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Assignment: In the book, Salem Possessed, and the
article “Tituba’s Confession,” which people actually did something that
anthropologists would classify as magic or witchcraft? Analyze their actions according to the
anthropological definitions of “magic” and “witch” (see definitions
below). Find passages in the book that
describe the actions of any individuals around Salem that anthropologists would
classify as magic or witchcraft practices.
Please note that many people around Salem were accused, but they did not
all do things that anthropologists would classify as magic or witchcraft; other
people actually did things that would be considered magic or witchcraft, but
were not accused. Provide a detailed
description in your own words (paraphrase), and explain why such actions are
considered magic or witchcraft according to the anthropological definitions
below. Explain why the accusers in Salem
might have accused some and ignored others who did anything magical or
witchcraft-like. There are numerous
instances in the book, so pick and choose your examples carefully to give the
best analysis. Three examples is
standard in a short paper like this, but you’re welcome to include more.
The Puritans believed that witches harmed
people through magic. But for most of
the accused, there was little material evidence that they were doing anything
that involved the use of magic. There
were also some who were not accused who were doing things that anthropologists
would classify as magic or witchcraft. The
Puritans accused people of witchcraft based on “spectral evidence,” which would
not stand up in a court today. The accusation of spectral evidence is not the
same thing as actual behaviors that indicate use of magic or witchcraft; it was
just “made up” stories by the accuser. What
you should be looking for is actual behavior that anthropologists would
classify as magic or witchcraft.
Definitions:
Anthropological definition of “witch” – A
“witch” is a person who is suspected of harming others through supernatural means [“using magic”],
whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Such practices are “witchcraft.”
Anthropological
definition of “magic” – “Magic is a practice that effects change through supernatural force or energy, by
invoking, acquiring and using the power of the spirit world to accomplish
specific, intended, aims; magic includes the use of spells, formulas, and
incantations used with spirits, deities or with impersonal forces; a belief in
magic exists in all cultures, and in all religions.” Keep in mind that magic can be used either to
help people or to harm people.
Sir James George Frazer distinguished two
types of magic:
— imitative magic (also called
“homeopathic” magic) – produces a desired effect by imitating
the magical action desired; for example, drinking an infusion of
lung-shaped leaves to remedy a lung infection; sticking pins in voodoo dolls to
imitate the action of stabbing someone, or of magic darts entering their
body. To paraphrase Frazer’s words,
“Like produces like, or has an effect that resembles its cause.”
— contagious magic – whatever is done to an object is believed to
affect a person who once had contact with it; so, contagious magic
would be a spell that is cast over an article of clothing, someone’s
possessions and, especially, body products from the intended victim, such as a
lock of hair or fingernail clippings.
“Contagious” has to do with direct contact. To paraphrase Frazer’s words, “Things
which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other
at a distance after the physical contact has been severed.”
Details:
Guidelines:
These instructions
are very detailed, so that students who want to know how to make a good grade
will know what is expected, and how the papers will be graded. Study the slide shows “How to Write an Expository Essay,” and “How to
Paraphrase” for help with writing and guidelines on how the papers are
graded. One of the biggest mistakes
students make is to not read instructions carefully. Use the checklist
to make sure you have covered all bases (see Checklist, separate document).
Overview: Make sure your
paper is a Word document. Do not use
“quotations.” Paraphrase. Be sure to use in-text citations, with the
page number or location number in every instance where you found the data. Include a Title Page and a Bibliography. The minimum length required is 1,200 words – just
the text of your analysis, not the title page or bibliography. Students who are going to use their paper for
the Writing Proficiency Portfolio (WPE) are welcome to write longer papers to
fulfill the length requirement for WPE.
Do not use footnotes, endnotes, or subtitles. Double-space.
Format in Microsoft Word. Make
the title of your Word file include your first and last name. Upload on Blackboard, and be sure to keep a
copy of your confirmation number or receipt.
What
you need to do, to prepare:
First,
read Salem Possessed and “Tituba’s Confession.” These two sources offer somewhat different
perspectives on witchcraft practices in 1692 Salem. Look for evidence of people “using magic”
according to the definitions provided at the beginning of this assignment. Pick at least three (or more) instances where
it could be argued that “magic or witchcraft was being used” and discuss them,
weighing the evidence with anthropological concepts. Overview: Make sure your
paper is a Word document. Do not use
“quotations.” Paraphrase. Be sure to use in-text citations, with the
page number or location number in every instance where you found the data. Include a Title Page and a Bibliography. The minimum length required is 1,200 words – just
the text of your analysis, not the title page or bibliography. Students who are going to use their paper for
the Writing Proficiency Portfolio (WPE) are welcome to write longer papers to
fulfill the length requirement for WPE.
Do not use footnotes, endnotes, or subtitles. Double-space.
Format in Microsoft Word.
What
you need to do, to prepare:
First,
read Salem Possessed and “Tituba’s Confession.” These two sources offer somewhat different
perspectives on witchcraft practices in 1692 Salem. Look for evidence of people “using magic”
according to the definitions provided at the beginning of this assignment. Pick at least three (or more) instances where
it could be argued that “magic or witchcraft was being used” and discuss them,
weighing the evidence with anthropological concepts.
Sources: Only use these two sources,
and not any other sources: the book Salem
Possessed and the article “Tituba’s Confession.” Do not copy any material off the Internet or
in any other sources. All of your data
should come from just these two sources.
Use the definitions provided in this assignment – do not cite
dictionaries, encyclopedias, or Wikipedia for anything.
Rubric
– Suggested Structure (Expository Essay Style):
This is only a suggested structure. The essay must be in expository essay style,
which generally follows a structure like the one below.
1. Introduction: The first paragraph introduces the essay
topic, as well as the concepts you are going to use to analyze it. One of the sentences in the first paragraph
must clearly state the thesis of your essay – explain your position on the use
of magic in 1692 Salem. Another sentence
should provide a road map that briefly tells the reader at least three instances
that you are going to analyze from the sources that anthropologists would
consider as “using magic” or “engaging in witchcraft.” This paragraph should be around one-third or
one-half a page.
2. Background: The second paragraph should concisely
summarize what happened in 1692 Salem, in a few sentences. This paragraph should be around one-third or
one-half a page. Do not use “quotations”
as a replacement for an explanation in your own words.
3. Analysis (several paragraphs): Subsequent paragraphs analyze the examples of
instances where you determined someone was “using magic or witchcraft”
according to the above anthropological definitions. Organize your paragraphs around specific
examples or around people, whichever way you prefer. Each paragraph should be about half a page. There may be some cases where you want to
expand your analysis; if a paragraph becomes longer than half a page, look to
see if it can be divided into two or more issues that can be analyzed in
separate paragraphs.
4. Conclusion: The last paragraph should offer some overall
insights (something more than just a summary of the points you already
made). What patterns do you detect in
the 1692 Salem witch hunt?
Format: The paper has to be formatted in Microsoft
Word, or it will not be accepted, because I use Word technology to grade the
papers. Your paper must have a separate
title page at the beginning and a separate bibliography page at the end, all in
the same (single) Word file as the text of your paper. Do not use footnotes,
endnotes, photos, or photos and decorations.
Double-space the text of your essay.
Use one-inch margins. Do not
right-justify the text. Use 12-point
font that is easy to read such as Cambria (Mac) or Times (PC). The Title Page must not have any extra formatting
in it – no Microsoft picture frames or style formats – just type the title,
your name, course number, etc., on the title page, and that’s all. Keep it simple and business-like. Use the Chicago style of citing sources
(Author-Date-Page) in each in-text citation (inside of your sentences) and place
the full reference information in the bibliography (author’s full name, date,
full title of the work, place of publication, name of publisher). Be sure to include a page number or location
number for all citations.

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