Magical Interpretations, Material Realities: Modernity, Witchcraft and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa (Paperback) book cover

Magical Interpretations, Material Realities

Modernity, Witchcraft and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa

Edited by Henrietta L. Moore, Todd Sanders

© 2002 – Routledge (Supplementary (DRM-Free))

272 pages

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'Magical Interpretations, Material Realities brings together many of today's best scholars of contemporary Africa. The theme of "witchcraft" has long been associated with exoticizing portraits of a "traditional" Africa, but this volume takes the question of occult as a point of entry into the moral politics of some very modern African realities.' - James Ferguson, University of California, USA

'These essays bear eloquent testimony to the ongoing presence and power of the occult imaginary, and of the intimate connection between global capitalism and local cosmology, in postcolonial Africa. A major contribution to scholarship that aims to rework the divide between modernity and tradition.' - Charles Piot, Duke University, USA

This volume sets out recent thinking on witchcraft in Africa, paying particular attention to variations in meanings and practices. It examines the way different people in different contexts are making sense of what 'witchcraft' is and what it might mean.

Using recent ethnographic materials from across the continent, the volume explores how witchcraft articulates with particular modern settings for example: the State in Cameroon; Pentecostalism in Malawi; the university system in Nigeria and the IMF in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. The editors provide a timely overview and reconsideration of long-standing anthropological debates about 'African witchcraft', while simultaneously raising broader concerns about the theories of the western social sciences.


'This is a very useful collection of essays of essays discussing various aspects of beliefs and prosecutions of witchcraft in contemporary African societies.' - Anthropos

About the Editors

Henrietta L. Moore is Professor of Anthropology and Todd Sanders is a Research Fellow. Both are in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural