Visiting Lectures on Magic in Religious Studies and in the Western Intellectual History
In cooperation with the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, Bernd-Christian Otto, one of the leading experts on magic in Western religious and intellectual history, a fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Bochum University, and an associated fellow at the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Erfurt University will hold three guest lectures on magic at the University of Tartu from March 20 to March 22, 2019.
At this very moment, a global discourse of contemporaneous self-proclaimed ‘magicians’ is flourishing more or less below the radar of the scholarly community and media awareness. These self-proclaimed ‘magicians’ (which may today amount to roughly one million) practice a ritual art usually denoted as ‘magick’ and bear witness to their experiences by means of a large variety of publication activities. The lecture will present findings from a cooperative research project entitled ‘Mapping Modern Magic(k)’ (with Prof. Egil Asprem, Stockholm, and Prof. Marco Pasi, Amsterdam, as co-researchers) that strives to systematically map and analyse the internal structures and networks, the formation of groups and schools, the self-perceptions and experience reports, and the conceptual and ritual dynamics of this discourse. The project is ambitious and challenging insofar as the said discourse is inherently global and transcultural as well as extremely heterogenous. One of the main goals of the project is to develop an analytical matrix that helps to map and organise the manifold material; this matrix will be presented and discussed during the lecture. Finally, a range of explanations will be provided regarding the (unexpected?) persistence, innovativity and popularity of ‘magick’ in the (post-)modern West.