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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 Hopi and Navaho Witchcraft – Ethnographic Approach .docx

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Antonio Sorge

Anthropology 2R03: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft January 23 2013 Lecture 8: Hopi and Navaho Witchcraft – Ethnographic Approach Recap: Witchcraft beliefs - Everywhere that they occur, witchcraft beliefs articulate with the social structure - Are not only theoretical in the sense of existing in a separate realm o See this in that what people believe, and how they believe has a lot to do with how they relate to one another - Last lect: o About maintaining social solidarity (as seen last lect) in the sense that the figure of the witch is the absolute opposite of everything that is a moral being  Fear of being accused of witchcraft keeps people in their place  Can be maladaptive beliefs in the sense that they leave people in a state of paranoia and terror Hopi and Navaho - 2 native American populations in the US southwest o Very torrid, hot climate - Occupying the same territory - Ethnically related, speak a similar language, but their socioeconomic structure is completely different - This lecture: How are witchcraft beliefs different among these 2? Recap: Witchcraft Studies - The comparative method is very successful in the study of witchcraft and sorcery o Witchcraft/sorcery broadly defined in anthro as institutionalized beliefs to the effect that personal or collective misfortunes are due to the unseen workings of forces associated with human beings - Evans-Pritchard as the writer of the magnum opus of witchcraft studies - E-P strongly influenced a pioneer of native studies in the US named Clyde Kluckhohn – American Cultural Anthropologist who spent most of his career studying the Navaho and Hopi Contrasting ways of Life - Hopi o Intensive agriculturalists o Live in densely-settled towns (“pueblos” – villages) in defensive locations atop mesas (tall plateaus), overlooking cornfields and orchards o Pueblos look like Zelda level with the nice music – many doors and ladders o Surviving primarily on stored wealth which requires to be safeguarded  Social stratification always follows with the advent of agriculture  Extensive institutions of social control  Uptight and hierarchical o Lineages are not equal o Elite classes o Hopi were slave holders in the past – trafficked African American slaves - Navaho o Semi-nomadic sheepherders for the past couple of centuries  More sedentarized today, but mobility is still a part of their culture  Make Hogans – log structures finished with mud for their semi-nomadic lifestyle o Now also have cities and towns too, but old ways still prominent o Live in small, widely-dispersed, kin-based ranches (“outfits”) o Egalitarian o Surviving on products of herds – mobile, with principal survival question being access to pasture to keep sheep healthy (and themselves by extension)  Due to climate, the sheep don’t have a lot o Live in small dispersed settlements grouping together only two or three families  Outfits of 30-50 people o Like their Apache congeners, occasional raids on pueblos for food/lifestock/crops - Possibly the most anthopologized people in the world – very extensively studied o Despite their geographic adjacency, they have sharply contrasting indigenous religious beliefs, reflecting contrasting modes of livelihood  One factor in common – both have witchcraft beliefs (Misfortune attributed to malevolent projections of particular individuals)  The definition is pretty much the same everywhere, regardless of whether socs have had any contact before the beliefs manifested  But, the way in which witchcraft is believed to function differs based on society - Navaho and Witchcraft o Kluckhohn’s Navaho witchcraft  Very similar to Azande  Always a reason for why something happens –  General explanation for misfortune and bad luck  Sheep diseases or failure to increase  Unrequited love  Persistent illness  Failed enterprises  Domestic disputes  Infertility o Witchcraft is socially manifested in voicing of suspicions, occasionally, outright accusations  Speculation etc.  “Witchcraft talk”  A recurrent theme of everyday discourse  Rarely cumulates in face-to-face accusations o Few indigenous techniques for
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