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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 Zande Witchcraft continued.docx

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Antonio Sorge

Anthropology 2R03: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft January 16 2013 Lecture 5: Witchcraft con’t Zande - Mangu o Physical substances witches allegedly have in them  Used to do autopies in the abdomen to find “mangu” o Grows in the abdomen of witches, unbeknownst to them  Located beneath the xiphoid process (lower sternum)  Oval, blackish swelling attached to end of liver o Causes witches to roam at night and feed on victims’ internal organs  The witchcraft essence travels at night, not the physical body of the witch itself  Eventually victim depleted of energy and dies  Gradually worsens over time o Witches  Male or female carriers of mangu  May not be aware of the harm that they do - Bewitchment o One of the central notions of Zande witchcraft is that Bewitchment occurs when people are in close physical proximity to one another  Distance diminishes risk  British settlements put the Zande in more densely populated settlements than their previous homesteads  Closer proximity = more likely for witchcraft to happen  Led to an increased reliance on witch doctors and oracles o Witch doctors  Ritual specialists who heal those who are bewitched o Oracles  Those who determine who is bewitching who o Physical proximity tends to coincide with social proximity  Social proximity – people you are socially close with  Therefore, witchcraft accusations tend to follow the lines of physical and social proximity o Will never be accused by a stranger you have never seen o Tend to flow thru people who know one another o Can happen in any number of ways  Could consciously or unconsciously bewitch someone  If a project of yours is unsuccessful, it is because of witchcraft  Your crop bears no fruit  You break an arm  You have a poor hunting expedition  A granary collapses on you o Reason for this failure/misfortune – witchcraft  Don’t believe in coincidences  Observations are subordinated to the belief o Can see that there are termites eating away at the pillars that are holding up the granary (observation), but if it collapses on you it is because of witchcraft (belief) o Belief in witchcraft  Comes from a number of things  Flows from an observation of differential luck o See differential luck  Desire to make sense of this, of misfortune o Why differential luck  Understanding that misfortune flows from other people o Someone else causing your hell  No concept of chance/fate etc.  Accounts for particular manifestations of human misfortune and unhappiness  Ultimate vs. proximate causes of misfortune o Proximate cause  A granary falling on you o Ultimate cause  The witchcraft forcing the granary to fall o When someone is bewitched  Do not go thru a list of known witches in the town and try to figure out who of them is bewitching them  Try to think who among their friends and acquaintances might have reason to harm them – have a grudge against them  Come up with a list and consult oracles o Oracle: a technological device which provides answers to questions posed to it, if properly operated  Four types of oracle  Termite mound oracle o Two sticks, pre-coded as “yes” and “no” are placed in a termite mound as a q is asked o The client returns the next day, whichever stick is eaten the most is the answer  Rubbing board oracle o “iwa”  A three-legged waxed lower board and a top board with handle  Water is sprinkled on the board
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