The Empty Seashell explores what it truly is prefer to dwell in a global the place cannibal witches are undeniably genuine, but too ephemeral and contradictory to be an item of trust. In a e-book in line with greater than 3 years of fieldwork among 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for individuals within the coastal, and predominantly Christian, group of Buli within the Indonesian province of North Maluku are either corporeally genuine and essentially unknowable.
Witches (known as gua within the Buli language or as suanggi in nearby Malay) seem to be usual people yet occasionally, particularly at evening, they take different kinds and assault humans so as to kill them and consume their livers. they're probably in every single place and nowhere even as. the truth of gua, as a result, can by no means be pinned down. The name of the booklet comes from the empty nautilus shells that often waft ashore round Buli village. conference has it that when you discover a stay nautilus, you're a gua. just like the empty shells, witchcraft regularly turns out to recede from experience.
Bubandt starts the booklet by means of recounting his personal confusion and frustration in coming to phrases with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. an in depth ethnography of the encircling inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the realization that a lot of the anthropological literature, which perspectives witchcraft as a process of ideals with actual explanatory energy, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli humans does not clarify something. in reality, it does the other: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s notion of aporia—an interminable adventure that continues to be constantly in doubt—Bubandt indicates the necessity to take heavily people’s experiential and epistemological doubts approximately witchcraft, and descriptions, by means of extension, a unique mind set approximately witchcraft and its relation to modernity.