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1. Ethnic Diversity and Integration
2. Where techno-science meets poverty:
3. Our Grandmothers' Drums: A Portrait
4. Gambian Culture: Griot, Talking

1. Ethnic Diversity and Integration in The Gambia: The Land, ThePeople and The Culture
by Godfrey Mwakikagile
Paperback: 278 Pages (2010-06-08)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$19.95
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Asin: 9987932223
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Product Description
This work is a comprehensive look at The Gambia as a country and as a nation. Subjects covered include a general history of the country, its geography - regions and towns - and its people. It's also a profile of the country's demographic composition.The author looks at the different ethnic groups and their cultures and how they have been able to achieve unity in diversity in one of the most peaceful countries on the African continent.The work is also a study in regional integration with a focus on the Senegambia confederation. The author draws parallels between the short-lived Senegambia confederation and the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar shedding some light on some of the problems African countries face in their quest for unity.The collapse of the Senegambia confederation is in sharp contrast with the unity The Gambia has achieved within as nation. One of Gambia's most outstanding features is ethnic and cultural integration in spite of the cultural and historical differences among the country's different ethnic groups.People going to The Gambia for the first time may find this work to be useful. It's not a tourist guide butan introductory work covering a wide range of subjects on Africa's smallest country. Members of the general public who want to learn about The Gambia will also find this work to be helpful.The author has also taken a scholarly approach on a number of subjects using well-documented sources in an analytical context and has provided useful insights into the complexities of the country across the spectrum, addressing a wide range of subjects including ethnicity, cultural fusion, and national integration.He also contends that understanding ethnicity as a phenomenon and as an analytical tool and a conceptual framework is critical to any study of African countries most of which are multi-ethnic societies; and that the spatial theory of ethnicity is not applicable in all contexts including Gambia where the opposite - of what the theory says - is true. The work may therefore be useful to students and scholars who are interested in The Gambia.But it should be seen as a general work on The Gambia in spite of the academic approach the author has taken in his analysis of anumber of subjects on this country which is also known as a gateway to West Africa. ... Read more

2. Where techno-science meets poverty: Medical research and the economy of blood in The Gambia, West Africa [An article from: Social Science & Medicine]
by J. Fairhead, M. Leach, M. Small
Digital: 11 Pages (2006-08-01)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
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Asin: B000P6NX2Q
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This digital document is a journal article from Social Science & Medicine, published by Elsevier in 2006. The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Media Library immediately after purchase. You can view it with any web browser.

This paper considers how internationally supported medical research is understood and interpreted by its actual and potential study subjects, exposing the limits to bioethical discourses amidst economic inequalities and contrasting socio-cultural worlds. It focuses on the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratories in The Gambia and particularly their Pneumococcal Vaccine Trial (PVT) that was conducted jointly with the Gambian government during 2001-2004. In many respects this was an exemplar of international best practice in trial communication and informed consent procedures. Yet ethnographic and survey research finds that Gambian parents' perspectives on participation are shaped not by trial specificities, but by broader, historically shaped views and experiences of the MRC as an institution. There is a pervasive view that the MRC offers good, free medication to participants, but that it also 'steals blood'. Widespread concerns with blood-stealing emerge from local frames of understanding in which blood is treated as a tradeable good, in which blood accumulation and depletion in bodily processes relates to its exchange in hospital and medical research practices, and in which transactions can be more or less (un)reasonable. Yet such thinking, rooted in an 'economy of blood', has been overlooked by medical research staff and indeed by historians and anthropologists of Africa whose analyses of blood-stealing have been overly transfixed on rumour and the occult. This paper argues that such cultural framings, which guide local critical commentary on trans-national research orders, require serious attention and need to inform open dialogues between scientists and the public if medical research in resource-poor settings is to continue to be sustainable and politically legitimate. ... Read more

3. Our Grandmothers' Drums: A Portrait of Rural African Life & Culture
by Mark Hudson
Paperback: 322 Pages (1991-04)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
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Asin: 0805016201
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars fascinating and funny
If you ever go to Gambia, this is the book to get, together of course with the ubiquitous Lonely Planet.Hudson, a young adventurer, spent 14 months in a Mandingko village, observing and commenting on the daily life. Amazingly, he was allowed to join one of the women's societies... so he followed them around, participated in their dances, field work and intrigues and documented this stuff in OGD. Hudson shows that African women are, although destined to a life of hard work, circumcission & mostly unhappy arranged marriages, far from helpless creatures. They are economically independent, they are free to choose their lovers, they sing and they dance:

"It was in the early hours of the morning before the dancing began in earnest, the figures of the women glowing as though golden in the light of the hurricane-lamp, as they came running towards the drummers, spinning around only at the last moment to dance. This was what they liked more than anything elese - the extremity of this total bodily exertion, this fervent, almost ecstatic unleashment of energy, in which every muscle, every last atom of their energy would be used. It was as though the rhythms of the drums..[...]... were touching something actually inside the women themselves, to which their frenetic shaking was an involuntary, though wholly pleasurable response. They called it dia - sweetness."

"Hear the sound of these drums!
Our own drums!
Here the sound of these drums!
Our grandmothers' drums!"

Hudson shows that African life can be strange beyond our imagining.The pragmatic and relaxed attitudes towards the body and sexual activity; the separatedness of women and men, who get together pretty much just for sex; the ancient initiation formulas and rites, the pragmatic interpretation of the Muslim religion mixed with animism and, above all, the aliveness of these people get through in this book really well. These Mandingko use their bodies for pleasure in a way which makes Westerners look like hollow emaciated specters lost in our greedy little calculating minds. There is much fun in African lives and much sadness - sadness that we have forgotten about.

We need to learn from Africans about how to inhabit our bodies and about how to live in the present moment and this book gives us first hand information on these topics.Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars OUR GRANDMOTHERS'DRUMS
This travel book does not move from the village of Dulaba in the Gambia but it uncovers a truly fascinating web of social life,customs,intrigue,obligation, initiation, sex and much more - it takes you to the heart of Africa .AMUST for anyone heading for the 'dark continent'. ... Read more

4. Gambian Culture: Griot, Talking Drum, Papa Susso, Public Holidays in the Gambia
Paperback: 24 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$14.14 -- used & new: US$14.13
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Asin: 1157247296
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Chapters: Griot, Talking Drum, Papa Susso, Public Holidays in the Gambia. Source: Wikipedia. Pages: 23. Not illustrated. Free updates online. Purchase includes a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Excerpt: A griot (English pronunciation: , French pronunciation: , with a silent t) or jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is a West African poet, praise singer, and wandering musician, considered a repository of oral tradition. As such, they are sometimes also called bards. According to Paul Oliver in his book Savannah Syncopators, "Though has to know many traditional songs without error, he must also have the ability to extemporize on current events, chance incidents and the passing scene. His wit can be devastating and his knowledge of local history formidable." Although they are popularly known as 'praise singers', griots may also use their vocal expertise for gossip, satire, or political comment. Griots today live in many parts of West Africa, including Mali, the Gambia, Guinea, Western Sahara and Senegal, and are present among the Mande peoples (Mandinka, Malinké, Bambara, etc.), Fule (Fula), Hausa, Songhai, Tukulóor, Wolof, Serer, Mossi, Dagomba, Mauritanian Arabs and many other smaller groups. The word may derive from the French transliteration "guiriot" of the Portuguese word "criado," which in turn means "servant." In African languages, griots are referred to by a number of names: jeli in northern Mande areas, jali in southern Mande areas, guewel in Wolof, gawlo in Pulaar (Fula), and igiiw (or igawen) in Hassaniyya Arabic. Griots form an endogamous caste, meaning that most of them only marry fellow griots and that those who are not griots do not normally perform the same functions that they perform. The Manding term jeliya (meaning "musicianhood") is sometimes used for the knowledge of griots, indicating the hereditary nature of the c...More: http://booksllc.net/?id=475671 ... Read more

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