What is the Witch Institute?
In the last few years, the witch has re-emerged as a powerful political symbol. Across cinemas and television, in books and podcasts, and via hashtag activism, the proliferation of the witch in media signals a critique of the existing world order and its reliance on the subjugation of marginalized peoples. In order to better understand the meaning and impact of current media representations of the witch, we will hold an expanded conversation between activists, artists, filmmakers, curators, historians, scholars, witches, feminists, healers, and more.
The Witch Institute is a collaborative meeting space for those who are interested in responding to contemporary imaginings of the witch in popular and visual culture. It is a place to share diverse understandings of witches and witchcraft, and to complicate, reframe, and remediate media representations that often continue to perpetuate colonial, misogynistic, and Eurocentric stereotypes of the archetypal figure.
The Witch Institute will present a keynote lecture by Dr. Silvia Federici, along with a series of talks, panel discussions, film screenings, art exhibitions, performances, and workshops occurring over August 16 to 22, 2021. All events will be free, open to the public, and accessible online. Registration opens January 25, 2021.
Call for Proposals:
We are seeking round table participants and workshop leaders. We invite proposals from artists, researchers, and practitioners. We encourage a diversity of voices as part of this exchange, and highly encourage submissions from members of marginalized communities, including BIPOC and 2SLBGTQ participants.
Round Tables. We are looking for participants who wish to discuss their research with a group. Each session will include 3-4 artists, researchers, or practitioners. Attendees will read short texts (maximum 5-pages in length) or review documentation of panelists’ work in advance. The sessions will be devoted to 75-minute moderated discussions.
Workshops. We are seeking proposals for 60-minute interactive virtual sessions.
We invite proposals that contribute to topics including, but not limited to, the following:
- Witchcraft and Colonization: colonial denigration and erasure of Black or Indigenous spiritual knowledges and practices; reclamation of Black or Indigenous spiritual knowledges, practices, and more-than-human relationalities as anti-colonial resistance or as decolonial projects; cultural evolutions, exchanges, and appropriations among historical and contemporary witch practices.
- Witch Hunts and the State: on-going witch hunts and their interconnected histories of colonization and globalization; witch-hunting as state-sanctioned violence; enforcement of anti-witchcraft legislation in colonial, postcolonial, and settler-colonial nation-states.
- Technology and Magic: traditions of magic, alternative healing practices, and/or spirituality as technology; visual effects, illusions, and magic on screen and stage; technological mediation and the supernatural; technology and the senses; the body and other mediums for spiritual messages.
- Witchcraft as Ritual, Practice, and Pedagogy: ritual as a form of learning-by-doing; oral traditions and decolonial practices of knowledge transmission; pedagogical uses of the witch, witchcraft, and/or ritual practices; the perspectives of contemporary practitioners; religious lineages of Wicca and Paganism; intergenerational exchange, kinship, more-than-human relations, and covens; the relationship between witchcraft and feminism.
- The Witch as Text: representations of the witch, witchcraft, and spiritual practices in literature, film, music, fashion, art, and popular culture; the commodification of the witch; texts as restoring, or healing the denigration of colonization; shifting perceptions, receptions, and circulations of witchcraft in the context of colonization and globalization.
Those interested in participating in the round table or organizing a workshop, please submit:
- a 250 word abstract of your research or description of your workshop
- which of the above topic(s) you see your work fitting into (if applicable)
- for roundtable submissions: 2 or 3 questions you would like to discuss with a group who will read your paper/look at your artwork in advance;
- a 150 word bio.
Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 25, 2021.
The Witch Institute is committed to accessibility in all phases of the project. If you have any questions or needs concerning this call, please feel free to send Emily Pelstring (she/her) an email at email@example.com.
This project has received SSHRC funding.
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