Termites, mud daubers and their earths: a multispecies approach to fertility and power in West Africa

Fairhead, James R (2017) Termites, mud daubers and their earths: a multispecies approach to fertility and power in West Africa. Conservation and Society, 14 (4). pp. 359-367. ISSN 0972-4923

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Download (483kB)
[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial ShareAlike.

Download (536kB)

Abstract

The termites and mud-dauber wasps of West Africa build earthen structures in which their eggs and larvae develop. This paper examines how these insect earths are understood and used in West Africa, focusing on their direct consumption (geophagy) and medicinal qualities. Existing research reveals these earths to be enriched in minerals otherwise lacking in the diets of the region, and suggests that insects may also introduce anti-microbial properties into them. The paper examines the place of these earths in the lives of those who use them and through a 'multispecies' approach provides new insights into the ecological dimensions to 'religious' thought and practice, and of the respect that these insects command.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Termites, Wasps, Geophagy, Anti-microbials, Earth, Human-animal relations, West Africa, Health
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2016 15:08
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2017 18:32
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/63720

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update