Autumn/Winter 2020 programme for Centre For Pagan Studies Zoom talks and lectures

Title: “What is remembered lives.”

Photo of Jennifer Uzzell Speaker at Centre For Pagan Studies
Speaker: Jennifer Uzzell

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Date: Thursday 15th October at 19:30 UK time
About: This talk explores afterlife beliefs, a bit about funerals and death ritual, and a bit on my own research into landscape, memory and death and grief theory.
Speaker Bio: Jennifer Uzzell is a PhD student at Durham University working under the auspices of the Centre for Death and Life Studies and based in the department of Theology and Religion. She is conducting research into death rites among contemporary Druids in the UK including funeral ritual and natural burial. In addition to her PhD research, which she is conducting on a part time basis, she is also co-owner and director of a progressive funeral home that forms part of a growing movement in the UK towards greater openness, honesty and authenticity in the way funerals are arranged and conducted In this capacity she has helped to re-imagine and design funeral rituals that are relevant to those involved and has provided help and advice with ‘home funerals’. She is also a Religious Education Consultant, who has worked in a number of capacities for the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, and a senior examiner in Religious Studies. As well as Druidry, her academic interests include Hinduism, Buddhism, the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics.
Contact: Jennifer Uzzell. J.s.uzzell@durham.ac.uk


Title: “British Occult and New Age Spirituality Bookshops from the founding of Watkins Books to the Rise of the Internet.”

profile photo of Dr Shai Feraro Speaker at the Centre For Pagan Studies
Speaker: Dr Shai Feraro

Date: 25th October 2020 at 19:30 UK time

Topic: In this talk Dr. Shai Feraro will share with you some exploratory notes from his upcoming research project, which will examine the cultural and intellectual history of occult and New Age spirituality bookshops in the UK, and he will illuminate their function as hubs and spaces for the transference of knowledge and information within these respective milieus, c. 1893 – c.1993.
Its time frame will be dictated by the founding of Watkins, the first British bookshop to dedicate itself specifically to occult literature and one of the oldest such establishments in the anglophone world, and by the rise of the Internet, which has since replaced bookshops as the chief space for the exchange of relevant knowledge. Dr. Feraro will aim to show how these literary establishments were simultaneously dependent on and cultivated a large array of networks concerned with ‘rejected knowledge’, and the project will thus contribute to the history of British occultism and New Age spiritualities as key elements in the late modern history of alternative religiosity.
Speakers Bio: Dr. Shai Feraro is a research fellow at Tel Hai College, and serves as Secretary of the Israeli Association for the Study of Religions. He is the author of Women and Gender Issues in British Paganism, 1945-1990 (2020), and has co-edited Contemporary Alternative Spiritualities in Israel (2016) and Magic and Witchery in the Modern West (2019), all published by Palgrave Macmillan.


Title: “Hermetic Meditation –
A system of meditation for Wiccans Pagans and those inspired by the western initiatory tradition.”

Speaker: Rufus Harrington

Date: Sunday 15th November at 19:30 UK time
About: Rufus Harrington invites you to an evening of mystery and magic. He learned Hermetics in his own training in an Alexandrian Coven in the 1980’s. He now trains students from all over the world. If you would like to experience the magic of this system He will provide an introductory workshop for the DVF. He will explain how the system works and then lead you on a Hermetic meditation to give you an experience of the remarkable impact this type of meditation can have.
Speaker Bio: Rufus Harrington is a Trustee of the DVF. He was a friend of Doreen Valiente. He is a Wiccan Priest initiated in 1983, and has trained and initiated Priests and Priestesses ever since. He is also a psychotherapist and Senior University Lecturer. He has trained over 200 psychotherapists to work in British National Health Service. He recently won a national award for his innovative Wiser Mind Resilience training programme and he plays drums in a band!


Title: “The Identity of the Witch in Contemporary Culture”

photo of Dr Laura Kounine
Speaker: Dr Laura Kounine

Date: Sunday 6th December 2020 at 16:00 UK time
Topic: “My new project aims to examine the figure of the witch from the early modern period, through the 18-19th centuries, and then into the 20th century and today. It examines the meanings that have been attributed to the figure of the witch, how these have been gendered, and whether and how these have changed over time. “ “I am particularly interested in the ‘explosion’ of witchcraft in popular culture today, for instance in TV and Film (e.g. Sabrina the Teenage Witch remake; The Witch; Fort Salem; The Third Day), and in youth subcultures (there are 4 billion views of ‘WitchTok’ on TikTok). I am also interested in what practicing Witches make of this emerging popular youth subculture of witchcraft, as well as how Witches I have interviewed understand their ‘identity’ as a witch, and their histories of witchcraft. In this talk, I aim to discuss these different understandings of the identity of the witch in contemporary culture. I am also particularly interested to hear from practitioners in this talk.”
Speaker Bio: Dr Laura Kounine is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Sussex. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, and has published several books on early modern witch beliefs, including Imagining the Witch: Emotions, Gender and Selfhood in Early Modern Germany (Oxford University Press, 2018); and an edited volume on Emotions in the History of Witchcraft (Palgrave, 2017). She has published a number of articles on the history of emotions, and the gendering of witchcraft. She was recently the recipient of a British Academy Rising Stars Engagement Award for her work on Emotions, Subjectivity and Historical Self-Narratives.

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