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Topics in Critical Theory: Magical Politics

Instructor(s): William Mazzarella
Spring 2023

Following Donald Trump’s election to the presidency in 2016, witches all over North America collaborated on spells to resist him and his politics by ‘binding’ his administration. Alt-right activists had already for some time been engaged in ‘meme magic’ against Trump’s liberal critics. How can we begin to understand these magical interventions in present-day politics? What kinds of efficacies and susceptibilities do they presuppose? What is their relation to new media, as well as to older occult apprehensions of public life? Can we understand magical politics as a real provocation to think and to theorize politics differently—rather than reducing magical practices to familiar social and psychological categories? Drawing on anthropological, activist, and esoteric sources, this seminar offers a space in which to consider not only the place of magic in politics, but the politics of magic in public discourse today.

This is a 3CT Capstone Course.

CCCT 23803 | ANTH 23803