Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Foreign Gods, Inc.

Monday, October 20, 2014

4 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

Book signing and reception to follow.

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Foreign Gods, Inc., tells the story of Ike, a New York-based Nigerian cab driver who sets out to steal the statue of an ancient war deity from his home village and sell it to a New York gallery. Ike's plan is fueled by desperation. Despite a degree in economics from a major American college, his strong accent has barred him from the corporate world. Forced to eke out a living as a cab driver, he is unable to manage the emotional and material needs of a temperamental African American bride and a widowed mother demanding financial support. When he turns to gambling, his mounting losses compound his woes. And so he travels back to Nigeria to steal the statue, where he has to deal with old friends, family, and a mounting conflict between those in the village who worship the deity, and those who practice Christianity. A meditation on the dreams, promises and frustrations of the immigrant life in America; the nature and impact of religious conflicts; an examination of the ways in which modern culture creates or heightens infatuation with the "exotic," including the desire to own strange objects and hanker after ineffable illusions; and an exploration of the shifting nature of memory, Foreign Gods is a brilliant work of fiction that illuminates our globally interconnected world like no other.

Commentators on the panel will include:

Patricia Agupusi, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Studies, Watson Institute

Keith Brown, (moderator) Faculty Fellow, Adjunct Professor of International Studies, Director of the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes

Anani Dzidzienyo, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Portuguese & Brazilian Studies and Director of Graduate Studies

Lina Fruzzetti, Professor of Anthropology

Glenn Loury, Faculty Fellow, Professor of Economics, Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences

Okey Ndibe, Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies

Daniel Smith, Faculty Fellow, Professor and Chair of Anthropology

Africa Initiative
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