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AIDS, Sex, and Culture: Global Politics and Survival in Southern Africaby Ida Susser
Synopses & Reviews
AIDS, Sex, and Culture is a revealing examination of the impact the AIDS epidemic in Africa has had on women. Moving from her own story growing up in South Africa, anthropologist Ida Susser, looks at the AIDS epidemic in Africa in terms of its impact on a particularly vulnerable—both biologically and socially—group: women. She touches on global inequalities underpinning the AIDS epidemic, the impact of social conservativism in the US that has caused a reduction in support of certain AIDS prevention programs in favor of abstinence instruction, the logic of Mbeki’s AIDS denial, recurrent stereotypes of the “Dark Continent” and women’s fights for access to the female condom. She brings together broad discussions of global conditions and political and economic shifts with discussion of the experiences of women on the ground in areas ranging from Durban in KwaZulu Natal to rural settlements in Namibia and Botswana. Although Susser discusses the historical, social, and cultural context and the affects of HIV/AIDS and globalization, her focus throughout is on the lives of individuals. The book includes a chapter written by Sibongile Mkhize at the University of KwaZulu Natal who tells the story of her own family’s struggle with AIDS.
Ultimately, Susser argues that, despite the high rates of HIV/AIDS in southern Africa and the widespread problems poor women confront, we can identify what she terms “spaces of hope”--that is, venues in which women are making positive changes to improve their situations. We can, as well, locate community and international movements working successfully toward the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
AIDS, Sex, and Culture is a revealing examination of the impact the AIDS epidemic in Africa has had on women, based on the author’s own extensive ethnographic research.
About the Author
Ida Susser is Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center and adjunct professor of Socio-Medical Sciences at the HIV Center, Columbia University. Her books include Norman Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood, Medical Anthropology in the World System (Oxford University Press, 1982), The Castells Reader on the Cities and Social Theory (Blackwell, 2001), and Cultural Diversity in the United States (Blackwell, 2001). She received an award for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America from the Society for the Anthropology of North America, has served as President of the American Ethnological Society(2005-7), and is a founding member of Athena: Advancing Gender Equity and Human Rights in the Global Response to HIV/AIDS.
Table of Contents
List of Figures.
Preface – Southern Africa: A Personal Geography, History and Politics.
Introduction Global Inequality, Women, and HIV/AIDS.
1. The Culture of Science and the Feminization of AIDS.
2. Imperial Moralities and Grassroots Realities.
3. The Transition to a New South Africa: Hope, Science, and Democracy.
4. Of Nevirapine and African Potatoes: Shifts in Public Discourse.
5. The Difference in Pain: Infected and Affected: By Sibongile Mkhize.
6. Contested Sexualities.
7. Public Spaces of Women’s Autonomy: Health Activism.
8. “Where Are Our Condoms?” – Namibia.
9. Ju/’hoansi Women in the Age of HIV: An Exceptional Case.
10. Changing Times, Changing Strategies: Women Leaders Among the Ju.
11. “The Power of Practical Thinking” – The Role of Organic Intellectuals.
12. Conclusions: Neoliberalism, Gender, and Resistance.
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