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Timely Stories of Witches and Pastoralists

Two stories that appeared this week are timely for my classes.

1) Thanks first to Alex for the the link to the story about witch executions in Papua New Guinea. The article worked well in my Anthropology of Religion class, particularly after watching the film ‘Witchcraft Among the Azande’ last week. Alex’s comments about the story, and about the challenges of cultural relativism in this case, are also useful.

2) As noted by the Protecting Knowledge Discussion Group (and Reuters), pastoralists in Kenya are hard hit by drought this year. The article presents a terrific depiction of the pastoral economy and, in particular, the reasons why it works in dry areas and fails in desert conditions. The story fits in well with my economic anthropology lectures, scheduled in the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology this week and next.

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  1. orange. wrote:

    Unfortunately the article not further specifies, what makes a witch in Papua New Guinea, despite of the accusation of being one.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 2:53 am | Permalink
  2. orange. wrote:

    hm. Perhaps this is a constituting element of discourses on witches in general.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 2:55 am | Permalink
  3. Interesting observations, Anna … perhaps Alex could help us here. Defining witches locally is, I would expect, a central part of understanding witchcraft more generally.

    Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 3:35 pm | Permalink