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Flashcards in MIDTERM 2 Deck (32):


Kuranko witch hunters who were also called witches


Doctrine of Effluvia

Said that witches afflicted others by venomous and malignant particles when a dog ate a cake made from her urine.


Martin Luther

Proposed changing elements in the church. If you had a lot of sin you could put money towards the church to alleviate the sin.


What were the theories for why the witch hunts happened?

Syphilis - people wanted to believe the witch hunts happened because of mass-insanity.

Social change - inflation, poverty, more competition for goods. Cost of goods increasing, harder to afford goods, more poverty. Accusations were a convenient way to deal with competition for goods.

Attacks on certain groups - Single women became a growing demographic and became a target because they stuck out.

Both the protestants and Catholics blamed each other for the witch hunts.

Nations would align with one church, enforce basic tenets in citizens. Those who rebelled were targeted as witches.


Witch hunt = women hunt

- motivated by misogyny
- witches weren't engaging in witchcraft, only requirement for accusation was being female
- this was to maintain control over society
- women seen as weaker, more sexual
- underlying hatred of women


Witch hunt = attacks on healers and midwives

- men didn't like that women were respected authorities
- trained doctors wanted to replace midwives, used witch trials to eliminate competition
- midwives knew about contraception and elites wanted to increase population, so this was problematic.


Witch hunts = paganism hunts

- witchcraft is a misidentification of ancient pagan practices that some were still doing
- witch hunts used to discredit and wipe them out
- little evidence for what these people were actually doing


What is the theory for why the witch hunts happened favoured by most scholars

Social change theory


Generalizations of witchcraft in Africa AIDS example

AIDS - witchcraft can explain the "why me" of getting AIDS
- AIDS functions similar to witchcraft in many societies
- delayed symptoms = coughing, diarrhea, weight loss etc traditionally interpreted as symptoms of witchcraft
- one's life is being eaten away by invisible forces
- witchcraft often seen as targeting children and fertility and AIDS is primarily passed through sexual contact


Kuranko Stereotype of witch vs ideal person

IDEAL - morgoye (personhood), generous, friendly, open, honest, devoted to family, male

WITCH - no personhood, greedy, resentful, predatory, attacks family, works with coven, female


Witchcraft in the Kuranko vs Early Modern Europe

- European witches not accused of eating organs
- Kuranko never accused of saying prayers backwards
- malformed, resentful bush people who lived outside of civilization (similar to pagans)
- lifeforce leaves their body while sleeping, witch has no control over this
- even though their life-force leaves their body, they are still responsible for the crimes they commit
- conviction of witchcraft usually led to nothing lol - only caused minor problems. This is contrast to Europe where it was punishable by death.
- othering - witches quintessential "other" in Europe and Africa


Stereotype of witchcraft in the Kuranko

- men can be accused
- can include deliberate actions like poisons and medicines, not just involuntary power
- can include anything with extraordinary power
- looks to confessions as another source of information about witchcraft
- those who confess are on their deathbed and/or killed
- illness is used as a means for confession to witchcraft because it gives meaning and agency to a women's illness
- by confession she can die with agency, because she is going to die anyways so being killed isn't a bad thing


Can Jackson's analysis be applied to early modern Europe?

Were European women who confessed to witchcraft reclaiming autonomy in a hopeless situation?
- maybe?? witches in Europe who confessed were already being arrested and tortured. Only a matter of time before they died. Some witches may have confessed in order to speed up the process and avoid more torture or incarceration. People are scared of torture so they'd rather die, but we don't have any evidence for these ideas.

Is it fair to compare African and European witchcraft?
- possible condescension in comparing the two. Sometimes a derogatory attitude/colonialist or racist ideologies that people don't always pay attention to.

Are the terms used in Africa really translatable to witchcraft?
- same type of magic in European context?
- scholars object to translating terms into English, something must be understood in it's own terms. Forms of magic differ from each other and cannot translate directly to other cultural groups. Jackson disagrees and still uses witchcraft and magic even though he knows different cultures use these things differently.

I think it is a convenient term to lump things together that we do not understand. Magic is a term used to "other" anything that is different and is a scholarly wastebasket of a term, just like Smith says.


Mobility theory for witchcraft - cross cultural model

- James L Brain
- particular social groupings more likely to have witchcraft
- hunter gatherer societies very rarely have witchcraft because men and women are seen as equal
- those tribes that do have witchcraft tend to have an attachment to property and identify witches coming from another tribe
- no big deal, they just leave the area.
- societies with little/no mobility and high attachment to property are more likely to have witchcraft beliefs
- when property is threatened, reactions against witches stronger
- early modern europe and kuranko fit this model
- witches usually assumed to be women because in these societies, property is inherited through the males. Women have no claim to property. Underlying fear that women want the property and will use means to get it.

Brain - level of mobility can predict whether a society will have witch beliefs



beyond the range of ordinary knowledge, mysterious, hidden, secret



one of the founding fathers of medicine


Anomalous objects

Things we don't expect to exist (aliens)


Anomalous processes

ordinary things or events in extraordinary circumstances come up with unique results - putting a pin in a voodoo doll to cause someone's death. Neither pins nor dolls are inherently weird. But if you think the combination of the things causes harm, that's weird. Also astrology.



replaced the word occult
catch all term for things that are not religious, scientific


Institutional esotericism

Rosicrucians, Freemasons, Magical orders. These institutions have an element of secrecy built in. Initiations involved. Groups with large membership, buildings dedicated to them.



- 17th C Germany
- Christian-centric worldview
- texts offer transformative knowledge that will reform society
- some people think these texts were written as a joke.
- Christian Rosenkruz travelled around and founded the Fraternity of the Rose Cross.
- dedicated to healing people



- largest secret society in the world today
- Grand Lodge formed in London n 1717 and this was the historical founding of them
- mythical origins - King Solomon and building first temple in Jerusalem. Like masonry carves a stone in to a perfect form, Freemasonry carves the perfect person through knowledge
- anyone male, white, over 21 and believes in supreme being can join
- three degrees
- secret handshakes
- all must remain secret



1800s-1900s obsession with Egypt after Napoleon's Campaign. He brought scholars with him who would study artifacts. 19th C Magical Orders combined Egyptian, Rosicrucian and Freemasonic


Cipher Manuscripts

Contained all forms of Western cult thoughts. Their own collection. Had mythical origins. Hidden information that only the insider group had access to.


Magical order

Purpose of the group was to perform magical rituals, make Gods appear and speak to humans.



Divine figure, servant of Horus.Dictated over his shoulder this philosophy and wrote down in book of law.


Book of Law

Aleister Crowley. Crowley saw himself as the forerunner as a new wave. Era of self knowledge and realization. Book cryptically written. Adds to mystique. Content should not be shared.



this magic mean to distinguish itself from regular magic. Real supernatural power vs the other stuff that gets called magic (fakery).


True Will

not conscious intent, not what you want to do. The union of the deepest depths of your soul and what the universe wants for you. Your soul is somehow related to the entire universe. Dictates what is correct for each person. No ethical laws. Just your duty to do whatever your true will dictates.


Prisca theologia

pristine religion that is the root of all others


World Teacher

highly evolved figure who would direct the whole world to reach this perfect religion


Eddy Brothers

Two mediums who were running the spirit show that Helena and Henry met at