Part one of the Pagan Studies Conference

I had a great time at the 10th Annual Current Pagan Studies at Claremont Graduate University. I think it was the best one yet and all the papers presenting were fascinating and engaging. I sometimes was so enthralled I almost forgot I was supposed to be the official photographer but since I ended up with over 500 for the two days I think I got it covered.

The theme of the conference this year was relationships. The first day we had Joseph Merlin Nichter whose presentation was “The Black Spot: Social Stigmas in the Pagan Paradigmns” , which dealt this being a pagan veteran and the challenges they face in a community that has not had the experiences veterans have had and the challenges and triggers veterans face when dealing with Clan Oblivious doesn’t even know or think about what a veteran may be going through when a pagan asking questions like “have you killed anybody?” without thinking about how horrid and stupid that question is.

The second presenter was Garrett Sadler who presented on “Qi – mc2: On Contested Models of Science, Spirituality, and the Acquisition of Scientific Knowledge. This dealt with the different cognitive models of theories and how in particular New Age populations deal with scientific theories. Some of which could apply to pagans but a lot didn’t.

Next came Joseph Futerman who is always dynamic and wonderful on The Burning Times Bugaboo: Using Fear to create Insiders in Contemporary Paganism. About how subscribing to a historical inaccuracy can be used by some to make themselves feel part of an abused minority and create a the communities identity. And what happens if we continue to cling to the idea that millions died for being witches. Record shows that if may have been as low as 40, 000 and it was more likely that being a rich widow would get you condemned as a witch than actually being a witch. I know from my own inquiries in the subject that in Protestant England a one shilling reward was a bigger inducement than anything to report your neighbor than witchcraft.

The fourth presentation on Saturday was Scott Gilliam and The Reemergence of the Pagan Soul and its Voice in the World. The fifth was Sam Webster on The Relationship of Christianity and Paganism which dealt with the reaction to his writing a blog topic on the subject of the impossibility of being both and how he was attacked for saying it and what it says about our community. For the record I totally agree with him, you can’t be both, if for no other reason than the 2nd Commandment.

The sixth and last before lunch was Margaret Froelich’s paper – The Maiden, Mother and the Other One: Testing the Triple Goddess in the Modern World. I liked this one a lot since it’s a construct that makes some feminists happy but does not exist historically, (See my post on Brighid is not a Maiden, Mother, Crone Goddess. She mostly dealt with the fact that Maiden , Mother and Crone do not fit a great many women’s lives and is not really helpful to those who do not have or want children.

The keynote speaker for the day was Lon Milo DuQuette who was very funny and witty and spoke on Good and Evil?! Get Over it!

By now my outright terror of presenting was really starting to manifest itself so I was having trouble concentrating.

Armando D “Murtagh AnDoile” Marini – Proto-Pagans: Precursors of the Modern Pagan Movement – Seeking the Themes of Myth and Magic in the American Experience (1850 to 1975)

Elizabeth Rose-Marini – Mythic Landscape: California and the West Coast – 19th Century Utopias, Cultural Creatives, Health Pioneers and Proto-Pagans

Amy Hale – Cell Block Arcadia: “Nature Religion” and the Politics of Being Pagan

All great presentations that I thought I was paying attention to at the time but did not stick in my increasingly terrified brain.

Joan DeArtemis –Pagan Sexuality: a Striving for Reconciliation and Redemption

Tony Mierzwicki –Ancient Greek Racism, Homophobia, and Misogyny?

“Kat”–A study of Lesbiphobia in the pagan community

Marie Cartier –Book Reading and Signing: Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars and Theology before Stonewall

By the time I was going to present I was starting to imitate a too tight guitar string.

One thought on “Part one of the Pagan Studies Conference

  1. You did better than I did. I actually cannot remember very much of the morning at all. I was up past midnight the night before finishing my paper and creating the Powerpoint. I had NO time to rehearse. I actually FINISHED the Powerpoint while I was sitting there. Nervous? I was freakin’ TERRIFIED! Especially when I saw some people there I had not expected to see. I am SO glad that is over!

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