Sorcery & Witchcraft-Related Killings in Melanesia — Canberra, Australia

Australian National University logoThe Australian National University presents Sorcery and Witchcraft-Related Killings in Melanesia: Culture, Law and Human Rights Perspectives Conference June 5-7, 2013. The call for papers deadline has passed.

It has been widely believed that sorcery and witchcraft declines with modernity, but evidence from Melanesia, where a sharp increase in accusations of sorcery and witchcraft have resulted in horrendous attacks on alleged practitioners, shows that this is not true. In Papua New Guinea, for example, a pervasive culture of insecurity and fear is developing. The negative effects of such beliefs impinge upon issues as diverse as economic development, elections, civil unrest and criminal activity. Very little of the voluminous, largely anthropological, literature on sorcery and witchcraft in Melanesia considers how this issue can be addressed in policy and practical terms. This interdisciplinary conference and workshop will bring together academics (with backgrounds of law, anthropology, gender and human rights), policy-makers, human rights activists and other practitioners from the region for a constructive dialogue to develop practical and workable solutions to the issue of sorcery and witchcraft, and particularly the problem of sorcery and witchcraft-related killings.

The conference and workshop is being organized by the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia and the Regulatory Institutions Network, with funding support from the Research School of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University and the ANU Gender Institute.