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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
“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).