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Black Magic - Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction 1. "Our Religion and Superstition Was All Mixed Up" Conjure, Christianity, and African American Supernatural Traditions 2. "Africa Was a Land a' Magic Power Since de Beginnin' a History" Old World Sources of Conjuring Traditions 3. "Folks Can Do Yuh Lots of Harm" African American Supernatural Harming Traditions 4. "Medical Doctors Can't Do You No Good" Conjure and African American Traditions of Healing 5. "We All Believed in Hoodoo" Conjure and Black American Cultural Traditions Conclusion Notes Index

About the Author

Yvonne P. Chireau is Associate Professor of Religion at Swarthmore College and coeditor, with N. Deutsch, of Black Zion: African American Religious Encounters with Judaism (2000).


"Chireau has written a marvelous text on an important dimension of African-American religious culture. Expanding beyond the usual focus of scholarship on Christianity, she describes and analyzes the world of magical-medical-religious practice, challenging hallowed distinctions among "religion" and "magic." Anyone interested in African-American religion will need to reckon seriously with Chireau's text on conjure." - Albert J. Raboteau, Princeton University "Deprived of their own traditions and defined as chattel, enslaved Africans formed a new orientation in America. Conjuring - operating alongside of and within both the remnants of African culture and the acquired traditions of North America - served as a theoretical and practical mode of deciphering and divining within this, enabling them to create an alternate meaning of life in the New World. Chireau's is the first full-scale treatment of this important dimension of African American culture and religion. A wonderful book!" - Charles H. Long, Professor of History of Religions University of California, Santa Barbara and author of Significations: Signs, Symbols and Images in the Interpretation of Religion"

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