Next Inform Seminar:
‘Transformations of Paganism – Identity and Practice’
Will be held online Thursday 9th December 5:30-7:30 pm GMT
To register please make a donation. A link to the event will be sent to the email address associated with your PayPal account. If you cannot make a donation at this time, please email Inform@kcl.ac.uk to register.
Pagan traditions are incredibly adaptive and have inspired human cultures in both novel and traditional ways over the millennium. This seminar will focus on the transformations of Paganism in Europe and on the internet over the past twenty years.
Much of contemporary paganism is politically inclusive and supportive of liberal democracy, embracing a spectrum of sexual, disability, neurodiverse, and ethnic diversity amongst their membership and ideology. Many individuals have embraced presentations of pagan identity on social media, bringing paganism to the digital native generation – with the popularity of #WitchesofInstagram as just one example. Pagan practices and rituals have proven resilient to virtual transmission and communities of practice have flourished online.
But at the same time, there has been an appropriation of Pagan, particularly Heathen, symbols and ideas amongst sections of the far-right, as well as an increase in activity amongst far-right Heathen groups, such as the Asatru Folk Assembly’s proposal to open a ‘whites-only’ church in the US.
In both cases, what might be called a Pagan aesthetic is at the fore with new media adding new transformations to older themes and tensions. In addition, Pagan identities overlap with both global environmental and ethnic nationalist identities and calls for direct action.
- How do developments in Paganism over the last two decades relate to questions of identity and practice?
- To what extent are identities and practices developed primarily in relation to local ancestors and lineages?
- To what extent are Pagan identities and practices cultivated as opposition to other groups?
- What are the relationships between new Pagan movements, political or not, and the older, more established Pagan organisations?
Topics and speakers will include:
- “Is Druidry an indigenous religion?” – Dr Suzanne Owen, Reader in Religious Studies, Leeds Trinity University
- “Transformations in identities and ideologies in Wicca, from Witchcult to saving the world” – Dr Melissa Harrington, press officer for the Pagan Federation, and a trustee of the Pagan Federation International, and Lucia Harrington, student at Glasgow University and outreach link for Extinction Rebellion Glasgow
- “Diversity in Paganism and the Pagan Community” – Sarah Kerr, President of the Pagan Federation
- “Un-Vikinging the past” – Dr Rune Rasmussen, independent scholar and founder of https://nordicanimism.com/
- “Tropic Thunder: Germanic Paganism in a new global context” – Ross Downing, Independent Scholar
with Professor Graham Harvey, Religious Studies, Open University responding
Other Upcoming Events:
Inform and the TRS Department at KCL look forward to hosting the British Association for the Study of Religion‘s Annual Conference in September 2022