Use the Tab and Up, Down arrow keys to select menu items.
This course aims to challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about witchcraft, magic and the dead, as well as introducing students to key anthropological concerns such as ritual, symbolism and religion.
This course provides an introduction to the anthropological study of witchcraft, magic, death, spirits, and afterlives. It takes inspiration from some of the classic works in anthropology and cultural history, as well as exciting new research that has greatly expanded our knowledge of these topics. In our first section we critically examine how we might approach ways of being that are often radically different from our own. It acts as a foundation for the topics that follow, encouraging us to place beliefs and practices in their historical and social contexts, and to understand why they have significance in people’s lives. The second part of the course explores deathways and spiritual realms in cross-cultural perspective. We carry out fieldwork at two sites in Christchurch. After the mid-semester break, our attention turns to witchcraft, sorcery, and witch-hunting in the past and in the contemporary world. We focus here on key themes that include relationships of power and subjugation, the roles of gender, and the politics of representation.
This course will enable each participant to:- Consider witchcraft, magic, and death in human societies from an anthropological perspective.- Compare and contrast magical beliefs and practices, and their place in people’s lives, in both the past and in the contemporary world.- Discuss the significance and meaning of religion, symbolism, and ritual, and their relationship to topics explored in the course.- Critically reflect on the nature of knowledge and norms, including indigenous models, in a personal learning journal.- Complete a research project that applies anthropological frameworks developed in the course to the study of death in a particular context.- Critically assess primary source materials related to witchcraft and witch-hunting.- Contribute effectively in group and co-operative work.- Develop an anthropological imagination for the study of humanity.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Biculturally competent and confident
Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.
Engaged with the community
Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Domestic fee $844.00
International fee $3,950.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences