My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
21 March 2010 marks 50 years since the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, which is today commemorated annually as Human Rights Day in South Africa. To mark this event, the Democratic Governance and Right Unit (DGRU) of the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Political Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), are convening a conference to consider some contemporary issues confronting civil society activists and human rights practitioners. Papers, to be presented at the conference in March 2010, are invited to address the following themes / questions:
What is the meaning of Sharpeville in a contemporary context? How should we define the relationship between the state and civil society, contrasting 1960 and the post-1994 era?
Please send an abstract of 300 words to Dr Kristina Bentley, firstname.lastname@example.org by 2 October 2009. Authors of the selected papers will be invited to a workshop in early December to present their papers for discussion ahead of the conference in March 2010. The papers will be published in a special edition of a local peer reviewed journal.BACK TO TOP