Catalogue

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Black magic : religion and the African American conjuring tradition /
Yvonne P. Chireau.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003.
description
ix, 222 p. : ill.
ISBN
0520209877 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003.
isbn
0520209877 (alk. paper)
contents note
"Our religion and superstition was all mixed up" -- Conjure, Christianity and African American supernatural traditions -- "Africa was a land a' magic power since de beginnin' a history" -- Old world sources of conjuring traditions -- "Folks can do yuh lots of harm" -- African American supernatural harming traditions -- "Medical doctors can't do you no good" -- Conjure and African American traditions of healing -- "We all believed in hoodoo" -- Conjure and Black American cultural traditions.
catalogue key
5001982
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"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 ofSignifications: Signs, Symbols and Images in the Interpretation of Religion
Flap Copy
"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
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-07-01:
Chireau (Swarthmore) has produced an excellent study of the African American conjuring tradition, which has its roots in African religions. Building on Theophus Smith's groundbreaking work Conjuring Culture: Biblical Formations of Black America (CH, Jul'94), Chireau adds more examples, both past and present, for the existence of a conjure culture in African American religious traditions. In refuting the much-debated distinction between "religion" and "magic," Chireau argues that the magical aspects of African religions are an essential part of the religious cosmos and include both the good (healing, herbs, charms, and medicinal practices) and the evil (sending curses and witchcraft practices). Conjure culture lives on in the lyrics of blues music and Hoodoo influences in folk culture. In a fascinating historical discovery, Chireau shows the important link between the conjure tradition and the healing practices of sanctified churches, especially those of Bishop Charles H. Mason and the Church of God in Christ. Both conjure and Pentecostalism are united in the belief of a divine power that can affect this world. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and specialists in the field. L. H. Mamiya Vassar College
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Choice, July 2004
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This work looks at the origins, meaning and uses of Conjure - the African American tradition of healing and harming that evolved from African, European and American elements - from the slavery period to well into the 20th century. The author rewrites the dichotomy between magic and religion.
Main Description
Black Magic looks at the origins, meaning, and uses of Conjure--the African American tradition of healing and harming that evolved from African, European, and American elements--from the slavery period to well into the twentieth century. Illuminating a world that is dimly understood by both scholars and the general public, Yvonne P. Chireau describes Conjure and other related traditions, such as Hoodoo and Rootworking, in a beautifully written, richly detailed history that presents the voices and experiences of African Americans and shows how magic has informed their culture. Focusing on the relationship between Conjure and Christianity, Chireau shows how these seemingly contradictory traditions have worked together in a complex and complementary fashion to provide spiritual empowerment for African Americans, both slave and free, living in white America. As she explores the role of Conjure for African Americans and looks at the transformations of Conjure over time, Chireau also rewrites the dichotomy between magic and religion. With its groundbreaking analysis of an often misunderstood tradition, this book adds an important perspective to our understanding of the myriad dimensions of human spirituality.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
"Our Religion and Superstition Was All Mixed Up"
Conjure, Christianity, and African
American Supernatural Traditions
"Africa Was a Land a' Magic Power Since de Beginnin' a History"
Old World Sources of Conjuring Traditions
"Folks Can Do Yuh Lots of Harm"
African American Supernatural Harming Traditions
"Medical Doctors Can't Do You No Good"
Conjure and African American Traditions of Healing
"We All Believed in Hoodoo"
Conjure and Black American Cultural Traditions
Conclusion
Notes
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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