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18 January 2024 - 18 January 2024

4:00PM - 6:00PM

Pemberton Rooms PG21, Palace Green, Durham University, DH1 3RL

  • Free

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A seminar about the long history of references to liver and heart-eating witches in medieval texts from the Indian sub-continent, and how these reflect popular attitudes about women's bodies and roles in society.

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Raw Livers and Rampant Lovers poster

Part of the South Asia seminar series

Speakers: Annie Zaidi (chair), Dr Shamira Mehgani

Even today, across South Asia, a witch’s gaze or ‘nazar’ is feared as a consuming force with a particular preference for human hearts and livers. Such ideas find resonance in both folklore and contemporary fiction where the witch appears as a liver-eating female monster whose victims are often men.

This event will discuss Durham PhD scholar Annie Zaidi's ongoing doctoral research on witches in contemporary South Asian fiction. These include the theory that ‘consumption’ by a witch-protagonist is more metaphoric than literal and that the literary witch serves as a vehicle for the expression of popular ideas about women’s bodies and appetites. Dr Shamira Mehgani, Assistant Professor in our Department of English Studies, will also be speaking at the event.