Modern Motherhood in an African Crisis
Combining insights from demography and cultural anthropology, Johnson-Hanks argues that Beti women delay motherhood as part of a broader attempt to assert a modern form of honor only recently made possible by formal education, Catholicism, and economic change. Through itinerant school careers and manipulations of marriage, educated Beti women now manage their status as mothers in order to coordinate major life events in the face of social and economic uncertainty.
Carefully researched and clearly written, Uncertain Honor offers an intimate look at the lives of African women trying to reconcile motherhood with new professional roles in a context of dramatic social change.
“Fusing both anthropological and demographic methods, Jennifer Johnson-Hanks transforms a tremendous field corpus into an outstanding analysis of the triumphs and travails of young women in Southern Cameroon. With its unswerving cultural emphases on concepts of dignity, respectability, and modernity, this book’s seamless integration of demography, history, and philosophy tells a compelling anthropological story about young women who strive for both an education and a respectable marital life in a volatile economy. Uncertain Honor sets a formidable standard in social science writing in ethnography and population in contemporary Africa.”--Caroline H. Bledsoe, author of Contingent Lives: Fertility, Time and Aging in West Africa
2. A Social System in Transformation
3. The Making of Honorable Women
4. School in the Social World
5. Learning Honor in School
6. The Secret Politics of Sex
7. Vital Conjunctures
8. The Horizons of Honor