WITCHCRAFT ORACLES AND MAGIC AMONG THE AZANDE

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Witchcraft Oracles And Magic Among The Azande

Author : Kitty Wheater
ISBN : 9781351352758
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 74.49 MB
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The history of anthropology is, to a large extent, the history of differing modes of interpretation. As anthropologists have long known, examining, analyzing and recording cultures in the quest to understand humankind as a whole is a vastly complex task, in which nothing can be achieved without careful and incisive interpretative work. Edward Evans-Pritchard’s seminal 1937 Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande is a model contribution to anthropology’s grand interpretative project, and one whose success is based largely on its author’s thinking skills. A major issue in anthropology at the time was the common assumption that the faiths and customs of other cultures appeared irrational or illogical when compared to the “civilized” and scientific beliefs of the western world. Evans-Pritchard sought to challenge such definitions by embedding himself within a tribal culture in Africa – that of the Azande – and attempting to understand their beliefs in their proper contexts. By doing so, Evans-Pritchard proved just how vital context is to interpretation. Seen within their context, he was able to show, the beliefs of the Azande were far from irrational – and magic actually formed a coherent system that helped mould a functional community and society for the tribe. Evans-Pritchard’s efforts to clarify meaning in this way have proved hugely influential, and have played a major part in guiding later generations of anthropologists from his day to ours.
Category: Social Science

Ancient Greek Love Magic

Author : Christopher A. FARAONE
ISBN : 0674036700
Genre : History
File Size : 88.96 MB
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The ancient Greeks commonly resorted to magic spells to attract and keep lovers--as numerous allusions in Greek literature and recently discovered voodoo dolls, magical papyri, gemstones, and curse tablets attest. Surveying and analyzing these various texts and artifacts, Christopher Faraone reveals that gender is the crucial factor in understanding love spells. There are, he argues, two distinct types of love magic: the curselike charms used primarily by men to torture unwilling women with fiery and maddening passion until they surrender sexually; and the binding spells and debilitating potions generally used by women to sedate angry or philandering husbands and make them more affectionate. Faraone's lucid analysis of these spells also yields a number of insights about the construction of gender in antiquity, for example, the femininity of socially inferior males and the maleness of autonomous prostitutes. Most significantly, his findings challenge the widespread modern view that all Greek men considered women to be naturally lascivious. Faraone reveals the existence of an alternate male understanding of the female as naturally moderate and chaste, who uses love magic to pacify and control the naturally angry and passionate male. This fascinating study of magical practices and their implications for perceptions of male and female sexuality offers an unusual look at ancient Greek religion and society.
Category: History

The Social Basis Of Health And Healing In Africa

Author : Steven Feierman
ISBN : 0520066812
Genre : History
File Size : 22.65 MB
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Until now our knowledge of African health and healing has been extensive but fragmented. The 18 essays included in this book are an account of disease, health and healing practices on the African continent. The contributors all emphasize the social conditions linked to ill health and the development of local healing traditions, from Morocco to South Africa and from the precolonial era to the present. The editors provide in troductory overviews explaining why and how health and disease are related to historical, economic and political phenomena.
Category: History

Kwaio Religion

Author : Roger M. Keesing
ISBN : 023105341X
Genre : Religion
File Size : 74.1 MB
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Keesing studies how the Kwaio have held on to their traditional ways despite 125 years of European colonialism and a militantly Christian national culture.
Category: Religion

The Empty Seashell

Author : Nils Bubandt
ISBN : 9780801471964
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 77.38 MB
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The Empty Seashell explores what it is like to live in a world where cannibal witches are undeniably real, yet too ephemeral and contradictory to be an object of belief. In a book based on more than three years of fieldwork between 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for people in the coastal, and predominantly Christian, community of Buli in the Indonesian province of North Maluku are both corporeally real and fundamentally unknowable. Witches (known as gua in the Buli language or as suanggi in regional Malay) appear to be ordinary humans but sometimes, especially at night, they take other forms and attack people in order to kill them and eat their livers. They are seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The reality of gua, therefore, can never be pinned down. The title of the book comes from the empty nautilus shells that regularly drift ashore around Buli village. Convention has it that if you find a live nautilus, you are a gua. Like the empty shells, witchcraft always seems to recede from experience. Bubandt begins the book by recounting his own confusion and frustration in coming to terms with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. A detailed ethnography of the encompassing inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the conclusion that much of the anthropological literature, which views witchcraft as a system of beliefs with genuine explanatory power, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli people doesn't explain anything. In fact, it does the opposite: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s concept of aporia—an interminable experience that remains continuously in doubt—Bubandt suggests the need to take seriously people’s experiential and epistemological doubts about witchcraft, and outlines, by extension, a novel way of thinking about witchcraft and its relation to modernity.
Category: Social Science