Review Of "Conjure In African American Society" By J. E. Anderson

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In



Anderson (history, Middle Georgia College) looks at the history of black American magical beliefs and practices that are known variously as hoodoo, voodoo, "tricking," mojo, and conjure, among other terms. According to Anderson, conjure is not a religion, for it lacks the developed theology of most syncretic faiths and focuses instead on practical objectives, including physical healing and empowerment, sexual coercion, aggression, and self-defense. Conjure traditions developed as a combination of African, Anglo-American, and Native American sources, and settled into two primary regions in the US--the Latin and the English cultural zones. This book draws from a rich secondary literature and contains a literature review, illustrations, and an appended note on sources and methodology. Absent from this study is any sustained treatment of the local development and meaning of magic within the multiple contexts in which it appears. Lacking narratives of historical change and social transformation, the book reduces African American conjure to a singular and invariable category. Summing Up: Recommended. Libraries with history, black studies, and religious studies collections supporting upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

This document is currently not available here.