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Lecture

3rd- whichcraft.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTHROP 1AA3
Professor
Karen Mc Garry
Semester
Fall

Description
The Causes of Illness Last Friday: Leprosy = same disease everywhere but experienced and understood differently Cause of disease is understood differently in various societies Today: Witchcraft and Disease In many parts of the world, disease is not understood to be caused by viruses, bacteria, malignancy or environmental factors (eg. Poor diet, lack of exercise, stress), but by external forces like witchcraft What is a witch?  An individual who is widely believed to be able to manipulate spirits, via magic, for their own purposes. Witches are normally perceived as malevolent or evil.  Those accused can be men, women, young and old.  Witchcraft accusations are a means of restoring order, peace, health and equilibrium in many societies. Sub-Saharan Africa – S. of Sahara Desert Among some groups in Sub-Saharan Africa, witches:  Are normally female  Cast evil spells  Fly at night, kill and eat children  Illnesses/diseases like flu, tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV infection are blamed on witches Women accused of witchcraft:  Are often scapegoated as the “problem” or cause of illness  Are tortured and/or killed Moreover:  In some communities, vaginal fluids are believed to cure men afflicted with HIV  Culture of heteronormative masculinity – causes increase infections  Ghana and Sou
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