Navigating history in anthropology: modern witches and expanded historicities




The historical turn in the 1980s demonstrated how historical dimensions are integral to anthropological research. However, presenting a viable historical context does not necessarily take into account the varieties of historical experiences. Modern witches in the UK have long been grappling with claims about the past through a range of historical registers – empirical, mythic, material, sensory, and even magical. In this paper I consider how these expanded witchcraft historicities can help think about everyday history-making.  

Dr Helen Cornish is an anthropologist (Goldsmiths) interested in the practices and politics of history-making and how these are navigated through official and informal sources, including the imagination. My research has focused on how modern witches and Wiccans in the UK have navigated challenges to claims about the past, and one key site has been the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, in Cornwall.  

Helen will be speaking LIVE @UCLAnthropology and on ZOOM. Sign onto eventbrite here