Witchcraft, Oracle, And Magic Among The Azande Chapter Summary

Good Essays
Leah Harris
30 January 2017
Book Review

Evans-Pritchard, E.E. Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.

Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande, is based off anthropologist E.E Evans-Pritchard’s field study among the Azande tribe in Central Africa. The first thing he comes to learn is how mangu, witchcraft, is very “ubiquitous” within their society, and how no can really know they possess this gene unless they receive an autopsy. Although, they do not fully understand how witchcraft works, it is their logical explanation for their misfortunes in life. He learns that when they encounter these misfortunes, they can consult with oracles and witch-doctors, so they can find the witches responsible
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This can be seen when his servant, Kamanga, starts to become a witch-doctor in training, and he learns how to put on a show than heal people. He occasionally lets his personal beliefs come first and makes few derogatory statements that comes off as mocking them, such as Zandeland. Also, he fails to expand more on the difference between witches and sorcerers and the roles women in witchcraft. Can they become witch-doctors or be of high power like the men? Can they administer the poison for the benge? Or, are they only able to do basic witchcraft?
Overall, Pritchard’s Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande, does a decent job analyzing the Azande and their beliefs with cultural relativity. Instead of looking at them as being a “primitive society”, he attempts to see the validity in their beliefs, more than the people who came before him. Even with the occasional dry humor and debatable feelings of how he looks at witchcraft, he still is able to make a strong and convincing argument for the Azande and for their beliefs to be taken seriously in their
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