CFP: Magic for Profit: Circulations of Narrative and Profit in Commercial and Popular Magic
American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting
Drawing on ethnographic work from around the globe, panelists will examine the contested spaces where magic – widely defined to include
magico-religious healing, performance, and art— becomes popular, commercial, and commodified. In these spaces, money (and the desire for money) circulate within (and around) narratives about magic and its place in “tradition” or history. This panel will locate the ways that magic’s efficacy, importance, and relevance continue to be exercised in light of commodification.
More specifically, ethnographic cases will illuminate instances of conflict, for example, when the salesmanship of magic leads to criticism by community members who resent the commodification of cultural property or the high prices charged by magical practitioners; in cases, when clients purchasing magical services, whether religious, medicinal, or divinatory, express regret or claim to feel cheated; or when consumers of popular magic research
the very tricks they want to be amazed by.
My work is on traditional healers in Northern Tanzania.
Possible topics might include:
Voodoo shops in New Orleans
Crystals shops and the commercialization of Wicca
Commercialization of Afro-Caribbean religion
If you are interested in the panel, please submit a 200-250 word abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 17.
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