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Saturday, 17 April 2010

A Modern Witch Hunt Among The Lango Of Uganda

A Modern Witch Hunt Among The Lango Of Uganda Cover

Book: A Modern Witch Hunt Among The Lango Of Uganda by Ray Abrahams

The material presented in this paper was collected in 1967 while I was carrying out research in Labwor, Northern Uganda, It concerns events which took place at that time in the neighbouring area of Lango District, the home region of President Obote. For a variety of reasons, I did not investigate these events in great detail and my information on them is incomplete in a number of important respects. At the time, I was anxious to complete my own work in Labwor and I was also aware that I could easily put this work and indeed myself, at serious risk if I began to take too clear and direct an interest in a potentially explosive issue in a District for which I did not have official Uganda Government research clearance. It is moreover quite unlikely that such clearance could have been obtained. In spite of the thinness of my data, I have thought it worthwhile to present it here for two main sets of reasons. Firstly Audrey Richards, to whose memory this volume is dedicated, was herself one of the very first anthropologists to document and analyse an African witch-finding movement (Richards, 1935); and she had additionally a strong and lasting interest in Uganda. Secondly, a1 though the events which I discuss here were the subject of letters to and articles in newspapers, they have never to my knowledge been the subject of an academic publication. Perhaps it is not too much to hope that my, albeit fragmentary, discussion of them here may tempt someone to embark on a more detailed study of them in the future. It is rather ironic in this regard that one of the more recent studies of the Lango (Curley, 1973) explicitly eschews discussion of witchcraft and sorcery on the grounds that they are not of great significance in that area. Curley's fieldwork was completed only a few months before the movement in question broke out, and he had clearly not kept in close touch with subsequent events. (Ray Abrahams)

Download Ray Abrahams's eBook: A Modern Witch Hunt Among The Lango Of Uganda

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