About this book
“This is the very first analysis of the precise relationship between the two major expressions of modern Western counter-cultural spirituality: spiritual feminism and Paganism. Based on a most extensive body of primary material which has never hitherto been employed by scholars before, it is at once an important pioneering venture, a triumph of objective and sympathetic scholarship, and a fascinating read.”
—Ronald Hutton, Professor of History, University of Bristol, UK.
This book explores the ways in which changing views on gender and the place of women in society during the latter half of the twentieth century affected women’s participation and standing within British Paganism. More specifically, it examines how British Wiccans and Wiccan-derived Pagans reacted to the rise of 'second-wave' feminism and the Women's Liberation Movement in the UK – with a special emphasis on the reception of feminist theory hailing from the USA – and to the emergence of feminist branches of Witchcraft and Goddess Spirituality during the 1970s and 1980s. The book draws on primary sources never before analyzed in an academic context and makes a valuable contribution to the growing body of knowledge on gender and religion during the twentieth century, as very little research has been conducted on the relations between the history of modern Paganism and that of second-wave feminism in the UK.
Shai Feraro is an Adjunct Lecturer at Oranim College of Education, Israel. He has published two edited collections with Palgrave in the past: Contemporary Alternative Spiritualities in Israel (2016); and Magic and Witchery in the Modern West(2019).
- Book Title Women and Gender Issues in British Paganism, 1945–1990
- Series Title Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic
- Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic
- DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-46695-4
- Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
- Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
- eBook Packages History History (R0)
- Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-46694-7
- Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-46697-8
- eBook ISBN 978-3-030-46695-4
- Edition Number 1
- Number of Pages X, 321
- Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
History of Britain and Ireland
History of Religion
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"This is the very first analysis of the precise relationship between the two major expressions of modern Western counter-cultural spirituality: spiritual feminism and Paganism. It is remarkably comprehensive, and is based on a most extensive body of primary material which has never hitherto been employed by scholars before: locating that has been a noteworthy achievement of research in itself, and Dr Feraro’s use of it is impeccable. The book sits with great strategic effect at the point at which cultural studies, religious studies and anthropology meet, and so has value for all three, and also occupies a junction between the study of new religions and of feminisms. In short, it is at once an important pioneering venture, a triumph of objective and sympathetic scholarship, and a fascinating read."
—Ronald Hutton, Professor of History, University of Bristol, UK
"Drawing upon practitioner interviews and hitherto untapped archival sources, Feraro’s original and compelling study demonstrates the complex, and sometimes adversarial, relations between Wicca, Goddess feminism, and Matriarchalism in twentieth-century Britain. An important contribution to gender and esotericism studies, Women and Gender Issues in British Paganism reveals how the writings of figures such as Mary Daly, Susan Brownmiller, Adrienne Rich, and Valerie Solanis crossed the Atlantic to shape the beliefs, practices, and niche publications of British women’s paganism."
—Professor Christine Ferguson, University of Stirling, UK
"Women and Gender Issues in British Paganism, 1945–1990 is an important and careful analysis of an under-researched area of religion and gender relations. Of particular significance is its analysis of the influence of second wave feminism on British Wicca. This is an engaging book that is difficult to put down. Along with bold arguments and thoughtful analysis, it is packed with fascinating little asides about the Goddess movement, British occultism, and radical feminism."
—Professor Christopher Partridge, Lancaster University.