The Afterlife Is Where We Come from

By Alma Gottlieb,

Book cover of The Afterlife Is Where We Come from: The Culture of Infancy in West Africa

Book description

When a new baby arrives among the Beng people of West Africa, they see it not as being born, but as being reincarnated after a rich life in a previous world. Far from being a tabula rasa, a Beng infant is thought to begin its life filled with spiritual knowledge.…

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Afterlife Is Where We Come from as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is the only ethnography of infants, the Beng of Ivory Coast, West Africa. Gottlieb does a masterful job of explaining what is “normal” for the Beng and how very different their attitudes about parenting and babies are from Western Culture, and why the Beng believe their parenting ways are better. Gottlieb’s telling of the Beng baby story, like her writing, is engaging and life-changing.

From Meredith's list on the anthropology of parenting.

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