One of the problems with the Mpumalanga Witchcraft Suppression Bill was that it used terms like “zombies”, but failed to define them. Perhaps the legislators could benefit by sending someone to this conference: TheoFantastique: Call for Papers: Interdisciplinary Academic Study of Zombies:
The Religion and Popular Culture group on Yahoo! recently issued the following call for papers:
Call for Papers: An Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays on the Zombie
We are seeking proposals for an interdisciplinary edited volume discussing the zombie from a wide variety of perspectives and within a wide range of contexts. We encourage submissions from any discipline, including but not limited to English literature, film studies, media studies, cultural studies, gender studies, queer studies, philosophy, religious studies, anthropology, sociology, history, psychology, economics, and political science. We especially welcome new approaches to the study of zombies. In addition to theoretical essays on zombies, we also welcome critical discussions of specific zombie films, novels, and graphic novels, including those both pre- and post-Romero.
I blogged about the Witchcraft Suppression Bill soon after it was published (Notes from underground: MPUMALANGA WITCHCRAFT SUPPRESSION BILL 2007), and was glad to note that it was subsequently withdrawn (Notes from underground: Witchcraft Suppression Bill put on hold) a year later. Perhaps politicians need to realise that not every problem can be solved by legislation, and especially not by hasty legislation in which terms are not defined.
While there is indeed a problem of “witchcraft-related violence”, such violence is already illegal — there are laws against murder, arson, assault and malicious damage to property, and those who perform such acts can be prosecuted under existing laws.
In the mean time the conference may, or may not, turn up some useful information. Perhaps someone could propose a paper on the Mpumalanga Witchcraft Suppression Bill itself.