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Rosemary Mulvey

Professor Turkon
Cultural Anthropology 04
September 15, 2016
Watch and Pray Reaction Paper

1. Nancy Lundgren describes many examples of globalization in numerous

instances throughout her book, but the one she returns to most out of

them all are the clothing habits of the Fante which consist of a strange

mix of traditional Ghanaian clothing and decontextualized American

clothes. This is problematic for the Fante because their taste for American

fashion is damaging their economy by requiring them to import more and

rely less on the local clothing industry. (15-18). In the same economic

vein, incorporation into the industrial world is forcing gender roles and

dynamics to be shifted to accommodate contemporary gender

constructs and the new financial demands put on the family unit (88-89).

Church practices also carry the effects of globalization as the traditional

vestments that are so unsuited for the climate are still worn, despite the

suffocating heat. Lundgren says, watching a service unfold, They look

like the gowns worn in the Catholic churches. . . or in the photographs of

the Vatican or the mother church in Europe or America, but they are

worn and tattered. . . Is this a masquerade? What is this ritual? Why is it

not traditional? This is grotesque. Everything is out of place, (8).

Lundgren also discusses globalization when she is discussing why the

Fante would want electricity. They believe their lives will be better, but

Lundgren is skeptical which confuses them (23). Lundgren says later in


the chapter, Development, however, has begun for better or worse. . .

Nevermind [sic] that local survival still depends on sharing and family ties,

and the fragile infrastructure is held together primarily through the

lingering remains of a highly effective, local traditional governance

system, (32). Globalization can be, using these examples, defined as the

trumping of indigenous culture by an invasive culture, such as Fante

culture being suffocated by western/American ways of life such as dress,

religion, electricity, and family structures. Local culture suffers when new

practices are introduced, enforced, or made more popular. Lundgren

characterizes these effects as overall detrimental to Fante culture as it is

unnatural to their history and damaging to their stability to force

American principles on the Fante, even if they seem to encourage it, as it

is with electricity.
a) I believe that Lundgren gives a fair representation of the effects of

globalization on the Fante. It is true that many American people are

biased against African people and third-world nations which

encourages their misguided attempts to aid African countries by

financially supporting them and encouraging them to be more

Americanized. Lundgren discusses aid reliance and the effects on the

economies of African countries that become dependent on the aid

rather than being self-sufficient. American-style industrialization and

popularity is also damaging to their local economies like in the case of

imported versus locally made clothing. Globalization can be damaging

to cultures that thrive in a society without the trappings of modern


America, like the Fante, who see that industrialization as something

they want to achieve, rather than another culture with great flaws and

drawbacks.
2. A Queen Mother is a leader like a chief of a village. In summarizing some

responsibilities, Lundgren states, I am supposed to know everything and

everybody. I am supposed to help them with their decisions. I am to know

why and when the gong [sic] gong is run, why there is a chairman, a chief,

elders, a linguist, and a secretary. I must know how to dress, how to sit,

when to take my shoes off, and when not, and whom to give allegiance to

and to whom not, (41). The Queen Mother is the leader of the village and

is respected by everyone there for her position. She has political and

social sway. When Lundgren asked what made them want her to be Queen

Mother, The say that they have seen me in the village with the people

and the children and that I look like a generous, good person, the kind

that should be queen mother, (49). Lundgren has a few ethical dilemmas

when asked to be Queen Mother regarding why she is asked and the

appropriateness of it. She is a white woman and there is racism ingrained

into the people she is asked to be Queen Mother of, demonstrated by the

women who envy her pale complexion, hair, and eyes without recognizing

their own beauty (49). She is also concerned they do not see her as more

than a brunyi or a white person because of her novelty and presumed

wealth (49).
a) I think Nancy Lundgren made a smart decision if not a good decision

to become Queen Mother. By this, I mean that if Lundgren had refused


to become Queen Mother, her relationships with the residents of

Asebu Abaasa could have become strained by refusing the honor and

she may have isolated herself and made them more closed off which

would be detrimental to her work. However, their reasons for wanting

her to become Queen Mother are potentially problematic and a native

member of the village would likely have been a better candidate for

Queen. Lundgren, as an outsider, could never understand Asebu

Abaasa the way a qualified woman from the village does. Queen

Mother is a dignified title and by Lundgren as a white, rich outsider

assuming it creates a problematic power dynamic that would be

acceptable if the Queen Mother came from Asebu Abaasa rather than

the United States.