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Stranger in the Village of the Sick: A Memoir of Cancer, Sorcery, and Healing

Stranger in the Village of the Sick A Memoir of Cancer Sorcery and Healing After than fifty years of good health anthropologist Paul Stoller suddenly found himself diagnosed with lymphoma The only thing transformative than his fear and dread of cancer was the place it ultim

  • Title: Stranger in the Village of the Sick: A Memoir of Cancer, Sorcery, and Healing
  • Author: Paul Stoller
  • ISBN: 9780807072615
  • Page: 362
  • Format: Paperback
  • After than fifty years of good health, anthropologist Paul Stoller suddenly found himself diagnosed with lymphoma The only thing transformative than his fear and dread of cancer was the place it ultimately took him twenty five years back in time to his days as an apprentice to a West African sorcerer, Adamu Jenitongo.Stranger in the Village of the Sick followsAfter than fifty years of good health, anthropologist Paul Stoller suddenly found himself diagnosed with lymphoma The only thing transformative than his fear and dread of cancer was the place it ultimately took him twenty five years back in time to his days as an apprentice to a West African sorcerer, Adamu Jenitongo.Stranger in the Village of the Sick follows Stoller down this unexpected path toward personal discovery, growth, and healing The stories here are about life in the village of the healthy and the village of the sick, and they highlight differences in how illness is culturally perceived In America and the West, illness is war we strive to eradicate it from our bodies and lives In West Africa, however, illness is an ever present companion, and sorcerers learn to master illnesses like cancer through a combination of acceptance, pragmatism, and patience.Stoller provides a view into the ancient practices of sorcery, revealing that as an apprentice he learned to read divining shells, mix potions, and recite incantations But it wasn t until he got cancer that he realized that sorcery embodied a profound meaning, one that every person could use Sorcery is a body of knowledge and practice that enables one to see things clearly and to walk with confidence on the path of fear.

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      Posted by:Paul Stoller
      Published :2019-09-26T18:33:22+00:00

    About "Paul Stoller"

    1. Paul Stoller

      Paul Stoller is an anthropologist and novelist who teaches anthropology at West Chester University He has conducted ethnographic research in the Republic of Niger in West Africa and among West African immigrants in New York City His books, novels and memoirs are attempts to convey the wisdom of African systems of thought He is currently doing research on family life among West African immigrants in New York City and is at work on a new novel, The Sorcerer s Burden and a new work of non fiction, The Business of Social Relations Global Resilience Among West Africans in the World His most recent book, The Power of the Bertween An Anthropological Odyssey was published in December 2008 by The University of Chicago Press Paul has a new website, paulstoller which up and running.

    315 Comments

    1. A nice follow-up to those who read Stoller's "In Sorcery's Shadow," and who are interested in the idea of medical pluralism but are not up for something with a strong academic style.Stoller's writing is clear and interesting. He does a wonderful job of situating the reader in his own experiences and in doing so, helps readers understand how he makes the decisions he makes during treatment, where he finds solace and meaning in his illness, and how past experiences become rethought or recruited to [...]


    2. I didn't really read the whole book--just skimmed and sampled the parts that looked interesting. There is surprisingly little reflection on the connection between Stoller's experiences as a cancer patient and his experiences learning witchcraft in Niger. His conclusions are very simple and could have been reached within many fewer pages. Additionally, the way Stoller tells the story, his recovery was clearly the work of modern medicine, and only supplemented or assisted in some vague way by his [...]


    3. This book was a weird analysis of african sorcery and what's wrong with western medicine. The anthropolgist in me really enjoyed the parts pertaining to the author's experience with Songhai sorcerers. The connections that he made between being sick in America and the Songhai worldview were also super thought provoking even moreso for me at the moment because I was trying to find a doctor who wasn't full of it. I could have done with less of his description of all the medical junk he went through [...]


    4. It's the "sorcery" part of this book that drew me to it - the author is an anthropologist who spent many years in apprenticeship to a Songhay sorcerer. He alternated bits of his life in sorcery - which was fascinating - with narration of his cancer diagnosis and treatment, and showed how the worldview of sorcery gave him another way to understand himself as a cancer patient, along with tools - rituals - to strengthen and protect himself. I thought reading so much about cancer might just make me [...]


    5. Fascinating journey into the experience of sickness, of liminal (on the threshold between sick and ill) states of being, of living through illness, and how it marks you as different from then on. I've spent some time on that threshold, and it's scary, but you can learn much. Illness does open up your perspectives, revealing previously unknown bits of reality. If you're interested in healing, sickness, and sorcery (vaguely shamanistic), check this out.


    6. I really liked this book. I thought that it would be boring, but after the midway point I couldn't put it down. Cancer is something you don't really think about until it happens to a family member or to you and Paul Stoller put that in perspective with the Songhay people and their beliefs on illness in the body. I would recommend this to anyone who has had a life-threatening illness.


    7. I taught this book alone and as a companion to In Sorcery's Shadow and it worked well both times. The students were genuinely moved by reading it, and one even took a copy to her family in Little Rock to help them understand their grandfather's own experience with cancer. A very excellent text and an enjoyable reading experience.



    8. This book deals specifically with cancer and not mental illness, but I connected to the feelings of isolation and questions of identity one faces when dealing with a life changing diagnosis.


    9. Read in a class called Cultural Construction of the Body, this was a very interesting story about a man who has cancer (very healthy, lived in Africa, etc) and uses "sorcery" to help heal himself.


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