The Centre for Magic and Esotericism
  • The Centre for Magic and Esotericism

    Upcoming meetings and events

    Upcoming talk: Therapeutic Landscapes: ritual, folklore and wellbeing

    9th March 2024, University of Worcester

    Drama PGR, Sarah Scaife, will present on her current practice-based research project at: Therapeutic Landscapes: ritual, folklore and wellbeingUniversity of Worcester, 9th March 2024

    Sarah’s paper, Walking within and beyond spells of illness, reflects on her current practice-based research project which takes place in South Devon from deep winter to late spring, 2024. It takes the form of a series of six gentle, walking-based enquiries with people who have lived experience of breast cancer treatment. 

    This phase of her PhD research, supervised by Dr Bryan Brown, is an artistic- rather than clinical- trial to investigate the efficacy of a walking medicine in community. The series will include gentle but provocative prompts to create conversation and live experience which fertilises radical re-imaginings of our future selves. The enquiry with participants will range from ‘What brought you here?’ to ‘How might ritual space hold rich and honest dialogue about tender matters?’ 

    You can read more info here:

    ENSIE 2024 Conference: Dreams and Visions in Islam

    Previous meetings

    Nov 21, 2023 Visiting Speaker Professor Noah Gardiner, University of South Carolina

    Nov 24, 2023 Magic and Psychedelics part 2

    June 23, 2023 Roundtable discussion: ‘Magic, Esotericism, and the Psychedelic’  

    March 15th, 2023 Marion Gibson and Tabitha Stanmore Book Launch, including:

    March 8th, 2023 Michael Noble: Reflections on research on the Islamic occult as a window into cosmology and the hard problem of consciousness.

    October 19, 2022 co-hosted with the University of Exeter’s Center for Early Modern Studies

    Frank Klaassen (University of Saskatchewan), ‘Encomium nigromantici: A Reconsideration of Conventional Histories of Western Magic’. Frank is a specialist in this history of medieval and early modern magical texts and will be talking about how they fit into wider histories of western magic.

    September 28, 2022 Professor Tim Insoll: The ‘Magical’ Properties of Shrines and Figurines in Northern Ghana 

    The application of the term ‘magic’ to the study of West African archaeological and ethnographic material can be problematic in evoking grand evolutionary narratives, within which these materials were often categorized at the bottom of such schema, and essentialized as the ‘primitive other’. Yet, has the interpretive and descriptive potential of ‘magic’ altered and, like the use of ‘magical’ in African contexts now become more acceptable. This will be explored in relation to archaeological and ethnographic research completed on Tallensi shrines, substances, and medicine in the Tong Hills, and on archaeological figurines from Komaland, both in northern Ghana. It will be argued that ‘magic’ may have value if considered as part of a ‘bundle’ of phenomena rather than a unique descriptor.

    April 27, 2022 Sarah Scaife, Show not tell: ‘La Medicina Incerta

    March 24th, 2022 Samuel Gillis Hogan: “Fairies in Summoning Spells and Occult Philosophy, 1400-1700: The Articulation of a Learned Christian Animism at the Cusp of Modernity”

    February 23, 2022 Professors Catherine Rider and Dionisius Agius:  ‘Popular Healing: Christian and Islamic Medical Practices and the Roman Inquisition in Early Modern Malta’

    February 2nd, 2022 Howard Gayton, “Listening to the Land: Pilgrimage to COP26.”

    Nov 29th-30th, 2021 Medicine, Magic and Healing: a workshop organised by Professor Nahyan Fancy:

    October 27th, 2021 Dr. Kara Reilly: A Medium to History: The Lyric Theatre as a Hauntological Site

    March 3, 3021 Terri Windling: “The Modern Fairies Project”

    February 3, 2021 Dr. Luca Patrizi, “Hydromancy in the Ancient, Late Antique, and Medieval Islamic world”

    December 18, 2020 Michelle Szydlowski leads a conversation about the use and symbolic significance of animals in magic and beyond.

    November 17th, 2020 Anna Milon and Crystal Hollis, “Popular Magic: Then and Now” : register here:

    October 14, 2020 Professor Brian Rappert, “(In)Authentic Selves: How Magicians Craft Truth and Deception in Autobiographies”

    May 27th, 2020 Sarah Scaife, “Visions as practise in practice-based research.”

    April 3rd, 2020 Dr. Emily Selove, “Siraj al-Din al-Sakkaki’s Dangerous Books”

    March 18, 2020 Anna Milon, “The Wildest God: Margaret Murray’s influence on interpretations of the ‘Sorcerer’ cave image.”

    January 22, 2020 Samuel Gillis Hogan, “Stars in the Hand: British Latin Medieval Chiromancy and its Scholastic and Astrological Influences”

    December 5th, 2019 Professor Brian Rappert, “A Performance of Dissimulation: The Magic of Deception in Social and Political Life”

    November 7th, 2019 Dorka Tamás, ‘Sylvia Plath and the Supernatural: Witches and Magic in Plath’s Poetry and Fiction’

    October 10, 2019 Dr. Earl Fontainelle, ‘Latin as Diabolical Vox Magica in Horror Cinema’

    March 6, 2019 Dr. Bryan Brown and Olya Petrakova-Brown: MakeTank and methodologies of the drama department applied to the study of magic.

    February 15, 2019 Howard Gayton: How does one place personal experience and epistemologies within the academic study of magic?

    January 16, 2019 Anna Milon: “The Temptation of Margaret Murray”

    November 14, 2018 Professor Nick Groom: “The Vampire: A New History”

    October 10, 2018 Barbara Dunn: “The Astrologer and the Physician”

    May 30, 2018 Professor Marion Gibson: “Rediscovering Renaissance Witchcraft”

    March 28, 2018 Dr. Emily Selove, “A Medieval Arabic Handbook of Magic”

    February 21, 2018 Inaugural Meeting

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