Sorcery and the Anthropology of Evil

Subject 121-062 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Mary Patterson
Subject Overview:

This subject entails a cross-cultural and historical investigation of the beliefs and activities seen as manifestations of evil in the world, from sorcery and witchcraft in Africa, the Pacific and the Americas to witchcraft revivals and 'witch hunts' in the modern world. Students completing this subject should be able to make a critical analysis of the ways in which anthropologists have attempted to explain the phenomena in question; understand the nature of beliefs and practices about supernatural malevolence in relation to arguments about rationality; and present some arguments about the interpretation of evil in society in relation to issues of race, class, gender and colonialism.

Assessment: A research essay 2000 words 50% (due at the end of semester), a tutorial assignment of 500 words 10%, a take-home examination of 1500 words 40% (due mid-semester).
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader will be available from the University Bookshop at the beginning of semester
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have practice in conducting research and speaking articulately;

  • have practice in writing clearly in a variety of formats and reading with attention to detail;

  • have experience of systematically evaluating a body of empirical data and identifying its theoretical context;

  • have experience of methods of critical inquiry and argument leading to improved analytical skills;

  • have acquired awareness of issues relating to cross-cultural communication.


This subject will be offered in alternate years.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (Anthropology)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Anthropology and Social Theory)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Anthropology and Social Theory)

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