The University of Wisconsin Press

African Studies / Anthropology / Women's Studies



Tired of Weeping
Mother Love, Child Death, and Poverty in Guinea-Bissau
Second Edition
Jónína Einarsdóttir

Women in Africa and the Diaspora
Stanlie James and Aili Mari Tripp, Series Editors

"I quickly learned that mothers weeping was an unmistakable sign of how vulnerable the life of a child is in Biombo."—from the introduction

In this comprehensive and provocative study of maternal reactions to child death in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, anthropologist Jónína Einarsdóttir challenges the assumption that mothers in high-poverty societies will neglect their children and fail to mourn their deaths as a survival strategy. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 1993 to 1998 among the matrilineal Papel who reside in the Biombo region, this work includes theoretical discussion of reproductive practices, conceptions of children, childcare customs, interpretations of diseases and death, and infanticide. Einarsdóttir also brings compelling narratives of life experiences and reflections of Papel women.

Jónína Einarsdóttir is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Iceland. Since 2001, she has conducted research on the ethical questions related to the treatment of underweight infants born in Iceland and the implication of such births for the families involved. She has done extensive fieldwork among the Papel of Guinea-Bissau.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

the cover of Tired of Weeping is brown, with a print, or ink drawing, of a women weeping under a tree, surrounded by pots and bowls.

December 2004
LC: 2004005379 DT
300 pp.  6 x 9
7 illus. 2 maps

Book icon
Paper $24.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-20134-0
Shopping cart ADD TO CART

Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated June 8, 2011

© 2010, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System