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Close Reading: Modernity and Witchcraft in West Africa

In brief:

REPORT: Students undertake close reading of two anthropological texts on witchcraft in a particular part of the world (as assigned/agreed upon in class), then produce a 1500 word reporting showcasing a close and critical analysis (and comparison) of these texts.


Your report should show a very close engagement with the two texts: Understanding of each, but more importantly comparison and connection between them. It should evaluate them at a more ‘meta’ level as academic sources and also situated cultural artifacts (i.e. what are the epistemological underpinnings of each? What paradigms does the author apply?) and also contextualize them as part of the broader body of academic work about witchcraft; What does the idea of witchcraft represent emic-ly in the location you studied? What contribution have studies of this area made to etic/anthropological understandings of the social construction of evil?

Personal Notes: For outline, I was thinking the sections could be;

1. Introduction
2. Summary of both articles
3. Contextual Background (The how, where, when, why the authors are writing the articles),
4. Focus and Epistemological Underpinnings of the Article (discussing what angle/focus the author has, how they gathered their data, and they analysed the data)
5. Analysis section( critiques if their data gathering and analyzing process is effective for their topic, as well as highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the articles in relation to anthropological goals for the study of religion, society, evil)
6. Conclusion (could make a creative link between the two sources and the overall themes, and synthesize these meanings to integrate them into a wider theoretical question on the topic of anthropology)


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