Daughters of Hariti: Childbirth and Female Healers in South and Southeast Asia (Theory and Practice in Medical Anthropology)

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Hariti is the ancient Indian goddess of childbirth and women healers, known at one time throughout South and Southeast Asia from India to Nepal and Bali. Daughters of Hariti looks at her 'daughters' today, female midwives and healers in many different cultures across the region. It also traces the transformation of childbirth in these cultures under the impact of Western biomedical technology, national and international health policies and the wider factors of social and economic change. The authors ask what can be done to improve the high rates of maternal and infant deaths and illnesses still associated with childbirth in most societies in this area and whether the wholesale replacement of indigenous knowledge by Western biomedical technology is necessarily a good thing.

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About the Author:

Geoffrey Samuel studied anthropology at Cambridge and has researched and published on Tibetan society, religion and music, and on anthropological theory. His previous books include Mind, Body and Culture and Civilized Shamans, and the edited collections Tantra and Popular Religion in Tibet, Nature Religion Today and Healing Powers and Modernity. He is currently Professor of Anthropology at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Santi Rozario studied at Dhaka University and the University of New South Wales. Her research and publications are on women and development, women and health and women and Islam. She is the author of Purity and Communal Boundaries: Women, and Social Change in a Bangladeshi Village and numerous articles, and is currently working on a book on microcredit. She is currently teaching at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Review:

' ... one of the major accomplishments of the book is the persuasive way Western values and secularist models are explained to be "equally dismissive of local traditions and folk practices such as those associated with childbirth".' – SOAS

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