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The Modernity of Witchcraft

Politics and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa
Translated by Janet Roitman and Peter Geschiere. Peter Geschiere

BUY Paper · 311 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813917030 · $29.50 · Apr 1997

To many Westerners, the disappearance of African traditions of witchcraft might seem inevitable wuth continued modernization. In The Modernity of Witchcraft, Peter Geschieres uses his own experiences among the Maka and in other parts of eastern and southern Cameroon, as well as other anthropological research, to argue that contemporary ideas and practices of witchcraft are more a response to modern exigencies than a lingering cultural custom. The prevalence of witchcraft, especially in African politics and entrepreneurship, demonstrates the unlikely balance it has achieved with the forces of modernity. Geshiere explores why modern techniques and commodities, usually of Western Provenance, have become central in rumors of the occult.

About the Author(s): 

Peter Geschiere is Professor of African Anthropology at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. He is the author of Pathways to Accumulation in Cameroon, Old Modes of Production and Capitalist Encroachment, and Village Communties and the State.

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