Since recording its first AIDS cases in 1983, Tanzania has reported nearly 90,000 more to the World Health Organization—more than any other country in Africa. As AIDS spread, the devastating syndrome came to be known simply as ugonjwa huo: "that disease."
The AIDS epidemic has forced Africans to reflect upon the meaning of traditional ideas and practices related to sexuality and fertility, and upon modernity and biomedicine. In A Plague of Paradoxes, anthropologist Philip Setel observes Tanzania's Chagga people and their attempts to cope with and understand AIDS—the latest in a series of crises over which they feel they have little, if any, control.
Timely and well-researched, A Plague of Paradoxes is an extended case study of the most serious epidemic of the twentieth century and the cultural circumstances out of which it emerged. It is a unique book that brings together anthropology, demography, and epidemiology to explain how a particular community in Africa experiences AIDS.
Setel (research associate at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne School of Medicine) observed Tanzania's Chagga people and their attempts to cope with and understand AIDS. Here he offers an extended case study of this epidemic and the cultural circumstances out of which it emerged. Drawing from anthropology, demography, and epidemiology, Setel explains how a particular African community experiences AIDS, and how it has been forced to reflect on its traditional ideas and practices concerning sexuality and fertility. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)