New Pagan Practice Survey Launches + Pagan Health Survey Updates

[The following is a guest post from Dr. Kimberly Kirner. Dr. Kirner is a cultural anthropologist specializing in applied cognitive anthropology, working on issues in political ecology and ethnoecology, medical anthropology, and the anthropology of religion. She is interested in understanding the relationships between cognition, emotion, and decision-making; the construction of identity, place, and community; and the way cultural knowledge systems interact with policy and large-scale systems to impact human behavior. Her research has focused on the political ecology of the American West and the medical anthropology of minority religious traditions in the United States. In addition to Dr. Kirner’s academic work, she has worked as an applied anthropologist in program design, evaluation, and fund development.]

Some of you know me as the cultural anthropologist who began the Pagan Health Survey Project, which collected responses a large dataset from Pagans across the United States in 2010 and 2012.

Paganism, Magic, and Witchcraft: It’s Academic

As an academic discipline, Pagan Studies is certainly a “new kid on the block,” just as Paganism as a term for a living religious tradition is still relatively new in the current era of world history. (I have had to clarify for some people I’ve met in recent history that identifying as Pagan doesn’t mean “no religion at all” on several occasions…!) Some of the writers who have produced seminal works within Pagan Studies come from a journalistic background, like Chas Clifton and Margot Adler. The focus of a great deal of Pagan studies up until this point has tended to be anthropological, with exemplary writers like Sabina Magliocco coming from this discipline and forging paths in this new area. Many of these have done so while being practitioners themselves. But, the field of Pagan Studies is (like many such “____ Studies” subjects) an interdisciplinary one, taking in elements from history (the field of Ronald Hutton, amongst others), literary studies across many fields, sociology, psychology, and religion, as well as a variety of other possibilities, in addition to anthropology.