Undergraduate Research: Cultural Anthropology 2012/13

Monday, July 1, 2013
Humanities Writ Large

The Department of Cultural Anthropology was awarded funding for both summer mentoring and a year-long thesis writers workshop. Six students completed projects that resulted in Graduation with Distinction:

  • Jessie Narloch: “ ‘Everything That Has a Name Exists’: Navigating Spiritual Quests for Healing and Salvation at the Intersection of Charismatic Christian Prayer Camps and Pentecost Hospital in Accra, Ghana”
  • Brynne Sekerak: "Studying Up: Money, Class and Culture among Financial Aid Students at Duke"
  • Allie Middleton: “Reworking Efficacy: The Social Life of Medicine in Northern Togo”
  • Jewel Llamas: “Finding a Box for the Multicultural: The Power of Language and the Overcoming Strengths of the Multicultural”
  • Sonia Havele: “(De)Localizing Social Neuroscience: Reconstituting the Social Brain within a Social World”
  • Crystan Dowds: “Denouncing White Privilege and Re-examining Marginality: Productions and Consequences of Difference between Travelers and non-Travelers in North Augusta, SC”

Jessie Narloch
Thesis Abstract:

This thesis tells the story of sick Ghanaians who search for remedies in the myriad of spiritual and biomedical healing institutions that saturate Accra, Ghana. Situated at the primary field sites of a Pentecostal Hospital and two major charismatic Christian prayer camps surrounding the city, this piece illuminates how Ghanaian Pentecostals define illness, prioritize healing establishments, and construct their normal illness routines.

Ultimately, the analysis of the thesis stems from proving the primary research question to be flawed: To suggest that somehow religion or spirituality affects the medical decisions of Ghanaians automatically presumes that they are altogether separate schools of thought. Instead, Ghanaian patients suggest spirituality does not simply play a role in medicine; rather, to Ghanaians who frequent Pentecost Hospital or attend charismatic prayer camps, spirituality completely encompasses and defines all Ghanaian healing modalities.