Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Around the world, global health initiatives aim to empower women by encouraging men to be more engaged husbands and fathers. In some forms, this means men attending prenatal exams and taking up a more equitable share of domestic responsibilities. In much of West Africa, spaces associated with women’s work or “issues” are sharply gender-designated, meaning that even if men are open to engaging, they may not be welcome. This dissertation research is an ethnographic exploration of the experiences of expectant fathers in Dakar, Senegal, the ways in which they not only navigate these gendered spaces, and how they renegotiate their own masculinities in the context of locally-produced gender norms, changing forms of marriage, religious notions of parenting, and economic precarity. My research finds that there is tension between men’s practices and gendered assumptions about men in global/national public health campaigns. I use the concept “absent presence” to examine the ways in which expectant fathers’ practices and expectations are simultaneously a crucial part of prenatal care in Dakar while also elided from consideration in global, state, and scholarly interventions.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Shanti Parikh

Committee Members

Talia Dan-Cohen, Bradly Stoner, Samuel Shearer, Samba Diallo,