CANCELLED CAS-E Lecture Series with Prof. apl. Dr. Iris Gareis (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main), “Magic and Witchcraft as Cultural Crossroads in the Colonial Andes”


Magic and Witchcraft as Cultural Crossroads in the Colonial Andes

Prof. apl. Dr. Iris Gareis (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Magic has played a major role in the encounter of cultural traditions throughout human history and became even more prominent in the age of European expansion to the Americas. Following the Spanish conquest of the Inca empire in 1532, in the emerging colonial cities Andean peoples, Spaniards and Africans lived together in close neighbourhood. Subsequently, interactions with the local population added new beliefs in magic and witchcraft to the early modern European magical knowledge. At the same time, Andean people and Africans adopted some ideas and rituals from the Spaniards. The shared belief that magic was effective and that it could be used to harm or to cure people provided the common ground of cross-cultural encounters and rituals through which magical knowledge and practices were further transmitted and negotiated. While for learned people and Spanish theologians magic was not real and a mere superstition, the majority of the colonial population conceived magical knowledge as necessary to counteract the effects of witchcraft, which was considered to be the cause of all kinds of misfortune. Although the early modern European elaborate witchcraft model was linked to the devil, a figure completely unknown to Pre-Columbian Andean thought, the fact that witchcraft was regarded as the source of illnesses and misfortune also by the indigenous and African people, made cross-cultural communication possible and eventually led to the fusion of the different magical traditions. Centering on the Peruvian north coast I will focus on the transformation from Pre-Columbian shamanism to present-day shamanic

23.01.2024- 18:15-19:45

Replacement for Dr Liana Saif (University of Amsterdam), Islamicate Magic in the Twelfth Century: Hermetic, Islamic, and Jewish Entanglements

Share this post:

Our latest Blog Posts