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Module code: AN170
Credits: 7.5
Semester: 2
International: Yes
Coordinator: Dr Thomas Strong (ANTHROPOLOGY)
Overview Overview

Witchcraft, magic, and other forms of ‘occult’ or ‘mystical’ powers have long been a source of anthropological fascination. Sometimes, these kinds of practices seem to symbolize exotic beliefs and incommensurable cosmologies, challenging our preconceptions about rationality and human nature. Yet anthropological analyses of witchcraft have also shown that modern ideas about “risk” and “responsibility” follow social scripts that are not dissimilar from those of the seemingly irrational belief in witchcraft. The anthropological lesson is that the dangers and mysteries we imagine for ourselves, alongside our conventional habits of who we choose to blame for misfortunes, function ideologically to reproduce core cultural values. If this is true, how might we understand the surge in contemporary interest in things occult, from Wicca to #WitchTok? This module surveys anthropological analyses of black magic, juju, sorcery, flying witches, spiritual warfare, shamanism, magical healers, and more: and shows how these fantastical figures do not belong to a past superseded by a scientific and secular modernity, but have come to find a home even in that hard to understand otherworld we call the internet.

Open Learning Outcomes
Open Teaching & Learning methods
Open Assessment
Open Autumn Supplementals/Resits
Open Timetable
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