Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography & Anthropology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This thesis works to understand the relationships witches and conjurors have with the film and television depictions of them. Employing the method of film critique, I argue that the witch stands as a cultural symbol in the US of women and femmes with power, and that their stories serve as lessons to these populations about what it means to be an acceptable woman or femme, while simultaneously creating and perpetuating stereotypes of magic practitioners. Then, using the combination of hashtag ethnography, in-person and video interviewing and internet surveys, I argue that #witchblr and #witchesofcolor, as well as the space of an interview with another practitioner, serves as a counterspace where the counternarratives against oppression, of resistance, and of personal identity work can take place. I connect the language practitioners use to describe themselves and witches and conjurors in film and television to the embracing and distancing marginalized communities engage in when crafting their identities around stereotyped notions of their group, and argue for the need for a simpler, softer, more diverse witchcraft in United States film and television.

Committee Chair

Mary Jill Brody

Available for download on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

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