Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

witch, social media, spirituality

Biography

A Japanese and sociology double major and native to West Virginia, Michael Haverty has developed academic interests in translating, religion, and queer studies. While studying abroad at Kansai Gaidai in Japan, he gathered materials for a project titled “The Effects of Gender Identity Disorder and Heteronormativity on Queer Media Representation in Japan” which he presented at the 2016 COLA Conference. He is also the recipient of the Bridging Scholarship and several awards for outstanding GPA in both Japanese and Sociology.

Major

Japanese & Sociology

Advisor for this project

Marty Laubach

Start Date

21-4-2017 3:00 PM

End Date

21-4-2017 4:15 PM

Abstract

This event will be a summarization of the theory and findings of my research project that looks at how self-identifying witches use social media. Witchcraft users have historically adapted to the changes in society like all other peoples. Witchcraft users have also historically only had contact with others of their spiritual practices during yearly gathering events or local covens. However, social media has created platforms for people from minority subcultures to interact in ways that were formerly limited. By digitally surveying and interviewing users of the social media platform Tumblr who self-identify as witches, this project attempts to look at how these individuals have adapted the latest in social media to fit into their lives in regards to their spiritualties. The results seem to indicate that the people involved in the research use Tumblr (and a few other social media platforms) as a year-round alternative to Pagan gatherings, using it as a source for research, a platform for debates, a space for community interaction and spellwork, and a portal to stores to buy specialized witch-related goods and services while also acting as a space separate from the rest of their daily lives, creating a boundary between spiritual and mundane. In addition, new forms of magic using modern symbols, such as emoji and pop culture references, have begun to develop in these spaces.

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Apr 21st, 3:00 PM Apr 21st, 4:15 PM

The Use of Social Media by Contemporary Witchcraft Communities

This event will be a summarization of the theory and findings of my research project that looks at how self-identifying witches use social media. Witchcraft users have historically adapted to the changes in society like all other peoples. Witchcraft users have also historically only had contact with others of their spiritual practices during yearly gathering events or local covens. However, social media has created platforms for people from minority subcultures to interact in ways that were formerly limited. By digitally surveying and interviewing users of the social media platform Tumblr who self-identify as witches, this project attempts to look at how these individuals have adapted the latest in social media to fit into their lives in regards to their spiritualties. The results seem to indicate that the people involved in the research use Tumblr (and a few other social media platforms) as a year-round alternative to Pagan gatherings, using it as a source for research, a platform for debates, a space for community interaction and spellwork, and a portal to stores to buy specialized witch-related goods and services while also acting as a space separate from the rest of their daily lives, creating a boundary between spiritual and mundane. In addition, new forms of magic using modern symbols, such as emoji and pop culture references, have begun to develop in these spaces.