The Decline of Magic? Workshop II

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Virtual workshop series organized by Jan Machielsen (Cardiff) and William Pooley (Bristol).

In the almost fifty years that have passed since the appearance of Keith Thomas’s Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971), a huge range of work by historians, folklorists, anthropologists and literary scholars has complicated and refined our understanding of the supposed “decline of magic” from the seventeenth to the twenty–first century. And yet in many ways this explosion of new research has raised more questions than it has answered: not simply when, how, and why magic declined, but even more fundamentally whether “decline” is the right way to think about the history of magic at all.

Chair: Will Pooley

Brendan Walsh – The Demonologist King James Stuart’s Role in the Collapse of English Protestant Demonology
Laura Kounine – Emotions, the Body, and the Supernatural in an 18th-Century German Criminal Trial
Respondent: Andrew Sneddon


Kristof Smeyers – Religious Disenchantment in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Qualifying the Supernatural
Jan Machielsen – Making Witchcraft a Thing of the Past. Scholarly Masculinity and the Origins of Witchcraft Historiography
Respondent: Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott

Thursday 23 July 10:00-12:00 BST


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