TTh 9:30-10:50, Parkes 222
Office: 1940 Sheridan Rd., Room 20, 491-2614
Office hours: TTh 3:30-4:30 and by appointment
Readings (available at Norris Center Bookstore):
Richard Kieckhefer, Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer's Manual of the Fifteenth Century (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998).
Lee Siegel, Net of Magic: Wonders and Deceptions in India (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).
T.M. Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch's Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).
Plus photocopy book (available at Quartet Copies, 818 Clark). Bring to class.
Schedule of lectures, discussions, and reading
Apr. 1st: Introduction: classical theories of religion and magic
A. Religion and magic in Asia
B. Religion and magic in Graeco-Roman antiquity and in the Middle Ages
C. Magic and witchcraft in tribal cultures
D. Cultural exchange: magic in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity
F. Modern ritual magic
Visitor. On May 13th we will have a visit by a German scholar named Johannes Harnischfeger, who has studied (and indeed had experience from the inside as a member-observer in) a Christian anti-witchcraft cult in Nigeria. He has videos and other materials to show. In addition to his appearance in class, he will be presenting a movie (Monday evening, May 12th, time and place to be announced) and leading further discussion on witch-hunting in contemporary Africa (Tuesday afternoon, May 13th, 4:00, in the Religion Department seminar room). The movie shows how a militia fights against alleged witches and uses computer animation to simulate occult forces (e.g., to show how sorcerers use magic to become bullet-proof or invisible). Participation at these events is expected for students enrolled in this class.
Reaction papers. For every class period students should write reaction papers of half a page to a full page. These should discuss the assigned readings, raising questions and making observations about matters of interest.
Term papers. Each student will write a paper of approximately 5,000 words on a topic approved by the instructor. This paper is due at the end of final exam week. Examples of possible topics:
But these are merely topics, and ideally the starting point for a term paper should be not so much a topic as a problem or question. Thus, for example:
Grades. Grades for the course will be based on class participation (33%), reaction papers (33%), and term papers (33%).
Societas Magica: Syllabus Project
Posted 15 May 2004