening the eyes of the readers about what is really going on with the children in West Africa. Jul 23, Kurt rated it it was amazing.
I love this book. I first read it around or for a World Food Problems class at Baylor, but I kept my copy because the story was so compelling, and I recently had the chance to reread it strictly for pleasure. The book is a collection of a nutritional anthropologist's observations as she works in Mali, measuring people in a relatively urban community and in some smaller rural villages. She interviews women about feeding practices, infant mortality rates, and reproductive autonomy.
The d I love this book. The details about life in Mali are sobering, and I hope that the childhood nutritional situation has improved since Dettwyler's research trip, and Dettwyler also includes revealing passages about her thoughts about her own life as a wife, mother, and professional.
She allows herself to come across as unlikeable at times, as she vents her frustration upon learning that a village has prepared a special meal for her research team at an inconvenient time, but those moments are balanced with real empathy for the people with whom she works and bonds. I am not a professional anthropologist in any way, so I can't comment on her methods or observations, but as someone who enjoys readings memoirs, I loved this book. May 20, Christiane rated it liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.
To view it, click here. This novel was a great read for info on what is happening in Third World countries and what is being done to help people in those countries. For instance Katherine Dettwyler helped people in Mali by telling them how to eat right so that they wouldn't suffer from malnutrition she also helped get vaccines to people who had diseases which she found in her fecal samples. I learnt a lot from this book like that in their country they circumsise the girls and that they find us weird because we don't cir This novel was a great read for info on what is happening in Third World countries and what is being done to help people in those countries.
I learnt a lot from this book like that in their country they circumsise the girls and that they find us weird because we don't circumsise are girls. I also learned that alot of kids in Mali die from malnutrition if they don't die from diseases. May 29, Niko rated it it was amazing Shelves: It has been several years since I read this non-fiction book, but it remains with me. Dettwyler is an anthropologist describing her experiences among the peoples of Mali, in Western Africa.
It was one of the first books that opened my eyes to nonwestern ideas and practices. A passage about the unquestioning acceptance of an obviously syndromic child stuck out. My feelings about It has been several years since I read this non-fiction book, but it remains with me.Schistosomiasis haematobia in Mali: prevalence rate in school-age children as index of endemicity in the community.
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. This argument largely appeared to fall on the deaf ears of her Malian hosts, but the reader is able to begin understanding a new perspective to the problem of malnutrition when this anecdote is compared with an earlier one in which Dettwyler tries to convince a Malian woman who has a child with kwashiorkor, a protein deficiency, to provide a appropriate food for her daughter to improve her health.
This is where she drives home one of her themes by pointing out that it isn't enough to simply address the medical and hygienic concerns of rural West Africa without actively working to resolve the problem of malnourishment among children. It's Me Blue Gal Humbug!