The Afterlife Is Where We Come From: The Culture of Infancy in West Africa

 
Images from
The Afterlife Is Where We Come From
The Culture of Infancy in West Africa
by Alma Gottlieb
 

 

These are color versions of forty-nine black-and-white illustrations printed in The Afterlife Is Where We Come From. Click on the thumbnails below to open a larger version of the image. Each image will open a new window.

Photographs 1, 6, 8, 9, 37, and 56 are by Philip Graham; all other photographs are by Alma Gottlieb.

See also an excerpt from the book and videos to accompany the book.

 

1. Nathaniel joining in village life
1. Nathaniel joining in village life
3. Young children walking across the village to buy fried snacks
3. Young children walking across the village to buy fried snacks
4. Nathaniel playing with baby Sassandra
4. Nathaniel playing with baby Sassandra
5. Kouakou Bah with toddler daughter
5. Kouakou Bah with toddler daughter
6. Research team from summer 1993
6. Research team from summer 1993
7. Dieudonné observing three babies playing
7. Dieudonné observing three babies playing
8. Dieudonné carrying baby daughter, Hallelujah, on his back
8. Dieudonné carrying baby daughter, Hallelujah, on his back
9. Alma holding a sleeping baby on her lap
9. Alma holding a sleeping baby on her lap
10. A bawling baby and a surprised Sassandra
10. A bawling baby and a surprised Sassandra
11. Dieudonné's wife observing daughter Hallelujah in a turban
11. Dieudonné's wife observing daughter Hallelujah in a turban
12. Meda picking up Nathaniel in a moment of friendship
12. Meda picking up Nathaniel in a moment of friendship
13. Tahan in a tender moment with Sassandra
13. Tahan in a tender moment with Sassandra
14. Toddler pounding food in a mortar
14. Toddler pounding food in a mortar
15. Young girl carrying yams on her head
15. Young girl carrying yams on her head
16. Newborn wearing a necklace and knee band
16. Newborn wearing a necklace and knee band
17. Sunu wearing cowry shell and Sunu bracelets
17. Sunu wearing cowry shell and "Sunu" bracelets
19. Tahan bending down to crush medicinal leaves
19. Tahan bending down to crush medicinal leaves
20. Baby René with forehead painted
20. Baby René with forehead painted
21. Baby wearing kola paint on fontanel
21. Baby wearing kola "paint" on fontanel
22. Sunu wearing abundant jewelry
22. Sunu wearing abundant jewelry
23. Baby wearing a dew necklace
23. Baby wearing a "dew" necklace
25. Baby Kouakou wearing jewelry
25. Baby Kouakou wearing jewelry
27. Baby boy wearing eyebrow pencil and eyeliner
27. Baby boy wearing eyebrow pencil and eyeliner
28. Mauricey after a long bath routine
28. Mauricey after a long bath routine
29. Boy chosen to baby-sit Sassandra in the fields
29. Boy chosen to baby-sit Sassandra in the fields
30. Older girl helping younger girl to wrap baby on her back
30. Older girl helping younger girl to wrap baby on her back
31. Ti, a single woman, baby-sitting
31. Ti, a single woman, baby-sitting
32. Ajua with a cranky baby
32. Ajua with a cranky baby
35. Older brother playing body game with his baby sister
35. Older brother playing body game with his baby sister
37. Eight babies and toddlers who are playmates
37. Eight babies and toddlers who are playmates
38. Meda pulling baby brother, Sassandra, in a cardboard box
38. Meda pulling baby brother, Sassandra, in a cardboard box
39. Baa giving baby grand-nephew Sassandra a bicycle ride
39. Baa giving baby grand-nephew Sassandra a bicycle ride
41. Baby sleeping in a vertical position
41. Baby sleeping in a vertical position
 46. Mother doing laundry while her baby sleeps on her back
46. Mother doing laundry while her baby sleeps on her back
47. Mother pounding corn while her baby sleeps on her back
47. Mother pounding corn while her baby sleeps on her back
48. Sassandra sleeping on grandmother Amenan's back while she carries wood
48. Sassandra sleeping on grandmother Amenan's back while she carries wood
49. Sassandra sitting next to sleeping mother, Tahan
49. Sassandra sitting next to sleeping mother, Tahan
50. Sassandra sleeping on Tahan's back in the courtyard in the evening
50. Sassandra sleeping on Tahan's back in the courtyard in the evening
51. Toddler girl breast-feeding while standing up
51. Toddler girl breast-feeding while standing up
52. Sassandra breast-feeding while his mother has her hair done
52. Sassandra breast-feeding while his mother has her hair done
53. Baby Kouadio dry nursing from nonlactating aunt
53. Baby Kouadio "dry nursing" from nonlactating aunt
54. Baby wearing teething necklace
54. Baby wearing teething necklace
55. Afwe Zi gesturing, Nothing left
55. Afwe Zi gesturing, "Nothing left"
56. Girls and women dancing Crui
56. Girls and women dancing "Crui"
57. Baby wearing a necklace with French coins
57. Baby wearing a necklace with French coins
58. Malnourished child wearing a full cowry bracelet
58. Malnourished child wearing a full cowry bracelet
59. Akissi holding ill son
59. Akissi holding ill son
60. Tupé holding second cousin baby Kouadio, who was born with a herniated testicle
60. Tupé holding second cousin baby Kouadio, who was born with a herniated testicle
61. Meeting of the Beng youth in Abidjan
61. Meeting of the Beng "youth" in Abidjan
     

 

 

Praise for the book:

"Welcome to the Beng world, where toddlers welcome strangers, and parents consult infants and diviners to better accommodate the desires and gifts that very young babies bring from their former lives in the afterworld. This delightful, insightful, and quite provocative book about very small people makes a very large contribution—an anthropology of infancy enables us to rethink nature and culture in new and important ways."—Rayna Rapp, New York University

"The Afterlife Is Where We Come From is some of the finest anthropological work I have ever seen. The book is not just an analysis of Beng babyhood but a complete analysis of life as a Beng. Alma Gottlieb is able to tie together the slippery strands of ritual, ideology, daily practice, and expression to come up with a comprehensible look at Beng life."—Meredith Small, Cornell University

 

 

Alma Gottlieb
The Afterlife Is Where We Come From: The Culture of Infancy in West Africa
©2004, 424 pages, 53 halftones, 2 maps, 2 line drawings, 6 figures
Paper $32.00 ISBN: 0-226-30502-3

For more about the book, including information on purchasing the book from bookstores or here online, please go to the webpage for The Afterlife Is Where We Come From.


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