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Of Life and Health: The Language of Art and Religion in an African Medical System

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Of Life and Health

The Language of Art and Religion in an African Medical System

Alexis Bekyane Tengan

252 pages, 18 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-101-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (December 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78920-102-4 eBook

View CartYour country: United States - edit   Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub format Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is an extremely interesting and very unusual book. It is an anthropological study of Dagara cosmology written from within…The importance of Of Life and Health is unquestionable. It will be of great interest for Africanist scholars and medical anthropologists, and I am sure it will serve as an extremely important documentation of Dagara knowledge, not least for the Dagara people themselves.” • JRAI

“The work is both unique and compelling since it is written by someone who is deeply rooted from birth in the Dagara culture rather than a researcher in transit, someone who is keen and able to present to an international scholarly audience the truth about his own epistemic heritage… a very interesting book. Even a hurried reading  provides access to uniquely revealing information and perspectives in every chapter, which experts in the traditions of African healing and religion will not otherwise be able to source in the academic literature.” • Utafiti: Journal of African Perspectives

“A wonderful book that will prove to be highly significant.” • Roland Littlewood, University College London


An anthropological study of the health system of the Dagara people of northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso, Of Life and Health develops a cultural and epistemological lexicon of Dagara life by examining its religious, ritual, and artistic expressions. Consisting of ethnographic descriptions and analyses of six Dagara cultic institutions, each of which deals with different aspects of sustaining and transmitting life, the volume gives a holistic account of the Dagara knowledge system.

Alexis Bekyane Tengan is an independent scholar in social and cultural anthropology resident in Belgium. He has taught for many years both in Belgium and in his native Ghana, and he now curates a private museum of sacred art and objects with studios in both countries. His publications include the Mythical Narratives in Ritual: Dagara Black Bagr (2006) and Art of Mythical Composition and Narration: Dagara White Bagr (2012).

Subject: Anthropology (General) Anthropology of Religion Medical Anthropology
Area: Africa


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