The Whatsapp circuit has been hit by the news of a centre affiliated to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka calling for papers for a conference on Witchcraft and, by implication, witches. If everything goes according to plan, the conference would be taking place from November 25th – 28th, 2019 in the university. The cover page picture here says it all.
Only last week, Intervention posed the rhetorical question as to whether Professor OBC Nwolise of the Department of Political Science at the University of Ibadan who has been writing on the subject of Strategic Spiritual Intelligence as a cultural resource worth researching and deploying is talking nonsense or igniting epistemic fire. Well, this week, the poser has an answer that makes the question no longer rhetorical.
There is no knowing yet whether Prof Nwolise is formally connected to the process but, as the pioneer explorer of what hitherto was in the realm of the crazy or the nonsensical, he is sure to be liberally referenced by paper presenters at the impending conference. If that happens, it will be another feather to UI’s capacity to still set the research agenda in Nigeria.
The novelty in what is unfolding is how it has not been the practice in this land to talk about such things as witchcrafts, fortune telling openly unlike in other lands. All such esoteric practices were dealt deadly blows by the positivist epistemological cant which came with colonialism. They have subsequently been seen largely as primitive, fearful realms and unworthy of scholarly investigation. Those writing and holding conferences on the subject might be on to a revivalist exploration. No one can tell what they end up with at the end of the day.
Below is the 2016 video from the University of Cape Town in South Africa where the same rumbling is going on!