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Anthropological and Historical Approaches to Witchcraft: Potential for a New Collaboration? Author(s): Ronald Hutton

Anthropological and Historical Approaches to Witchcraft: Potential for a New Collaboration? Author(s): Ronald Hutton Source: The Historical Journal, Vol. 47, No. 2 (Jun., 2004), pp. 413-434 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 20-01-2016 22:37 UTC

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The HistoricalJournal,47, 2 (2004),pp.413-434 ? 2004 CambridgeUniversity Press



Printed in the United Kingdom












Universityof Bristol



In the I960S a comparativeapproach,coveringdifferent continents andperiodsof time, was

commonin the studyof witchcraft.During the

itfell out offashion because of criticism by some


andcollusionbetweenthe disciplinesofanthropology


and history overthe subject moreorless

ended.Inthe i99os, unnoticed

to emphasize


all historians,

some anthropologists

ontheissue.The following articlereviewsthese

and sociologistsbeganagain

a global, and interdisciplinary,perspective

debates, andthen pools researchundertakenin various partsof theworldto suggest thata supranational

model for the figure that English-speakers

callthewitchis indeedviable.It also distinguishes



the figure thatdo varysignificantly betweenvarious cultures, and identifiesmanypeoplesamong whomthe

witch-figure doesnotseemtohaveexistedat all.In doingso, it suggests that anthropologymay once again

beone of the disciplines

mutual benefit.


ofEurope havethe optionofcollaborating

overthe subject to

In the years around 1970 it seemed that a global approach to the study of what the English-speaking world calls witchcraft had become the scholarly norm. Most of

the research published upon the phenomenon during the previous two decades had been produced by anthropologists, above all those working in the colonial or newly independent territories of sub-Saharan Africa. When sustained investi- gation commenced into the trials of witches in early modern England, towards

the end of the i96os, ethnographic parallels were prominently employed to inter- pret the domestic data. Indeed, it was acknowledged that the study of witchcraft

in tribal societies elsewhere on the planet had provided one inspiration for the new interest in similar beliefs in the English past.' Anthropologists returned the compliment by setting places for historians at their feasts. The conference on

E.g. Keith Thomas, 'The relevanceof social anthropology to the historical study of English


witchcraft', in MaryDouglas,ed., Witchcraftconfessions andaccusations (London,1970),pp.47-81; Alan

Macfarlane,WitchcraftinTudorandStuart England(London,1970),pp.211-53; NormanCohn,Europe's

innerdemons (Falmer,1975),pp.220-3.


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the study of witchcraft held at Oxford in 1968 to mark the retirement of one of the pioneers of the subject in African societies, Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard, included

a set of papers from experts in the early modern European trials.2When another leading Africanist, Max Marwick, edited a collection of writings on the same subject that appeared in 1970, he included extracts from the work of experts in ancient, medieval, and early modern European studies as well as that of colleagues

in his own field.3 In 1978 one of the most prominent social anthropologists of that decade, Rodney Needham, declared that his discipline depended on com- parativism, and proposed some characteristics for 'a steady image of the witch', based on data from both African and European sources.4



By that date, however, the co-operative enterprise was already collapsing.

It had always been more fragile and narrowly based than may appear from the

manifestations of it listed above. The historians who were engaged in it consisted of no more than a handful based in British universities, above all Keith Thomas and Alan Macfarlane. American experts in the early modern trials directly rejected it, claiming that the 'primitive' social groups of sub-Saharan Africa bore so little resemblance to the more complex cultures and societies of Europe that

comparisons were unhelpful. In 1972 Erik Midelfort warned his readers that his study of German trials would 'not bristle with arcane allusions to the Navajo, Azande or Cewa'.' Four years later William Monter, discussing evidence from France and Switzerland, declared that 'non-Western social anthroplogy provides

keys that do not fit European locks'.6 What doomed the enterprise of comparing African and European material, however, was a loss of faith in it on the part of those British historians who had most prominently applied it; and here the crucial event was the debate between Hildred Geertz and Keith Thomas in the Journal

of InterdisciplinaryHistory in 1975.'7 The former, writing as an anthropologist, ques-

tioned whether cultural particulars could be placed in general categories and whether these types could be compared across time periods and continents. She accused Thomas of having adopted the categories constructed by the British from the eighteenth century onward, and used as cultural weapons against others.

It is worth emphasizing that Geertz also stated that the imposition of scholarly categories is itself unavoidable, and was calling not for their abolition but for

the recognition of the cultural particularity of those employed hitherto by modern






ed., Witchcraftconfessions and accusations.

Max Marwick,ed., Witchcraft and sorcery(Harmondsworth,1970).




Primordial characters (Charlottesville, 1978), pp. 23-50,

at p. 42.

C. Erik Midelfort,

Witch hunting in southwestern Germany,1562-1684 (Stanford, 1972), p. 5.


E. William Monter,Witchcraft

(Ithaca,1976),p. II. It waslaterasserted

in retrospective dismissals of the comparative method that prominent British scholars such as

E. P. Thompson and Max Marwick had already turned against it in the early 970os, citing Thompson, 'Anthropology and the discipline of historical context', Midland History, I (1972), pp. 46-55, and

Marwick, reviewof Macfarlane,Vlitchcraft in TudorandStuart England,Man,n.s. 6 (1971), PP.320-1.

Neither disowned the method as such, however, only criticizing some applications of it.

7 Hildred Geertz and Keith Thomas,

Interdisciplinary History,

6 (I975),



'An anthropology of religion and magic: two views


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Western scholars. She urged that Thomas's work be not rejected but followed

up with a greater awareness of these difficulties. In this context, it was Keith


models and use of terms with regard to British material, but signalled the end of

a straightforward engagement

ognition that anthropologists had become chary of employing Western concepts

to understand non-European


individual cultural systems in their entirety, and they regarded as contentious

terms accepted unthinkingly by historians, such as 'witchcraft', 'belief' and 'magic'. This being so, he concluded that historians needed to back off from the problem and concentrate on their own society, for which their terminology seemed still to be well suited. He conceded that 'historians must recognise that much of their work does not easily lend itself to cross-cultural comparison'.8 He himself could recognize it the more clearly in that his own university of Oxford had become one of the centres of the new approach to anthropology: he


the dismantling of the European colonial empires was producing a reaction against the traditional framework of the discipline as a handmaiden to imperia-

lism. This reaction embodied hostility both to the imposition of European terms and concepts on views of other societies and the habit of making compari- sons between social groups that such an imposition made easier. The fashion was indeed for a close study of particular communities, as much within their own linguistic and mental models as possible. It was applied directly to witchcraft by

another Oxford anthropologist of the period, Malcolm Crick. Between 1973 and 1976 he developed an argument that the concept of 'witchcraft' needed to be

'dissolved into a larger framework of reference', by relating the figures whom English-speakers tended to call witches to others who embodied power of differ-

ent kinds within a given society. He asserted that conceptual categories varied so much between cultures that 'witchcraft' could not be treated as a general topic at all, and warned historians off ethnographic material, proclaiming that 'English

witchcraft is notlike the phenomena so labelled in other cultures'."o In this respect

the writing had been on the wall ever since the conference

Pritchard back in 1968, where an American contributor, T. O. Beidelman, had commented that 'witchcraft' was being used as a label for social phenomena that differed radically between societies." What had been a warning at that date seemed to have become an orthodoxy a decade later.

answer that was particularly significant. He defended his conceptual

with anthropological

data. He declared his rec-

societies and preferred to use those of the people

that of reconstructing

they were studying. Their aim had now become

cited the work of his colleague Edwin

Ardener as typifying it.9 In general,

to honour Evans-


Quotationon p. 107.



Edwin Ardener, 'Thenew anthropology

andits critics',Man, n.s.6 (1971),pp.449-67.

10 Malcolm Crick, 'Two styles inthe

study of witchcraft',JournaloftheAnthropologicalSocietyofOxford,


and meaning:



(I973), PP.17-31, at p. 18; and idem,Explorations


(London,1976),pp. 109-27.



T. O. Beidelman,'Towardsmoreopentheoreticalinterpretations'in Douglas,ed., Witchcraft

confessions and accusations,pp. 351-6.

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That is, at any rate, how historians of early modern Europe chose to regard it. Comparisons with extra-European material almost completely vanished from their work, and the boom in the study of witch beliefs and trials that took place from the mid-i98os onwards took the form of an exercise in cross-referencing between different parts of Europe and the English colonies in America. Near the beginning of that dramatic increase of interest in the subject, an expert in Mediterranean studies, Robert Rowland, did contribute an essay that compared European and African material. Implicitly addressing some of the criticisms of

such an exercise, he emphasized the differences as well as the similarities; but his work was not followed up.12 In 1989 J. H. M. Salmon concluded that anthro-

pologists had effectively deterred attempts by historians to engage in any further collaboration over the subject, in a review article labelled 'History without

anthropology'.13 When I began to present guest lectures and seminar papers from 1991 onward that recommended a further attempt to compare data from differ- ent parts of the world, I repeatedly encountered the same objection from his- torians: that 'anthropologists' had rendered such an exercise futile, by declaring

that the comparisons could not be made. The irony of this was that during the same period the practitioners of anthro-

pology were starting to send out exactly the opposite message. In 1992 Mary Douglas published an essay in which she used African and early modern European data to compare witchcraft and leprosy as strategies of rejection. She made ref- erence again to European material in an article published seven years later.14 In 1998 Jean La Fontaine united studies of African beliefs, European trials, and the modern British and American panic over 'satanic ritual abuse', to show the basic similarities between the stereotypes operating in each case. She explicitly

attacked the earlier denials that the term 'witchcraft' retained any utility in the

task of cross-cultural comparison

discipline."5 In 1995 a British sociologist, Andrew Sanders, had made another challenge to the same denials, and published a worldwide survey of the occur-

rence of the figure known in English as the witch, using both ethnographic and historical records.16 Most significant in this regard was the development of a

school of thought among Africanists publishing with American university presses,

who have called for a renewed emphasis on cross-cultural comparison

that she held to be one

of the duties of her

in the

12 RobertRowland,"'Fantasticallanddevilishepersons":European witch-beliefsin


perspective', in BengtAnkarloo andGustav Henningsen,eds.,EarlymodemEuropeanwitchcraft(Oxford,

1990),pp. 161-90. Thevolumewasbasedon the proceedings of

a conferencethathadbeenheldat

Stockholm in 1984.

13J. H. M. Salmon,




a new witchcraft synthesis', Journal of Inter-

disciplinaryHistory, 19 (1989), PP. 481-6.

14 Mary Douglas,

Risk and blame: essays in cultural theory (London,


1992), pp. 83-101;

idem, 'Sorcery


accusationsunleashed:the Lele revisited',Africa,69

"5 J. S. La Fontaine,

pp. 177-93-

Speakof theDevil: tales of satanicabusein contemporary England(Cambridge,

esp. pp. i80-92.

16 Andrew


A deedwithouta name:thewitchin society and history (Oxford,


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specific field of witchcraft studies, in response to a dramatic phenomenon

ated with post-colonial Africa. This is the discovery, clearly often shocking to Western scholars, that a fear of

what English-speakers called witchcraft has not diminished with the moderniz-

ation of the independent African nations, but often intensified while adapting to the new social conditions. In many states responses take the form of crowd or

vigilante action, but in a few of them legal trials of accused witches, with heavy

suffering is

penalties on conviction,

very clear, and demands a scholarly response. Part of the latter has focused on a wholly justifiable attempt to dissuade Westerners from attributing the persistence of a belief in witchcraft in Africa to an inherent disposition to 'superstition' or

'primitivism' on the part of its peoples. This has in turn led to a new emphasis on the prevalence of such beliefs across the globe and a call for a return to the comparative method; likewise, Jean La Fontaine's use of the latter was justified

powerfully by the discovery that the stereotypes that underpinned the erroneous belief in cells of Satanists who ritually abused children in the United Kingdom and United States were derived directly from early modern demonology. It was

becoming apparent that the figure of the witch could not be packaged safely away into the history or ethnography of vanished societies. The new trend among Africanists was visible by 1993, when Ralph Austen declared that a comparative approach could 'at the very least help to historicize further our understanding of African witchcraft and add cultural context to our

understanding of European capitalism'.1 In the following year Ray Abrahams, introducing a collection of essays on Tanzanian witchcraft, commented that the earlier convergence of ideas between the disciplines had been 'very useful'.18 The pattern was established by 1997. In that year Barry Hallen and J. Olubi Sodipo published a study of African beliefs in which it was assumed that a com-

parison with early modern European equivalents was one obvious means for an understanding of attitudes to witchcraft. It returned an open verdict, however,

on whether such an exercise actually yielded useful material."1 The same year saw the appearance of an influential study of Cameroon by Peter Geschiere, in which the same complex of attitudes was even more sharply polarized. It had a

preface by Wyatt MacGaffey, who declared that 'African beliefs in the occult are highly varied and may have nothing more in common than the word "witch-

craft" applied to them by English speakers.'20 This blunt restatement of the I980s orthodoxy was then contradicted by Geschiere himself, who concluded that

'these notions, now translated throughout Africa as "witchcraft", reflect a strug- gle with problems common to all human societies'. He called for anthropologists

have been

resumed. The

cost in human

17Ralph A. Austen, 'Themoral economy of witchcraft:an

essay in comparativehistory', in Jean


andJohnComaroff,eds., Modernity andits malcontents(Chicago,i993),

RayAbrahams,ed., WitchcraftincontemporaryTanzania(Cambridge,1994),P . 12


19 Barry Hallen and J. Olubi Sodipo, Knowledge,belief and witchcraft(Stanford, 1997).


Peter Geschiere,

The modernityof witchcraft:politicsand theoccultin postcolonialAfrica(Charlottesville,

1997),p. viii.

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to learn from the studies of the European trials, which had shown that beliefs at the local level could only be understood in relation to wider historical processes; he termed the neglect of these studies by recent anthropology 'even more discon- certing' than the lack of awareness of research in Africa on the part of historians of Europe. Rounding on those among the latter who had denied that 'primitive'

African communities could be compared with those of post-medieval Europeans, he argued convincingly that, especially with their cap of colonial settlers and rulers, the societies of Africa in the early twentieth century were every bit as complex as those of Europe in the sixteenth.21 By 2001 the editors of a major collection of essays on African belief systems could introduce their material by

warning scholars to be careful not to restrict the study of witchcraft 'to any one

There is a history of

witchcraft beliefs in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.'22 One of the contributors to the volume was Barry Hallen, who again took issue with a

approach,23 but

none of them seemed to challenge the assertions of the editors. Another, indeed, remarked that 'the amazing point is not so much variation across the African continent, but convergence'.24 In urban centres of modern Africa, a multicultural

perspective is now essential in any case. In the Soweto suburb ofJohannesburg, fear of witchcraft was endemic by the 99gos and produced serious tension and violence. It was based on stereotypes drawn from a number of different native groups, and blended with features of that developed in early modern Europe and brought by Dutch and English settlers.25 Three major problems stand in the way of the renewed collaboration that is thus being proposed between disciplines and between specialists in different geographical regions. One is that, with the notable exception of Andrew Sanders, experts in the respective traditions of research have completely failed to keep up with each other. Africanists sometimes still refer to recent studies made in other parts of the world (and vice versa), but this wider awareness tends to be the exception rather than the rule. The gulf between anthropology and the explosion of publication on early modern European witch beliefs is almost absolute. His-

torians, as said, are mostly under the impression that anthropologists have shown them the door, while those among the latter who are calling for collaboration

seem to be under the impression that research in Europe stopped around 1970, or at latest 1980. Mary Douglas, writing in I992, still accepted Margaret Murray's

specific model that had been offered for a supracontintental

region of the world or to any one historical period

21 Ibid., pp. 188-223, at p. 223.

22 George Clement

Bond and Diane M. Ciekawy, eds.,

Witchcraftdialogues:anthropological and philo-

sophicalexchanges(Athens, OH,

23 Barry


p. 5.

Hallen, '"Witches" as superior intellects: challenging a cross-cultural superstition', in

ibid., pp. 8o-ioo.

24 Wim van Binsbergen,


in modern Africa as virtualized boundary conditions

of the

kinship order', in Bond and Ciekawy, eds., Witchcraftdialogues,p. 243.

25 Adam Ashforth,'"Of secrecyand the commonplace": witchcraftand power in Soweto', Social

Research, 63 (1996),



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thesis that the people accused of witchcraft in early modern Europe were prac- titioners of a surviving pagan religion, which had been completely discredited in the i97os. When Hallen and Sodipo reviewed the comparative method in 1997, they apparently knew of no work on the European material published since

sense of its value. When Hallen returned to

the subject in the collection published in 2001, his sole example of it was a work

that had appeared in 197o. In his book in 1997 Peter Geschiere rightly castigated the historian Robert Rowland for having attempted a comparative exercise in

the I98os while citing just one publication by an anthropologist, from 1969. Geschiere's own sense of the state of European witchcraft studies, however, was still stuck in the I97os. The recent literature of witchcraft in extra-European societies has hardly ever contained the names of historians who have made the running in the study of early modern European beliefs during the 199Os, or indeed referred to the simultaneous burst of studies of witchcraft and magic in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern ancient worlds.26

The second major problem is that, having apparently been snubbed by anthropology, historians of early modern European witchcraft found new friends

in other disciplines, such as cultural studies, philosophy, psychology, criminology, literary theory, and the philosophy of science. These influences had considerable

effect in inspiring and conditioning the tremendous growth in studies of the early modern material since 1985, and could indeed give a strong impression that anthropology had been dispensed with profitably. Such an impression would, however, conceal an irony and a loss. The irony is that the new cultural history in which the studies concerned took their place was itself heavily influenced by anthropological thought. The loss is that those studies might have been still more valuable if they had borne any relation to the global context. Such a context was most obviously needed for the work of Carlo Ginzburg, whose attempt to derive

the early modern stereotype of the witches' sabbat from an ancient pan-Eurasian tradition of shamanism cried out for comparison with traditions of witches' gatherings in other continents; as will be considered further below. It would also, however, have been interesting to possess evaluations of Stuart Clark's analysis of

early modern demonology, Lyndal Roper's application of psychoanalytic theory to German witch trials, Robin Briggs's reconstruction of the role of neighbour-

hood tensions in accusation, James Sharpe's examination of the complex inter- play between learned and popular belief and Diane Purkiss's interpretation of witch trials in terms of cultural expectations (to name but a few examples) within

1971, which naturally affected their

26 Forrecentoverviewsin a verylargeliterature, see Christopher A. FaraoneandDirk Obbink,

eds., Magika hiera (Oxford, i99i);




and Hans

G. Kippenberg,





1997); Fritz Graf, Magic in the ancientworld (Cambridge,

1997); Bengt Ankarloo

Stuart Clark,eds.,Witchcraft and magic in

owninterventionin a major

debatein thisfieldwillbe foundin RonaldHutton,Witches,DruidsandKingArthur (London,2003),

pp. 98-II7.

Dickie,Magic and magicians

Europe: ancientGreeceandRome (London,1999); MatthewW.

inthe Greco-Romanworld(London,2ooi).My

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a broader international framework.27 Such evaluations would have suggested

which components of their findings were specific to time and place and which had more universal human implications.

The third major problem is that there is no general agreement on what a witch or witchcraft is supposed to be. Historians of Europe have tended to let their terms be defined for them by their sources, which had by I6oo produced a wide- spread stereotype of witches as adherents of a demonic religion. Anthropologists

have tended to use the terms as blanket ascriptions, while repeatedly worrying

about their efficacy, and then analyse the words employed in particular cultures for phenomena that can be associated with the English terminology. There is little

or no sense of a well-defined common

rest of this review will be devoted to proposing such a model, based on recent research from across the globe as well as data collected up to the past couple of decades.



model to which everybody is working. The


There is no doubt that the cross-cultural characteristics for the figure of the witch proposed in studies made before 1980 do need to be revised in the light of sub- sequent information. The model from 1970 to which Barry Hallen took exception

was proposed by Geoffrey Parrinder, and some of its components - that the stereotypical witch is female and identified with demonic pacts and orgiastic

gatherings - are clearly wrong in a global context."8 Rodney Needham's check- list, offered eight years later, holds up better, but still has features, such as the association of the witch with animals and with flight, that now seem less essential than others which are omitted.29 None of the work published since 1990, and

cited above, seems to offer a systematic global model, argued point by point. That of Andrew Sanders comes closest, but as a sociologist he is more concerned with different issues. Although he assembles much material on the nature of the witch figure in different societies, his central interest is in the relationship between

that figure and the pursuit of power through competitive social relationships.

The result is a masterly study of the sociological

beliefs rather than a sustained analysis of the constant and the variable charac-

teristics of the beliefs themselves. The present study rests largely on studies of witchcraft beliefs in a total of


aspects and consequences

148 extra-European societies, published between 1890 and 2002: ninety-three in

27 For recent general overviews of the early modern historiography, see Brian Levack, Thewitchhunt

in early modernEurope(2nd edn, London,

1995 ); Geoffrey Scarre andJohn


WitchcrafJ and magic in

sixteenth-and seventeenth-centuryEurope(2ndedn,London,2001); andP.G. Maxwell-Stuart,Witchcraft

in Europe andtheNew World,

I4oo-80oo(London,2001). The

specific studiescitedareCarlo Ginzburg,

Ecstasies (London, 1991); Stuart Clark, Thinking withdemons (Oxford, 1997); Lyndal Roper, Oedipus andthe

Devil (London,1994); Robin Briggs, JT'itches

and neighbours(London,1996);JamesSharpe, Instruments


darkness (London,

The witchin

28 Points well made in Hallen, '"Witches"

29 Needham,




history (London, as superior intellects'.

Primordialcharacters,pp. 26-42.


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sub-Saharan Africa, seven in India and Sri Lanka, twenty-eight in Australasia and

Oceania (Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands),

fifteen in North America (including Greenland), and five in South


done there, but also the sources available to a historian based in the United Kingdom as so much of that research was carried out by British scholars. There is enough data from the rest of the world to provide comparison with the African

material, and both may be assimilated to that from early modern Europe.31 A

comparison suggests that there is a fairly consistent image of the being to which

on five

English-speakers have given the name characteristics.

America.30 The

of Africa in the sample reflects the amount of work that has been

of witch,

and that it depends


first is that it defines a person who uses non-physical

means to cause

misfortune or injury to other humans.

that English-speakers have traditionally described as 'uncanny',

fall within the category


'supernatural'. This is the bottom-line definition to which all scholars who employ

the word 'witch' seem to subscribe. In 1970 Esther Goody defined witchcraft as

'the covert use of mystical forms of aggression by human agents'.32 To Rodney




30 To avoid blotting out whole pages of this review with the references, a hundred of these are

global context of the Scottish witch-hunt',inJulian Goodare,ed.,

identifiedin Ronald Hutton, 'The

The Scottishwitch-huntincontext (Manchester,2002),


Oldentimesin Zululand andNatal (London, 1929),pp.

17-18. To theseI have sinceaddedA. T. Bryant, 650-1; B. B. Whiting, Paiute sorcery(New York,

1950); S. F. Nadal, Nupereligion(London,1954),pp. 163-200; AnteraDuke and Cyril D. Forde, eds.,

Efik traders of oldCalabar (Oxford,1956), pp. 16-22; Victor Turner, Schismand continuity inan African society

(Manchester,1957); W. LloydWarner, A blackcivilisation:a social studyof anAustraliantribe (New York,

1958); L. W. Simmons,ed., Sun chief: the autobiographyofaHopi Indian (NewHaven, 1963),pp. 120,331-3;

K. H. Basso, Western Apachewitchcraft(Phoenix, 1969); Alan Harwood,

categoriesamong the Safwa (Oxford, 1970); K. M. Stewart, 'Witchcraft among the Mohave Indians', Ethnology, 12 (1973),PP. 313-24; Mary Patterson,'Sorcery and witchcraftin Melanesia', Oceania,45

(1974),PP. 132-60, 212-34; E. L. Schieffelin,The sorrow of the lonely andthe burningof thedancers (StLucia,

Queensland,1977);ShirleyLindenbaum, Kuru sorcery (PaloAlto, CA, 1979); Karen E. Fields, 'Political

contingencies of witchcraftin colonial central

pp. 567-93; Colin Turnbull, The forestpeople(London, 1984); R. D. Edmunds, TheShawnee prophet (Lincoln,NB, 1985),pp. 5-97; Bruce M. Knauft, Good company andviolence (Berkeley,1985); Gilbert

Herdt and Michele Stephen, eds., The religiousimagination in New Guinea (New Brunswick,1989),

pp. 122-59; George T. Emmons, The TlingitIndians, ed. Fredericade Lagona (Seattle, 1991); Birgit Meyer, 'If you area devil,you are a witch, and if you are a witch,you area devil',JournalofReligion in



G. Bailey, The witch-hunt: or, the triumphof morality(Ithaca, 1994); Abrahams, ed., Witchcraft in

contemporaryTanzania;Ashforth, 'Of secrecy and the commonplace'; Maia

pressionpractices and movements',Comparative Studiesin

Kapferer,Thefeastof thesorcerers


Diane Ciekawy,

Witchcraft, sorcery andsocial

Africa', Canadian Journalof AfricanStudies,16 (1982),

Africa, 22 (1992),pp. 98-132; Comaroffand Comaroff,eds., Modernity andits malcontents,pp.

Green, 'Witchcraft sup-

Society and History,39 (1997),PP.319-45; Bruce

Isak Niehaus, Witchcraft,

(Chicago,1997);Geschiere,The modernityofwitchcraft;



statecraft',African Studies Review,41 (1998),pp. 119-41; B. Rutherford, 'To find an

Douglas,'Sorcery accusations unleashed';

African witch', CritiqueofAnthropology,19(1999),pp. 89-io9; Bond and Ciekawy, eds., Witchcraftdialogues,pp. 39-79,

power and politics(London,2001); Stephen Pastand Present,175(2002), pp. 90-123. "3 To save space, again, thiswill be fed

Ellis, 'Witch-hunting in central Madagascar,1828-1861',

into the argumentsbelow, ratherthan listedhere.

32 EstherGoody, 'Legitimateand illegitimateaggressionin a west Africanstate', in Douglas, ed.,

W/itchcraftconfessions and accusations,p. 207.