Talks for our first panel, ANTHROPOCENE MAGIC Jan 15 2021, 6pm GMT, are now available to watch online! To register for the free online live Q&A, please visit the CRASSH website.
Unlike one popular of idea of magic as the ability to change the world at will, this panel discusses the notion of magic as collaboration with non-human beings and investigates the significance of animism for the critical theory of Anthropocene discourse and practice. Why is ecological thinking today so interested in magic? What does “magic” mean in an environmental context? What practices are being described, and who practices them today? In this opening panel, anthropologist Richard Irvine and magical practitioner, author and artist Lupa introduce us to the relationship between ecology and magic.
Richard Irvine is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at St Andrews University. An anthropologist with a special interest in ecology and magic, he works across three ethnographic fieldsites: Orkney and East Anglia in the UK, and Tuv aimag in Mongolia, and his interests span environmental change and religious life. He has published widely on the Anthropocene, spiritual practice and deep time, and is the author of numerous articles, including: “Anthropocene East Anglia,” Sociological Review 65 (2017): 154-170; “Seeing Environmental Violence in Deep Time: Perspectives from Contemporary Mongolian Literature and Music,” Environmental Humanities 10 (2018): 257-272; with T. Kyriakides, “Just out of Reach: An Ethnographic Theory of Magic and Rationalisation,” Implicit Religion 21 (2019): 202-222. His most recent monograph is An Anthropology of Deep Time: Geological Temporality and Social Life (2020).
Lupa is a writer, artist and magical practitioner based in Portland, Oregon (USA). They use three-dimensional sculptures as statements on the problems we face, pairing aesthetic attraction with harsh realities. But they also invite others to seek solutions, offering relationships with sacred artefacts and the transformational rites they may incite in one’s life. Lupa draws on the tradition of the Wunderkammer, the cabinet of natural curiosities that serves as a personal museum, to encourage people to bring reminders of the nonhuman world even into their very homes. Lupa is the author and editor of several books on the ecology of magic, including Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic (2006), Talking about the Elephant: An Anthology of Neopagan Perspectives on Cultural Appropriation (2008), and Nature Spirituality from the Ground Up: Connect with Totems in your Ecosystem (2016). Lupa posts regularly about their work on www.thegreenwolf.com.
Chair: Simone Kotva is post-doctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo, where she works on the “Ambivalences of Nordic Nature: Gift, Guilt, Grace” project.