Project Title

“Change is Brewing”: Women Finding Liberation in the Performative Rituals of Modern Paganism

Presenters

Katie NelsonFollow

Academic department under which the project should be listed

COTA - Theatre and Performance Studies

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Tom Fish

Abstract (300 words maximum)

This project analyzes elements of Modern Paganism and Wiccan rituals to determine how these performance practices can provide agency to systematically oppressed women. The presentation will focus on the second wave feminist activism of the W.I.T.C.H organization (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell), founded in New York City in 1968, which used elements of Modern Paganism as performance art for social justice purposes. Methodologically, I will be reviewing sources such as videos of W.I.T.C.H. members expressing their beliefs, news stories about their more mainstream protests, and testimonies from the women who have found acceptance and comfort in Modern Paganism. My approach will implement the strategies of performance studies to examine how more obscure religious practices have given power to women beginning with the second wave feminist movement and continuing into the twenty-first century. This project explores how Modern Paganism goes hand in hand with intersectional feminist ideals, encouraging women to recognize and defend others who have faced parallel circumstances. It will investigate how Modern Paganism and its performative rituals can promote human development by using unconventional methods to nurture confidence and open-mindedness.

Disciplines

Fine Arts | New Religious Movements | Performance Studies | Social Justice

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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“Change is Brewing”: Women Finding Liberation in the Performative Rituals of Modern Paganism

This project analyzes elements of Modern Paganism and Wiccan rituals to determine how these performance practices can provide agency to systematically oppressed women. The presentation will focus on the second wave feminist activism of the W.I.T.C.H organization (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell), founded in New York City in 1968, which used elements of Modern Paganism as performance art for social justice purposes. Methodologically, I will be reviewing sources such as videos of W.I.T.C.H. members expressing their beliefs, news stories about their more mainstream protests, and testimonies from the women who have found acceptance and comfort in Modern Paganism. My approach will implement the strategies of performance studies to examine how more obscure religious practices have given power to women beginning with the second wave feminist movement and continuing into the twenty-first century. This project explores how Modern Paganism goes hand in hand with intersectional feminist ideals, encouraging women to recognize and defend others who have faced parallel circumstances. It will investigate how Modern Paganism and its performative rituals can promote human development by using unconventional methods to nurture confidence and open-mindedness.

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