Real Magic (2015/16)


“Today, the occult is ordinary”, British cultural scientist Christopher Partridge remarked in 2012, addressing the rising popularity of magic and other occult currents. Especially in Western societies a newly discovered and very lively interest in spirituality, mysticism and magical practices can be witnessed. But the magical or occult herein appears less in the form of a counter-cultural movement, as was the case in the 1960s and 1970s, but seems to evolve as a popular phenomenon that affects society as a whole and is distributed widely not least due to the pervasive digitization of contemporary life. This registers not only in the arts but is also intensely debated in academic and scientific contexts.


In the course of its fourth annual theme, “Real Magic”, the cx centre for interdisciplinary studies investigates the current realities of magic and its rediscovery in the arts, the sciences and in everyday culture. The lecture series of the winter term 2015/16 asks for the reasons for this newly found fascination with the occult, explores Western appearances and forms of magical practices, enquires into current potentials of magical knowledge, but also into the drawbacks of occultism and the limits and dangers of magical thinking in a globalised world determined by the ideal of an economized instrumental reason.