Lecture by Carola Lentz on the emergence of new class relations in northern Ghana

June 04, 2019

In the 1950s Jack Goody described the LoDagaa (Dagara) of northern Ghana as an example of a society without a ruler. In the annual Goody Lecture at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPI) on Thursday, 13 June, Mainz anthropologist Carola Lentz takes a look at how the social structures and political organization of this group have changed over the course of the twentieth century. In a lecture entitled “Class and Power in a Stateless Society: revisiting Jack Goody’s ethnography of the LoDagaa (Ghana)”, she traces the emergence of chieftaincy, ethnicity, and a middle class among the Dagara. The English-language talk will take place at 18:00 at the MPI, Advokatenweg 36, Halle. The Goody Lectures are organized by Prof. Chris Hann, Director of the Department ‘Resilience and Transformation’.

Carola Lentz

In the 1950s Jack Goody described the LoDagaa (Dagara) of northern Ghana as an example of a society without a ruler. In the annual Goody Lecture at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPI) on Thursday, 13 June, Mainz anthropologist Carola Lentz takes a look at how the social structures and political organization of this group have changed over the course of the twentieth century. In a lecture entitled “Class and Power in a Stateless Society: revisiting Jack Goody’s ethnography of the LoDagaa (Ghana)”, she traces the emergence of chieftaincy, ethnicity, and a middle class among the Dagara. The English-language talk will take place at 18:00 at the MPI, Advokatenweg 36, Halle. The Goody Lectures are organized by Prof. Chris Hann, Director of the Department ‘Resilience and Transformation’.

“Carola Lentz is an internationally acclaimed scholar of Africa who has studied the Dagara for several decades. She has produced ground-breaking studies on the social and political transformations in West Africa two generations after Goody conducted his research there,” says Chris Hann. “It is therefore a particular honour that Carola Lentz agreed to give our ninth Goody Lecture at the MPI.”

During her decades-long career, Carola Lentz has made important contributions to methodological and theoretical debates in the field of social anthropology. Among her recent publications are the monograph Remembering Independence (co-authored with David Lowe), the edited volume Ethnologie im 21. Jahrbundert (co-edited with Thomas Bierschenk and Matthias Krings), and the study Land, Mobility and Belonging in West Africa, for which she received the Melville J. Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association in November 2014.

Carola Lentz is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. From 2011 to 2015 she was President of the German Anthropological Association. A member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, she was Secretary of the Social Sciences Class from 2016 to 2018 and assumed the role of Vice-President in late 2018.

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