Lauren Coyle Rosen's new book: "Fires of Gold"

Wednesday, Apr 22, 2020
Fires of Gold: Law, Spirit, and Sacrificial Labor in Ghana is a powerful ethnography of the often shrouded cultural, legal, political, and spiritual forces governing the gold mining industry in Ghana, one of Africa’s most celebrated democracies. Lauren Coyle Rosen argues that significant sources of power have arisen outside of the formal legal system to police, adjudicate, and navigate conflict in this theater of violence, destruction, and rebirth. This innovative book illuminates how the crucible of gold, itself governed by spirits, serves as a critical site for embodied struggles over the realignment of the classical philosophical triad: the city, the soul, and the sacred.

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Editorial Reviews:

"Fires of Gold demonstrates what cultural anthropology has to offer to the analysis of the contemporary--in Africa and elsewhere. In her account of a world where gold is valorized in terms that vacillate between the immanent and the transcendent, Lauren Coyle Rosen shows how conflicts between financial and industrial capitalism, and the improvisational forms of artisanal mining, are implicated in a profound reworking of both political economy and sovereignty. What emerges is both a critique of older political theoretical pieties and a dazzling description of a shadow world where new forms of power arise in the spectral bodies of the old, and where law in its many forms vanishes and reappears as a force of justice for those whom the state has otherwise failed."--Rosalind C. Morris, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University

"A striking, novel contribution to sovereignty theory and to studies of African modernity in a Ghanaian gold mining town. Contemporary West Africa--with its land and labor imbroglios, its obsession with gold and capital accumulation, its forceful religiosities and spiritual encounters--shimmers with life and death in Coyle Rosen's lively, smart reading. An urgent read for critical scholars of the continent today."--Charles Piot, author of Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War and The Fixer: Visa Lottery Chronicles