Thursday 1 February 2018

Folkish Heathenry and Modern Satanism: My 2017 Publications

2017 was a busy year for me as my PhD research continued apace, and unfortunately several other projects, such as this blog, fell by the wayside somewhat. However, I was able to get a few academic publications out reflect the increasing diversification of my research interests and which may interest some of those reading this blog.

The Journal of Religion in Europe published my article on “Northern Gods for Northern Folk: Racial Identity and Right-Wing Ideology among Britain’s Folkish Heathens,” itself based on a presentation given at the “Generation Hex: The Politics of Contemporary Paganism” conference held at Cambridge University in September 2015. This article was the first sustained exploration of Folkish Heathenry in Britain to be published in an academic form and hopefully offers a useful complement both to Mattias Gardell’s excellent work on Folkish Heathenry in the United States and to Robert Wallis and Jenny Blain’s research into Universalist Heathenry in Britain. I also hope that it serves as a timely reminder that although in the popular imagination modern Paganism is often stereotyped as a left-wing, ‘hippy-esque’ phenomenon, there are also modern Pagan groups of a decidedly right-wing and ethno-nationalist bent. The only way for scholars to really get to grips with modern Paganism as a contemporary milieu is to recognise this diversity of perspectives. This was my first publication to deal explicitly with the intersections of ‘religion’ and ‘politics’, a theme that I intend to pursue in further depth over coming years.

The second publication of note that I produced last year was a review essay put together for Correspondences: An Online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism, the excellent open-access journal put together by Aren Roukema, Jimmy Elwing, and (as book review editor) Egil Asprem. The review is titled “Sympathy for the Devil: A Review of Recent Publications in the Study of Satanism” and provides an overview of three good publications on the subject that have appeared in recent years. Moreover, after reviewing these tomes it also offers my own thoughts on the development of the field and some of the terminological and taxonomic issues it has thrown up.

In addition, I’ve also had the privilege of reading and reviewing a range of books for such journals as the Religious Studies Review, Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, and Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture. I’ve also brought out a couple of reviews for the Reading Religion website (of Kaarina Aitamurto’s Paganism, Traditionalism, Nationalism and Christopher Bader et al’s Paranormal America). Anyone unfamiliar with this site, which is run by the American Academy of Religion (AAR), should definitely check it out. Unlike most journals, Reading Religion makes its reviews of the latest publications in the study of religion freely available for all to read. It’s a brilliant idea which will hopefully help to make scholarly research access to a far broader audience outside of the so-called ivory tower. I have recently had the honour of having been invited to join the site’s editorial board, which is an exciting prospect. Hopefully, 2018 will prove to be as interesting and as productive.