The understanding of how gender roles are assigned to abstract issues like witchcraft beliefs, remains a challenge to contemporary African historians. Witchcraft as a significant area of humanistic study, has not sufficiently engaged historians and literary critics. Scholars in Religious and Cultural Studies in Nigeria have made efforts to interpret witchcraft as an aspect of the tradition of various Nigerian groups. In this paper, witchcraft is examined as a phenomenon and a historical assumption based on gender disparity. Combining primary sources from the National Archives of Nigeria and secondary sources in books and journals, this research dissects witchcraft stigmatizations in the light of historical truism. African historiography and literary scholars could benefit from researches on witchcraft by placing it properly in historical chronology and perspectives but most importantly by situating witchcraft phenomenon properly as a frontline and burning topic in understanding the gender politics of the African past and present.

Author Biography

This is a revised draft of a paper presented at the First International and Interdisciplinary Conference on “Witchcraft: Meaning, Factors and Practices” organized by BIC Ijomah Centre for Public Policy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka 26-27 November 2019. We are indeed grateful to Professor Egodi Uchendu and other scholars for their comments on the initial draft of this paper.

Uche Uwaezuoke Okonkwo holds a PhD in History and Strategic Studies of the University of Lagos and teaches Social History and Gender Studies in the Department of History and International Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

V.O Eze, Corresponding author of the paper holds a PhD in English and Literary Studies, and lectures in the English Unit, General Studies Division, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Victor Ukaogo holds a PhD degree in History from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and is currently a Professor of Environmental and Diplomatic History, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Stella Okoye-Ugwu PhD holds a PhD in English and Literary Studies of the University of Nigeria and she is a Senior Lecturer in the same department with research interest in Gender and Cultural Studies.

F.O Orabueze PhD (University of Nigeria, Nsukka) is a Professor of English and Literary Studies and the first female Director Centre for African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the leader of Moving Train Research Group.