Dancing Skeltons Essay examples

1183 Words Dec 23rd, 2012 5 Pages
Dancing Skeletons
In the ethnography, “Dancing Skeletons, the author Katherine Dettwyler describes many reasons for her research in Mali. The main focus of her research was too attack the problem of malnourished children and to figure out what diseases they were struggling with. This ethnography detailed Dettwyler’s second trip to Mali, and she wanted to relocate many of the children she had previously measured, as well as add more children to her study. Throughout the ethnography, Dettwyler makes it very clear that the malnutrition of these children is a major problem in Mali. She describes many of the children she measures and the picture she paints in one’s mind is horrifying. One of the many diseases she comes across is Kwashiorkor, or
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First of all Mrs. Dettwyler, why would you ever subject your young daughter, twice, to a place where the malaria and immense amounts of other diseases are widespread and where fully developed healthy adults have died because of it? This is probably the most selfish thing she could have done. She herself explains how many anthropologists have died in areas of Mali from malaria. She provides an example of one American who died, her name was Kay. She died from cerebral malaria, and there were many others in the past just like her who died. Dettwyler experienced this the first time and yet still brought back her daughter, Miranda. I understand that she did this for company but part of being an anthropologist is excepting the fact that at some point you may experience culture shock. This argument was fueled by common sense and also what I learned in class and in the readings. When an anthropologist decides to do fieldwork they are agreeing to deal with many things, one of them being culture shock.
Another topic I would have liked to hear about is the healthy children. The entire ethnography is based on the malnourished children. This is the major issue, but is every child in Mali malnourished? If not then what are the healthy children and parents doing differently to keep from succumbing to the ample diseases. The only time Dettwyler really expresses the healthy…

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