Welcome to the Inter-Disciplinary and Multi-Disciplinary project, Urban Fantasies: Magic and the Surpernatural. This “Urban Fantasy” thread is part of a larger project concerned with Magic and the Supernatural in all its myriad forms. The fascination and appeal of magic and supernatural entities pervades societies and cultures. The continuing appeal of these characters is a testimony to how they shape our daydreams and our nightmares, as well as how we yearn for something that is “more” or “beyond” what we can see-touch-taste-feel. Children still avoid stepping on cracks, lovers pluck petals from a daisy, cards are dealt and tea leaves read.
A belief in magic as a means of influencing the world seems to have been common in all cultures. Some of these beliefs crossed over into nascent religions, influencing rites and religious celebrations. Over time, religiously-based supernatural events (”miracles”) acquired their own flavour, separating themselves from standard magic. Some modern religions such as the Neopaganisms embrace connections to magic, while others retain only echoes of their distant origins.
The Urban Fantasies: Magic and the Supernatural project will explore, assess, and map a number of key core themes:
- Gender and sexual stereotypes/roles in UF stories
- Changes in UF as reflections of /opposition to contemporary culture
- Cultural and racial stereotypes in UF
- Magical thinking and the equation of coincidence with causality
- The portrayal of magic, magical creatures, and magical practices or practitioners on television and in film
- The use of “natural” vs. “supernatural” explanations for world events
- Magic and the supernatural as coping mechanisms for individuals and societies
Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.