Mojo Workin’ – Katrina Hazzard-Donald

The development and practices of the African-American folk-magic tradition, largely secret to this day.

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Chicago, USA: University of Illinois Press, 2013. Paperback, 234 pages. New.

Subtitled, ‘The Old African American Hoodoo System’ this book explores the development and practices of the African-American folk-magic tradition, which is largely secret to this day. It  follows its emergence from African traditions to religious practices in the Americas. Working against conventional scholarship, Hazzard-Donald argues that Hoodoo emerged first in three distinct regions she calls “regional Hoodoo clusters” and that after the turn of the nineteenth century, Hoodoo took on a national rather than regional profile.

This is an important  interdisciplinary study: Hazzard-Donald examines material culture, divination rituals  and dance, and doing so gives deep insight into a hidden system which has operated for over a century in the Black spiritual underground. Katrina Hazzard-Donald is an associate professor of sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice at Rutgers University. 

“a key contribution to the study of Hoodoo in America, with some energizing new ideas about its origins, early expression, and broader religious aspects.”–Journal of American Folklore