ANTH108-24S1 (D) Semester One 2024 (Distance)

Witchcraft, Magic and The Dead

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


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. 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.

Learning Outcomes

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.

University Graduate Attributes

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.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 Online Delivery
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
02 Thursday 12:00 - 13:00 Online Delivery
19 Feb - 31 Mar
29 Apr - 2 Jun
03 Friday 11:00 - 12:00 Online Delivery
19 Feb - 24 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
04 Friday 12:00 - 13:00 Online Delivery
19 Feb - 24 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
05 Friday 14:00 - 15:00 Online Delivery
19 Feb - 24 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
Workshop A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 15:00 - 17:00 Online Delivery
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
02 Tuesday 15:00 - 17:00 Online Delivery
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun
03 Wednesday 15:00 - 17:00 Online Delivery
19 Feb - 31 Mar
22 Apr - 2 Jun

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Lyndon Fraser


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Learning journal 35%
Fieldwork report 30% 1500 words
Witchcraft Essay 35% 1500 words

Indicative Fees

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 .

All ANTH108 Occurrences

  • ANTH108-24S1 (C) Semester One 2024
  • ANTH108-24S1 (D) Semester One 2024 (Distance)