Zande witchcraft


Zande witchcraft is not simply a set of beliefs and practices, but is thoroughly embedded in the social and political organisation of Zande society. Discuss what such embeddedness can mean for the strength of Zande beliefs. In doing so, highlight those aspects of the beliefs that work to maintain the integrity of the overall system.

The Essay will be based on the set text (book) for this unit by Evans-Pritchard — the abridged edition of Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. You are asked to choose ONE of the following questions and to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the key concepts described in the book and discussed in class.

Please note that each of the following questions is best answered through a thorough appreciation of the book. Essays that clearly demonstrate an inadequate reading of the text and/or inattention to the relevant question will lose marks.

That said, students might wish to acquaint themselves better with the phenomena covered in the book by watching the 1980s documentary about Zande witchcraft that can be found on YouTube ( You can also watch the documentary about Evans-Pritchard (

In addition to knowledge of the book, the essay questions are designed to encourage comparison with other content covered in the unit.

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