Professor Stuurman

RUSSELL: Douwe Stuurman?

HARDIN: Well, he’s one of a kind. He was one of the spearheads of the movement to keep this [UCSB] a small liberal arts campus. He was, as you know, at Oxford–a Rhodes Scholar–and very much a lover of humanities in a traditional sense. I don’t know how one could summarize him. You know plenty about him anyway. He’s quite unusual.

Check this out! One of the great profs at UCSB!

Camus between Augustine and Hegel

Camus’ Hellenic Heart, Between Augustine and HegelMatthew J Sharpe

This chapter for Adam Goldwyn and James Nikopoulos ed. *Brill’s Companion to Classical Reception in International Modernism and the Avant Garde* looks at Camus’ philhellenism, arguing that it is both what shapes his thought, and makes it singular in the post-war French scene.  In four parts, it looks at Camus’ early “Greece of the flesh”, rooted in his upbringing and education; Camus’ critique of political messianisms or theologies, based in his appeal to classical mesure, and a moderate philosophical scepticism; Camus’ “virtue ethics” and his critique of heroism, fidelity, and authenticity as ideals (as “secondary virtues”) in particular; then Camus’ cultivation of literature, “style,” and philiosophical self-writing in the Carnets as a way of life.

Witches!! I’m serious.

The Witch Institute: CALL FOR PROPOSALS

August 16-22, 2021; Virtual Event 

Queen’s University*

Katarokwi/Kingston, Canada

*Queen’s University is situated on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territories

What is the Witch Institute?

In the last few years, the witch has re-emerged as a powerful political symbol. Across cinemas and television, in books and podcasts, and via hashtag activism, the proliferation of the witch in media signals a critique of the existing world order and its reliance on the subjugation of marginalized peoples. In order to better understand the meaning and impact of current media representations of the witch, we will hold an expanded conversation between activists, artists, filmmakers, curators, historians, scholars, witches, feminists, healers, and more.

The Witch Institute is a collaborative meeting space for those who are interested in responding to contemporary imaginings of the witch in popular and visual culture. It is a place to share diverse understandings of witches and witchcraft, and to complicate, reframe, and remediate media representations that often continue to perpetuate colonial, misogynistic, and Eurocentric stereotypes of the archetypal figure. 

The Witch Institute will present a keynote lecture by Dr. Silvia Federici, along with a series of talks, panel discussions, film screenings, art exhibitions, performances, and workshops occurring over August 16 to 22, 2021. All events will be free, open to the public, and accessible online. Registration opens January 25, 2021.

Call for Proposals:

We are seeking round table participants and workshop leaders. We invite proposals from artists, researchers, and practitioners. We encourage a diversity of voices as part of this exchange, and highly encourage submissions from members of marginalized communities, including BIPOC and 2SLBGTQ participants.

Round Tables. We are looking for participants who wish to discuss their research with a group. Each session will include 3-4 artists, researchers, or practitioners. Attendees will read short texts (maximum 5-pages in length) or review documentation of panelists’ work in advance. The sessions will be devoted to 75-minute moderated discussions. 

Workshops. We are seeking proposals for 60-minute interactive virtual sessions. 

We invite proposals that contribute to topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Witchcraft and Colonization: colonial denigration and erasure of Black or Indigenous spiritual knowledges and practices; reclamation of Black or Indigenous spiritual knowledges, practices, and more-than-human relationalities as anti-colonial resistance or as decolonial projects; cultural evolutions, exchanges, and appropriations among historical and contemporary witch practices. 
  1. Witch Hunts and the State: on-going witch hunts and their interconnected histories of colonization and globalization; witch-hunting as state-sanctioned violence; enforcement of anti-witchcraft legislation in colonial, postcolonial, and settler-colonial nation-states. 
  1. Technology and Magic: traditions of magic, alternative healing practices, and/or spirituality as technology; visual effects, illusions, and magic on screen and stage; technological mediation and the supernatural; technology and the senses; the body and other mediums for spiritual messages.
  1. Witchcraft as Ritual, Practice, and Pedagogy: ritual as a form of learning-by-doing; oral traditions and decolonial practices of knowledge transmission; pedagogical uses of the witch, witchcraft, and/or ritual practices; the perspectives of contemporary practitioners; religious lineages of Wicca and Paganism; intergenerational exchange, kinship, more-than-human relations, and covens; the relationship between witchcraft and feminism.
  1. The Witch as Text: representations of the witch, witchcraft, and spiritual practices in literature, film, music, fashion, art, and popular culture; the commodification of the witch; texts as restoring, or healing the denigration of colonization; shifting perceptions, receptions, and circulations of witchcraft in the context of colonization and globalization.


Those interested in participating in the round table or organizing a workshop, please submit:

  • a 250 word abstract of your research or description of your workshop 
  • which of the above topic(s) you see your work fitting into (if applicable)
  • for roundtable submissions: 2 or 3 questions you would like to discuss with a group who will read your paper/look at your artwork in advance;
  • a 150 word bio. 

Submissions should be sent to by January 25, 2021.

The Witch Institute is committed to accessibility in all phases of the project. If you have any questions or needs concerning this call, please feel free to send Emily Pelstring (she/her) an email at

This project has received SSHRC funding.

Remember James Randi

eSkeptic: the email newsletter of the Skeptics Society

James Randi in Memoriam, 1928–2020


James Randi was a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic who extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. He was the co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation. WikipediaBorn: August 7, 1928, TorontoDied: October 20, 2020, Plantation, Florida, United States

James Randi

American-Canadian magician


James Randi was a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic who extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. He was the co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation. WikipediaBorn: August 7, 1928, TorontoDied: October 20, 2020, Plantation, Florida, United States


Is covid-19 a miracle?

What is a miracle?

In “Reading the Bible: Intention, Text, Interpretation” we find this:

“Consider other than biblical miracles. We have all heard of the person (maybe even a friend or relative) who is diagnosed as having cancer and is then given a prognosis of “less than a year to live.” But the person recovers, and the doctor says that the cancer is gone. The person’s life is imperiled; against expectation, the person is saved. Isn’t that a miracle? It depends upon who is reading the events. From the medical point of view, such examples indicate that medical prediction, in many cases, is not particularly accurate. And this does not mean that the doctor was an incompetent or the cancer was never there. Part of the description of a particular case may well include remission and even cure with no “treatment” at all. Since the human body is a complex system and the state of our knowledge of the various kinds of cancers is incomplete, it is not at all a violation of natural law that this particular person has recovered. But now consider these same facts from the point of view of the patient. Imagine that after the diagnosis the patient goes to see her priest and together they pray. And several times a day she prays to her god for assistance. From her point of view a miracle has occurred. Her petition has been granted and no matter what others say she will continue to believe that a miracle has occurred and that her life is the only evidence required. The popular press is full of these sorts of stories of prayer-miracles. Another kind of example comes from near escapes from potentially deadly accidents. In a recent severe windstorm in British Columbia several trees were blown down in populated areas. House after house suffered damage from large Douglas Fir trees suddenly uprooted by the wind and thrown into the house. In one case a couple were in bed in their water bed thinking about getting up to prepare for the day. Since the roads were blocked and the ferry was not running it seemed probable that going to work late was not a bad idea. The man moved across the water bed to “cuddle” a bit before getting up. Crash! His side of the bed sud- denly had an arm thick branch puncturing the very spot where he had just been. Miracle? Or coincidence? The significance of some coincidences as opposed to others (the cat was under the bed, say, and was impaled by the branch) comes about because of the relation between the coincidence and a set of human hopes, fears, and desires. The non-religious person would, as he jumped out of the deflating bed, thank his good luck for saving him at the cost of the cat. Coincidence-miracles depend upon the point of view of the persons involved. What the non-religious person calls luck is called the grace of God or a miracle of God by the religious person. When such a coincidence does occur, and when from a particular person’s point of view that coincidence is sig- nificant, the tendency is to think of oneself as being special (Lady Luck smiles on you). Once again we find a flawed argument at work: If I am special then God will look after me by arranging for good things to happen to me. Good things happen to me; therefore, I am special. Such a coincidence can be taken by the religious person as a sign that god is at work in the universe and that god cares about persons. But, unfortunately for this reading, bad things happen to good people.”

Hope to hear from you in the comments!