Parish, JAE (2017) Uncanny objects and the fear of the familiar: Hiding from Akan witches in New York City. Journal of Material Culture. ISSN 1359-1835

[thumbnail of Uncanny objectsfinaldocument.pdf]
Uncanny objectsfinaldocument.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (146kB) | Preview


This article examines the cosmology and secret practices of West African traditional priests in New York City in preventing the spread of witchcraft, an evil invisible spirit transmitted between female members of the Akan matrilineage. Explored is an uncanny dynamic as everyday habitus becomes increasingly strange in the world of a young Ghanaian woman in the Bronx, who has become petrified of insinuations of witchcraft from close family members. In trying to hide the young woman from infection by her fellow witches, Akan priests attempt to ‘capture’ her habits and everyday routines, calling upon the iconic magic of New York City in order to ‘misplace’ familiarity within the anonymity of Manhattan. In this process, the transmission of the witch’s spirit to the intended victim is disturbed as the victim’s life and things are moved. Nowhere to be found, the witch shifts her attention to other victims.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) will be available online via Sage Publications at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Akan witchcraft, uncanny, New York, objects
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 May 2017 11:26
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2017 14:58

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item