PUBLIC LECTURE: Anti-Anti-Witchcraft: Why Humanitarian Concerns About "Witchcraft Violence" in Africa are Misplaced
|Anti-Anti-Witchcraft: Why Humanitarian Concerns About "Witchcraft Violence" in Africa are Misplaced
A public lecture by Adam Ashforth, Helmut F. Stern Professor, Institute for the Humanities, and Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, University of Michigan.
In recent years a number of international organisations and humanitarian groups, along with refugee activists and lawyers, have become concerned about violence against suspected witches in Africa, particularly when it involves “vulnerable groups” such as women, children, and the elderly. This talk argues that that the problem of witchcraft violence in Africa is extremely important, though not in the way humanitarians perceive it to be.
The extent of violence against suspected witches is minimal. The violence putative witches are perceived as perpetrating against members of their families and communities, however, is vast. Moreover, while violent punishment of “witches” does from time to time occur, the vast majority of witchcraft cases are dealt with without violence.
Drawing on recent research in Malawi, this talk will discuss witchcraft trials in a chief’s court and a magistrate’s court to show how local authorities are working to create a sense of justice and security in the face of what are perceived to be immense dangers.
Cost: free, but RSVP essential via https://www.ias.uwa.edu.au/lectures/ashforth
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