Paper $22.50 ISBN: 9780226322360 Published July 2018
Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9780226322223 Published July 2018
E-book $10.00 to $22.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226322537 Published July 2018 Also Available From

The Trials of Mrs. K.

Seeking Justice in a World with Witches

Adam Ashforth

The Trials of Mrs. K.

Adam Ashforth

192 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Paper $22.50 ISBN: 9780226322360 Published July 2018
Cloth $75.00 ISBN: 9780226322223 Published July 2018
E-book $10.00 to $22.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226322537 Published July 2018

In March 2009, in a small town in Malawi, a nurse at the local hospital was accused of teaching witchcraft to children. Amid swirling rumors, “Mrs. K.” tried to defend her reputation, but the community nevertheless grew increasingly hostile. The legal, social, and psychological trials that she endured in the struggle to clear her name left her life in shambles, and she died a few years later.
 
In The Trials of Mrs. K., Adam Ashforth studies this and similar stories of witchcraft that continue to circulate in Malawi. At the heart of the book is Ashforth’s desire to understand how claims to truth, the pursuit of justice, and demands for security work in contemporary Africa, where stories of witchcraft can be terrifying. Guiding us through the history of legal customs and their interactions with the court of public opinion, Ashforth asks challenging questions about responsibility, occult forces, and the imperfect but vital mechanisms of law. A beautifully written and provocative book, The Trials of Mrs. K. will be an essential text for understanding what justice means in a fragile and dangerous world.  
 

Contents
Prelude
Introduction

1 The Most Abhorrent Crime
2 The Name of the Witch
3 A Fair Forum?
4 A Witch in the Family
5 The Case of the Kasitos
6 When a Witch Confesses
7 A Child’s Tale
8 Judgment Day for Mrs. K.
9 Human Rights, Norwegians, and the “President of Witches”
10  “Material Dreaming” and the Ways Witchcraft Stories Work
11 Truth and Consequences: The Work of Witchcraft Stories
12 In Defense of Witch Trials
 
Acknowledgments
Appendix 1: The Malawi Journals Project
Appendix 2: Alice_090312
Appendix 3: Bibliographic Essay
Works Cited
Index
Review Quotes
Katherine Luongo, Northeastern University
“Ashforth has written a marvelous, original book that brings together the rich ethnographic qualities of his memoir, Madumo: A Man Bewitched, and the trenchant political analyses of his monograph, Witchcraft, Violence, and Democracy in South Africa. His investigation of the ‘modernity of witchcraft’ clearly demonstrates that witchcraft is squarely of the here and now and profoundly present in the everyday lives of the ordinary Malawians whose stories the text pursues. Ashforth’s highly accessible prose transports the reader deep into the world with witchcraft that his subjects inhabit, making this a vivid and fascinating book.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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