Graham Sustainability Institute

Elisha Renne

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Professor Emerita

Renne’s research in Ghana and Nigeria focuses on her continuing interest in issues relating to medical anthropology, gold mining, and gender relations. She has been involved in several projects associated with the Graham Sustainability Institute, the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, the African Studies Center, and the School of Public Health, which include studies of the environmental  and health consequences of small-scale gold mining in northeastern Ghana, with a focus on the effects of gold-mining on water quality and women’s work. Together with researchers from different programs at UM and at several universities in Ghana, Renne and her colleagues use a sustainability approach to address the environmental problems associated with gold-mining and the socioeconomic factors which drive the search for gold. This research has been published in co-authored articles in Science of the Total Environment (2010), Women & Environments (2011), Environmental Research (2011), and Human Organization (2013). An article on the history of small-scale gold mining in Nangodi, UER, Ghana has been published with the Journal of West Africa History (2015). Nangodi is also the site of an alternative livelihood project that provides women small-scale miners with income from neem oil production.  Her two most recent monographs, The Politics of Polio in Northern Nigeria (Indiana University Press, 2010) and Population and Progress in a Yoruba Town (Edinburgh and Michigan, 2003), examine health, environmental, and development themes.