The Black Witch: Ontological Power, Black Worldmaking, and Spiritual Co-Creation


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation is an ethnographic and historical study of contemporary Black witchcraft. The Black witch’s multiple presences appear in Facebook groups like “The Witches Brew: Indigenous Rootwork and Conjure,” on popular Instagram accounts like @thehoodwitch, and at local events like the Detroit Hoodoo Festival. Examining three areas—community gatherings, ritual activity, and one’s understanding of self —this project identifies how Black witches create African-derived, multi-religious Black space, how they heal themselves and their communities, and explores their use of spiritual tools to manifest their desired worlds. It argues that Black witches are interweaving Black feminism with an African-derived religious orientation to produce an internal capacity for transformation and are co-creating a communal power unentangled with an oppressive nation-state.