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Maxwell African Scholars Union presents: Dr. Deborah Pellow

100 Eggers Hall

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Tradition and Modernity: Hybrid Housing for an African Elite In this paper, Dr. Pellow is concerned with the materiality of change in the homes of a group of first generation professionals from Northern Ghana who have “made it” and now live in the suburbs of Accra, Ghana. Meaning is inscribed in the material/built environment. In the hometown area, they live in or are surrounded by the architectural idiom of mud and wattle round huts, whereas in relocation, as these Ghanaians become “modern,” they create modern housing designs. The new aesthetic speaks to their aspirations for new identities and status. They are performative of their cosmopolitanism. At the same time, members of this new elite perpetuate old practices that are tied to an old materiality. To explore the change in identity and status that is embedded in design, and the accommodation of old and new practices, she focuses on the kitchen as a supremely modern space and the socializing spaces associated with the traditional cooking arena. Dr. Pellow is a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology and Maxwell’s Master of Social Science program and a founding member and director of the Space and Place Initiative based in the Global Affairs Institute. Her research program is grounded in the roles and relationships enacted by individuals in the urban arena and plural society, under conditions of social change. Her primary geographic area of interest has been West Africa, primarily Ghana; but has also done research in Chicago and Shanghai, China. The interrelationship of social and physical space continues to predominate in her research interest. Speaking: Deborah Pellow Professor Anthropology Sponsor: Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Co-Sponsor Maxwell African Scholars Union, Co-Sponsor


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