SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Untangling the Threads of Goddess Feminism in Britain

Kavita Maya

Date: 2 February 2016Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 2 February 2016Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B 102

Type of Event: Seminar

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

Year 3 PhD project presentation

Supervisory Committee: Sîan Hawthorne – Laleh Khalili – Sarah Stewart

Utilising a feminist and postcolonial framework, this paper outlines the development in the latter decades of the twentieth century of the contemporary UK Goddess movement. While often conflated with forms of Pagan and New Age religion, my argument foregrounds the changing significance of feminist politics within contemporary British Goddess spirituality, tracing the emergence of a distinctive ‘Goddess movement’ from socialist-feminist networks in the 1970s and 80s, towards institutional forms of Goddess spirituality which are developing within the countercultural town of Glastonbury, Somerset. Recounting details from oral history interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in Glastonbury, I place the Goddess movement’s shift away from its earlier, radical feminist phase within the context of broader socio-economic frameworks which have marked a decline in collective politicisation towards more individualised, privatised forms of spirituality over the past twenty years. My argument pays critical attention to discourses of race and ethnicity woven through the Goddess movement, in particular the construction of a British Goddess culture through the search for pre-Christian ‘indigenous’ British roots—a primary example in my analysis being the Glastonbury Goddess community’s reclamation of Britannia as a tutelary deity of the sacralised British landscape.

Organiser: Prof. Almut Hintze

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