Jason Winslade

Jason Winslade is a professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, where he teaches courses on occultism and popular culture, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Irish myth, and rites of passage. His PhD is in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. He has published scholarly articles on Wicca, the Western esoteric tradition, and the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files, in The Drama Review, Religion and Theatre, and Slayage: An Online Journal of International Buffy Studies, as well as a recent article on occult initiation in Audience Participation: Essays on Inclusion in Performance (Greenwood Press, 2003). His essay on witchcraft and pop culture will soon be included in a scholarly anthology on teen witchcraft. He has presented his scholarly work at academic conferences around North America, most recently presenting a manifesto on occultism at the Performance Studies International Conference at Brown University. He is also a performing artist who has produced his work in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Occultism and the Academy

In this workshop, we will consider the changing position of the occult within academics, as magick is being taken more and more seriously by scholars from a wide range of fields. Some of the basics of postmodern theory and occult philosophy will be presented as a new way for traditional scholarship to interact with magickal practice. To this end, I will introduce a manifesto that I have produced with other scholars calling for a return to the mysterious and the occult specifically within the fields of theatre and performance and generally within higher learning. We will determine the differences between an occultism that keeps knowledge hidden from all but an elite group and an occultism that reveals mysteries to all, based on my experiences teaching magick and occultism to college freshman. In general, I also will provide a forum to discuss our experiences of weaving our personal spiritual practices with our academic life.

Wanna-Blessed-Bes and Everyday Oracles: Magick and Pop Culture

With the Harry Potter franchise still going strong, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer still generating popular and scholarly books, magicians and witches aren't disappearing from pop culture any time soon. Further, thanks to the efforts of OTO magician and author, Lon Milo DuQuette, even ceremonial magick and Qabalah (not the Madonna kind) are getting the pop treatment. As the magical worldview increasingly makes its presence known in pop culture, practitioners still wonder whether their deeply held beliefs are being trivialized and cheapened, or that these depictions are actually making a difference in providing positive models within the magickal community. In this workshop, we will discuss the implications of representing magick and occultism in popular media, particularly focusing on new manifestations on television, film and graphic novels, and also discussing Lon DuQuette's My Life With The Spirits, The Chicken Qabalah, and his most recent work, Everyday Oracles.

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