SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

The 'Witchcraft of the House' Going Global: Occult Aggression, Intimacy and Transcontinental Migrants from Africa

Prof. Peter Geschiere (University of Amsterdam)

Date: 9 October 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 9 October 2013Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51

Type of Event: Seminar

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

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Peter Geschiere, Witchcraft

A central theme in discourses on occult aggression ('witchcraft')  all over the world is the close link with intimacy. Everywhere this inevitably raises the issue of trust: if your intimates have such dangerous power over you, how can you ever trust them enough to live and work together? This ambiguous linking of witchcraft, intimacy and issues of trust may be general, but it expresses itself in markedly different ways. Striking in comparative perspective is the impressive elasticity of 'the house' in many African contexts. With increasing mobility 'the house' in these contexts is still supposed to bridge the distance between village and city, even taking on transcontinental dimensions. African migrants are still seen as integral part of their house. This can mean continuous support, it often also means that the dangers of the house pursue them in new settings with the struggle over trust taking on new modalities. 

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