Isidore Lobnibe


Isidore Lobnibe is a Professor of Anthropology at Western Oregon University, Monmouth, USA.

MIASA Project: New Funeral Economy and the Politics of Prestige in Northwest Ghana

In Africa funerals have been noted as enabling members of an extended family to come together to reaffirm their membership in the wider family and compete for social prestige. In Northern Ghana, and the Upper-West region in particular, the past few decades have witnessed dramatic changes in funerary and mortuary rites because of changing political economy and other social forces. At MIASA, I will be working on a book project that investigates how the small but growing group of upwardly mobile men and women who live in the cities, away from the ancestral homeland have turned funerals celebrations into arenas for expressing and producing new social statuses. I analyze the history of change and transformation of these ritual occasions, drawing on specific funeral occasions and narrative accounts recorded during many years of ethnographic fieldwork about death and the organization of funerals by the relatives of the deceased. How, for example, do these middle-class men and women go about testifying their personal roles and achievements as well as their middle-class lifestyle and cultural values during funerals of family members and close relatives?

Recent Selected Publications

2022. Imagining Futures: Memory and Belonging in an African Family. Bloomington, Indiana University press (with Carola Lentz).

2019. From the Narrow Pathways of the Black Volta region to Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Navigating a Web of Kinship with Carola Lentz. In: Jan Beek et al (eds.), Zugehörigkeiten Erforschen, Verhandeln, Aufführen im Sinne von Carola Lentz. Köln: Köppe, pp. 23−36.

2018. Jack Goody: Early Fieldwork, and the Passing of an Era of Cambridge Anthropology in Northern Ghana. GhanaStudies, Vol. 21. Pp.3-23.

2018. From artisanal brew to a booming industry: an economic history of pito brewing among northern Ghanaian migrant women in southern Ghana. In Entrepreneurship in Africa: a historical Approach (ed) Moses. E. Ochonu. Bloomington, University of Indiana Press, Pp.113-139

2017. The Northern Ghanaian Immigrant Factor in Brong Electoral Politics and the Politics of Belonging in Brong Ahafo. In Religion, Culture and Integral Human Development in Northern Ghana (ed). Tengan Alexis. Accra. Sub-Saharan Publishers.pp. 62-84.

2016. Drinking Pito: Conviviality, Popular Culture, and Changing Rural Production in the Forest Savanna Interface in Brong Ahafo, Ghana. African Geographical Review Vol 35 (3), Pp. 227-240.

2016. “They Vote Like Their Kindred”: Regional Citizenship, Electoral Politics and Discourses of Belonging in Brong Ahafo. Journal of Asian and African Studies, Vol 52, Pp. 1225-1242.

Senior Individual Fellow, September 2023 - May 2024
Western Oregon University