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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 Article: Todd Sanders.docx

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Antonio Sorge

Anthropology 2R03: Religion, Magic and Witchcraft January 28 2013 Lecture 10: Red – stuff he writes on board Azande - Syncretism: combo of diff belief systems o Christian and Witchcraft Article: Todd Sanders - Tam’s Torso o 5 year old boy body found in Tams river in London a few years back  Moral panic on what this was about  Was wearing German clothes o Boy was from somewhere in West Africa  Coroners etc. – African witch doctors were thought to have killed the boy in a witchcraft ritual  Said to be a common custom, witch doctors use the body parts for some ritual o Sees Africa as backward, violent, sinister and irrational  Puts Africa as homogenous – the same across Africa  Police – called Nelson Mandela – you tell those Africans to stop sacrificing kids  Like if Nigerian police found a white body and called the president of Italy to tell all of Europe to stop sacrificing kids up in Europe  V ignorant  Police were aware that in the year before this incident, there were exactly 3 reports of child sacrifice in the continent of Africa  3 torsos out of a billion people o 3 torsos were found in Canada last year out of 33 million people  How come no one is telling us to stop sacrificing folks?  Points to a long standing vision of Africans & Africa as being a strange place characterized by a strange set of mentalities o E.g.: “Africans” VS. “Europeans” o Violent o Peaceful o Traditional/Primitive o Modern o Diseased/Poor o Healthy/sanitary/cl o Uncivilized/unscientific/iean rational o Civilized/scientific/r ational  Ex of grouping everyone in Africa together  Seeing them as homogenous even though the nations of Africa are more diverse than the nations of Europe  Stereotype of Africa as a dark nation - ***Evan Pritchard’s book is related to this article and is important because it was the first to say that Africans are not irrational – they are able to reason, to make observations and act accordingly o First book to say that! - Robin Horton’s Article o Horton – anthropologist o Athropols have gone wrong in understanding African traditional thought for 2 reasons  1 – Most who think about African thought are not theoreticians who understand ways of thinking  Unfamiliar with theoretical thinking of their own culture, how can they understand others  2 – African trad thought is frequently based on a personalistic idiom – motivation behind it – there is a drought because we did not worship the gods properly  Impersonalistic idiom – law of gravity – nothing to do with who you are. There is a drought because of the wind or whatever, not because of the way you did something – western  Often African traditional thought follows scientific thinking, but uses a diff idiom than the west o Article says that similarities between African and western scientific thought are greater than people suppose: o Overview of basic arguments  1. Distinguishes common “practical” thought from “theoretical” thought  Theoretical o Aims to find ultimate causes and mechanisms o What Horton is concerned with  2. There is an underlying unity of all thereotical thought  It uses similar processes everywhere, but the similarity mig
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