AIDS, Marriage, and the Management of Ambiguity in Northern Nigeria


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This ethnographic study explores the marriage trajectories of Northern Nigerian focusing on HIV-positive individuals enrolled in an antiretroviral treatment program. Arguing that these women, who face a future of illness, stigma, and certain death, hold the same social goals as all Nigerians, this dissertation reveals how the increasing availability of diagnostic testing and HIV therapies reinforces the importance of husbands and families. These same biotechnological developments and public health interventions, however, often complicate HIV positive women’s ambitions and pose difficult social and ethical dilemmas. Across the domains of biomedicine, biosocial groupings, and networks of kin, this study illuminates the logics and practices of women confronting these social dilemmas and prognoses through the “management of ambiguity.”