RELIG274 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Early Modern Europe, Zande People, Coven

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Y or O: For them, magic is not just the red-head stepchild ("other") of
religion
B: “Magic refers to methods that somehow interface with the supernatural
and by which people can bring about particular outcomes” (Stein and Stein
136).
B/G: Sorcery (not witchcraft) was a deliberate choice of evil
Y?: Didn’t view magic as primitive and/or backwards
Y: withcraft was “bad luck”
B?: witchcraft was perfectly rational within its context
Y: azande weren’t terrified of witchcraft
G/B: need to rectify the situation, the witch is responsible
Y/O?: don't want to kill the witch (azande)
G: safety issue, must kill the witch
Kuranko/Medieval
Ideal
Kuranko/Medieval Witch
Morgoye
(personhood)
No personhood
Generous Greedy, resentful
Friendly Predatory
Open, honest Secretive, devious
Devoted to family Attacks family, works with
coven
Male Female
G: Similar to witchcraft in early modern Europe
Witches often "bush people," uncivilized, eat organs, victims tend to be part
of extended family, often act out of debt
Witches have essence that leaves body when asleep
Body might be convulsing while this is happening. Body still accountable for
spirit that goes out and wreaks havoc.
Resentment, jealousy of witch could "cause" her spirit to do this even
though she had no control. She still gets punished.
Patriarchal system, covens, othering
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Men can be accused
Can include deliberate actions like poisons and medicines
Can include anything with extraordinary powers (e.g., technology)
Gbangbane (witch hunters) are also called witches  kind of like how the
informers/hunters (midwives, healers, etc.) were allegedly accused of being
witches ?
Informers were afraid to reveal info in fear of being accused too
Things Jackson had with him were classified as being "suwa'ye"
Azande = accusatory (someone else identifies witch)
Early Modern Europe = accusatory
Kuranko = confessional (witches volunteer confessions without torture
because they know the results)
Keep in mind stereotypes are same in Europe, vary in Kuranko, torture used
in Europe but not Kuranko
Could lead to derrogatory views in Africa by implying that Africa is
archaic/barbaric.
More similar to Kurango than Azande.
Religion is a modern concept. Not an ancient concept.
Documentary "Burning Time(s)" projects that witchcraft is evident
everywhere and you can identity common threads between all.
Barry Hallen & J. Olubi Sodipo “A Comparison of the Western ‘Witch’ with the
Yoruba ‘Aje’: Spiritual Powers or Personality Types?” Ife: Annals of the
Institute of Cultural Studies 1, 1 -7.
Aje cannot be translated into any one English word, needs to be understood
on own terms
Also for Topic 4/6?: “Magic refers to methods that somehow interface with
the supernatural and by which people can bring about particular outcomes”
(Stein and Stein 136).
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