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DVD / video DVD / video Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Witchcraft among the Azande
Editors:Singer, AndréISNI
Ryle, JohnISNI
Series:Dissappearing world series
City of publisher:London
Publisher:The Royal Anthropological Institute
Geographic term:Sudan
videos (form)
anthropological films (form)
Abstract:E.E. Evans-Pritchard's book 'Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande' (1937) has become a classic of both ethnography and theories of witchcraft. Now, anthropologist John Ryle and filmmaker André Singer, who was himself one of Evans-Pritchard's students and has published on the Azande, have teamed together to produce this film. Singer wanted to learn for himself the accuracy of Evans-Pritchard's analysis and to note the changes since the original fieldwork carried out between 1926 and 1930. Among the Azande, witchcraft is considered to be a major danger. Because of this danger, effective means of diagnosing witchcraft are vital. One method is through the use of an oracle. Several kinds of oracles are explored in the film, the most important being 'benge', a poison which is fed to baby chickens. Anthropologists have long argued about the nature and significance of beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery and, more generally, about the similarities and differences between 'traditional' thought and Western science. This film treads a delicate path, exploring an explanation of reality incomprehensible to a majority of Westerners and, at the same time, trying to portray the Azande as a clear-thinking, and almost familiar group of people. Zande is not a static society and much has changed since Evans-Pritchard's original fieldwork. The area filmed is influenced by Catholicism. The older people see their children abandoning traditional moral and other values. The power of beliefs in witchcraft and oracles, however, remains. [Abstract reproduced from video]