Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Amulets, Fortune-Telling, and Magic: North Africa
(774 words)

The role played by women in the production of magical discourses and practices in North Africa has been acknowledged since antiquity. Testimonies from ancient authors (Herodotus, Apuleius, Procopius) and medieval writers (al-Bakri, Ibn Khaldūn), as well as more recent and contemporary ethnographic works (Basset 1910, Doutte 1908, Westermarck 1933, Plantade 1988) confirm the age and permanence of these practices.

First brought to North Africa by Arab conquerors in the seventh century, Islam took definitive root in the less reachable areas of the region i…

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Plantade, Nedjima, “Amulets, Fortune-Telling, and Magic: North Africa”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 25 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0157c>
First published online: 2009

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