Call for Articles | The Material Culture of Magic

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 25, 2014

As posted at H-ArtHist:

The Material Culture of Magic
Book Project Edited by Antje Bosselmann-Ruickbie and Leo Ruickbie

Proposals due by 1 August 2014

Magic is a wide field of research comprising what we might call the occult, paranormal events, anomalous experience, spirituality and other phenomena throughout human history. However, research has often been focused more narrowly on the historical analysis of written sources, or the anthropology and occasionally sociology of practitioners and their communities, for example. What is often overlooked are the physical artefacts of magic themselves.

In all areas of research, ‘material culture’ is becoming increasingly important—the ‘material turn’ as it has been labelled. This is particularly the case for disciplines that traditionally have not focused on object studies but on theory such as historical or social sciences. However, it is self-evident that the objects emerging from a culture provide valuable information on societies and their history. This is also and particularly the case for magic and related phenomena. Magic, especially, became divorced from its concrete expressions as academic study focused on problems of rationality and functionalist explanation. (more…)