Population and Progress in a Yoruba Town

Elisha P. Renne
Argues that progress and fertility cannot be expected to follow a universal trajectory


Elisha Renne focuses on things associated with the human body—such as houses, graves, hymens, blood, and bones—as a concrete means for analyzing new ideas of fertility in an Ekiti Yoruba town in Southwestern Nigeria. By looking at how ideas about childbearing and family size are reassessed by individual and families, and underscoring their connection with local and national policies and programs, Renne argues that progress and fertility cannot be expected to follow a universal trajectory. She finds that local development projects have improved Yoruba life, but that political and economic uncertainty and federal programs have undermined some of those benefits.

The book's exploration of the relationships among development, fertility, and politics will draw anthropologists, demographers, population program personnel, development planners, and African studies specialists.

Elisha P. Renne is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan.

Praise / Awards

  • "As an anthropological text, Renne's ethnography provides a compelling combination of detailed historical scholarship, astute observation, extensive and compelling interviews, and theoretical complexity. . . . The growing field of anthropological demography offers fewer examples as rich, important, and insightful as Population and Progress in a Yoruba Town. Readers with interests in anthropology, demography, or Africa all have much to learn from this fine book."
    —Daniel Jordan Smith, Brown University

Product Details

  • 6 1/8 x 9 1/4.
  • 156pp.
  • 13 drawings, 28 photographs, 20 tables.
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Sales Restrictions

Our edition is available in Canada, United States


  • Paper
  • 2003
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08983-3

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  • $33.95 U.S.