University of Exeter Offers UK’s First Postgraduate Degree in Magic and the Occult

If you’ve found yourself drawn to the world of crystals, manifesting, and exploring feminist perspectives on witchcraft, the University of Exeter is offering a unique opportunity to deepen your understanding with the UK’s inaugural postgraduate degree in magic and the occult.

A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Magic and Witchcraft

Scheduled to commence in September 2024, this groundbreaking course aims to tap into the burgeoning interest in these subjects. It will delve into the history and profound influence of witchcraft and magic across the globe, shedding light on their impact on society and science.

This multidisciplinary program will integrate facets of history, literature, philosophy, archaeology, sociology, psychology, drama, and religion. Through this diverse approach, students will gain insights into the role of magic in both Western and Eastern cultures.

Professor Emily Selove, Course Leader’s Perspective

Professor Emily Selove, who is at the helm of this pioneering course, emphasized the current surge in fascination with magic and the occult. She noted that these topics are intimately connected to pressing societal issues, including decolonization, exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism, and anti-racism.

Selove highlighted how this program represents a reversal of a trend seen in recent decades, where the study of magic and the occult was often dismissed as irrelevant to the modern world. She argued that magic permeates everyday life, evident in rituals like wearing lucky jewelry, knocking on wood, or superstitions related to sports events.

The Resurgence of Folklore and Alternative Spirituality

The resurgence of interest in folklore, witchcraft, tarot, and crystals is seen as a response to the decline of organized religion. Recent census data from 2022 in the UK revealed a growing number of people identifying as pagans, wiccans, and shamanists.

Selove emphasized that the MA in magic and occult science will challenge assumptions about the Western world as a bastion of rationalism and science, while the rest of the world is relegated to the realm of magic and superstition. It will explore how magic shapes Western culture and how it offers fresh perspectives on pressing global issues like climate change.

Academic Neglect and Scholarly Interest

Selove pointed out a growing acknowledgment within academia that texts dealing with magic and occult subjects have been systematically overlooked in fields like medieval and early modern history, literature, religion, science, and philosophy.

Since the program’s announcement, the university has received over 100 inquiries, indicating strong interest in this unique educational opportunity.

Combining Traditional and Alternative Approaches

The course will blend traditional academic methodologies with alternative approaches, allowing students to complete their dissertations through performance work. It aims to equip students with skills such as creative thinking, analytical thinking, curiosity, and lifelong learning.

Students will have the flexibility to choose from an array of modules, including those focused on dragons in Western literature, the legend of King Arthur, Islamic thought, archaeological theory, gender studies in various historical periods, and even the philosophy of psychedelics.

The University of Exeter’s MA in magic and occult science promises to be a transformative journey into the world of the mystical and the unexplained, offering a unique perspective on both history and contemporary society.

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