Friday, 9 August 2013

“In Defense of Pagan Studies: A Response to Davidsen's Critique"

The latest issue of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies has recently been uploaded to the Equinox Publishing website, with hard copies currently at the printers. As those familiar with my work will be aware, this is a peer-reviewed journal that I have regularly contributed to over the past few years, being the only academic journal devoted entirely to the field of Pagan studies, in which I partially specialise.

Once again, I have contributed to this particular issue, both with two book reviews and an opinion piece, in which I discuss the purpose and direction that the field of Pagan studies seems to be taking. Titled "In Defense of Pagan Studies: A Response to Davidsen's Critique", my essay is in part a critical analysis of a 2012 paper published by Danish religious studies scholar Markus Altena Davidsen of Leiden University. In his "What is Wrong with Pagan Studies?", published in the Method and Theory in the Study of Religion journal, he provided a scathing indictment of the state of Pagan studies, written from the perspective of an outsider to that field. Many of his arguments are useful and valid, and I would certainly encourage interested persons to read his work before my response.

Nevertheless, I felt that some of his points were unfair or misleading, and I noticed a plethora of factual mistakes in his paper which required addressing, lest those with little knowledge of contemporary Paganism(s) and Pagan studies assumed that they were correct. At the same time I wished to extend some of Davidsen's arguments to provide a wider critique of Pagan studies, centring particularly on the problems of terminology which plague the field. A PDF of my paper can be downloaded here for £14.00 (sorry it's so expensive; not my decision!).

However, my two book reviews, also published in this issue of The Pomegranate, are available as free PDFs, if you wish to download them. The first is a review of Witchfather, Philip Heselton's excellent two-part biography of the "Father of Wicca" Gerald Gardner, while the second looks at Michael G. Lloyd's ground-breaking biography of Eddie Buczynski, Bull of Heaven. Both books are really good reads, and I would certainly recommend that those interested in the history of modern Witchcraft and Paganism give them both a read. It is hoped that they serve to inspire and influence future scholars in producing further biographies of the key figures in Craft history.

No comments:

Post a Comment