African Women and the Shame and Pain of Infertility

An Ethico-cultural Study of Christian Response to Childlessness among the Igbo People of West Africa

By Damasus C. Okoro

Foreword by Stan Chu Ilo

African Women and the Shame and Pain of Infertility

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  • ISBN: 9781725265707
  • Pages: 214
  • Publication Date: 6/24/2020
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Web Price: $20.80
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  • ISBN: 9781725265707
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  • Publication Date: 6/24/2020
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African Women and the Shame and Pain of Infertility

An Ethico-cultural Study of Christian Response to Childlessness among the Igbo People of West Africa

By Damasus C. Okoro

Foreword by Stan Chu Ilo

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PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781725265707
  • Pages: 214
  • Publication Date: 6/24/2020
  • Retail Price: $26.00
Web Price: $20.80
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM
ebook-logo

eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781725265707
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 6/24/2020
  • Retail Price: $26.00
Web Price: $20.80
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM
Web Price: $20.80
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*All eBooks are non-returnable

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About-

In African Women and the Shame and Pain of Infertility: An Ethico-Cultural Study of Christian Response to Childlessness among the Igbo People of West Africa, Okoro discusses the shipwreck that is associated with infertility in marriage in Africa. Within this space, childlessness places a big question mark on a woman’s femininity and the self-esteem of the man. The stigma of infertility most often leads to social isolation and humiliation, particularly of married women, even when the source of infertility may not have come from them. Unfortunately, this situation goes against the highly valued Igbo ethical principle of onye aghala nwanne ya, meaning “no kith or kin should be left behind.” Therefore, the purpose of the book is to help married people in Igbo land and Africa at large to appropriate this indigenous principle in their response to the problem of infertility. To attain this, the author critically evaluates discrimination and oppression of infertile couples, particularly women, and shedding light on the paradoxes found in Igbo cultural expressions. He employs a constructive, ethical, cultural, religious, contextual, and theological approach that explores important Igbo religious paradigms like Chi (an Igbo religio-cultural understanding of personal destiny) and Ani (the feminine deity in-charge of the land and fertility) to argue the case for the liberation and integration of infertile couples.

Endorsements & Reviews-

“This book is a prophetic social critique of the negative characterization of infertility in African cultures and in some versions of traditional Christianity in Africa. It brings together a rich array of voices in Africa from different regions of the continent. These different theological traditions and bioethical positions are put into a healthy and creative conversation on these pages. I highly recommend this book to all as a unique contribution to African Christian studies, bioethics, womanist studies, and pastoral theology.”

—Stan Chu Ilo, Research Professor of World Christianity and African Studies, Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, DePaul University



“This fascinating work uses social-cultural tools to analyze and highlight the ethical issues around female infertility and the lifelong impact of this condition on their happiness, personal fulfillment, and sense of worth and dignity. The author, by incorporating the perspectives of prominent women theologians—Oduyoye and Uchem—psychologists, social workers, and pastors, challenges us to shun cultural and ethical practices that destroy life. Then to respect and promote socio-cultural practices, spiritual traditions, and interpretations (of Igbo moral principle of onyeaghalanwanneya), which foster human dignity, human rights, and well-being especially of African women. This book is invaluable to ethicists, theologians, healthcare professionals, pastors, and all who care about the plight of infertile people.”

—Peter I. Osuji, Assistant Professor, Health Care Ethics, Duquesne University



“In African Women and the Shame and Pain of Infertility, Damasus C. Okoro has made a case for taking seriously the plights of African women as they journey towards justice. This work showcases the fruits of elaborate research and dialogue with multiple interlocutors. In this work, Okoro shows clearly the intersectionality of social, cultural, theological, philosophical, and medical ethics. Scholars interested in women’s studies cannot but embrace this work as their new vade mecum.”

—SimonMary Asese Aihiokhai, University of Portland, author of Fostering Interreligious Encounters in Pluralist Societies: Hospitality and Friendship



“Dr. Damasus Okoro’s book African Women and the Shame and Pain of Infertility embraces a problem which has plagued Igbo culture, the issue of childlessness. Utilizing multiple disciplines (science, African Traditional Religion, ethicists, theologians, and literature) and a comparative method, this book opens a conversation the author passionately thinks needs to be had within Igbo culture. . . . This book is important in several ways. It opens conversation about how a Christian might approach the oppression of couples who are childless, especially African Igbo women who overwhelming bear the burden of childlessness. The book also, and more importantly, argues for scholars and practitioners to pay attention to ethical principles and practices already evident in a culture. Imposing ethical principles from outside a culture does nothing more than contribute to the oppression of the people. I highly recommended African Women and the Shame and Pain of Infertility as a valuable partner for theologians, ethicists, and practitioners interested in contributing to the liberation of God’s people.”

—Richard Perry, Professor Emeritus, Church and Society/Urban Ministry, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Contributors-

Damasus C. Okoro
Stan Chu Ilo

Bio(s)-

Damasus Okoro is a Spiritan priest of the Province of Nigeria, Southeast. Ordained in 2001, he has done pastoral ministry in Nigeria, Pakistan, and the United States. He earned a BA degree in religious studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (2000); an MA in theology from the Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit, Pittsburgh (2002); an MA in bioethics from Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois (2014); and a ThM and PhD in ethics from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (2016 and 2019).

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