Owen Davies (historian)

Owen Davies (born 1969) is a British historian who specialises in the history of magic, witchcraft, ghosts, and popular medicine.[1] He is currently Professor in History at the University of Hertfordshire[2] and has been described as Britain's "foremost academic expert on the history of magic".[3]

Owen Davies
Born (1969-08-26) 26 August 1969 (age 54)
Edenbridge, Kent, England, UK
EducationSondes Place Comprehensive School, Dorking, Surrey
Alma materLancaster University
OccupationProfessor in Social History
Years active1999–present
EmployerUniversity of Hertfordshire

Early life and education edit

Davies's interest in the history of witchcraft and magic developed out of a childhood interest in folklore and mythology, which was spawned in part from reading the books of Alan Garner. From around the age of sixteen, he also became interested in archaeology and began to get involved with field-walking and earthwork surveying. He then went on to study archaeology and history at Cardiff University and spent many weeks over the next six years helping excavate Bronze Age and Neolithic sites in France and England, mostly in the area around Avebury. He developed a strong interest in archaeology in general, and the ritual monuments and practices of the Neolithic and Bronze Age.[4]

From Cardiff, he went on to write a doctorate at Lancaster University. Completed in 1995, Davies's thesis looked at the continuation and decline of popular belief in witchcraft and magic from the Witchcraft Act 1735 to the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 (1991–1994).[5]

Career edit

Davies has authored and edited 15 books and numerous research articles.[6]

He has been a key collaborator in a number of large-scale historical research projects. From 2010 to 2015, Davies was Co-Investigator on 'Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse', a Wellcome Trust funded project exploring "the meanings, treatment, and uses of the criminal corpse".[7] Davies was also a Co-Investigator on the major Leverhulme-funded project 'Inner Lives: Emotions, Identity, and the Supernatural, 1300-1900'.[8] Davies and University of Hertfordshire colleague Dr Ceri Houlbrook are currently Co-Investigators in 'Bottles Concealed and Revealed', an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project investigating witch bottles.[9]

Davies has been based at the University of Hertfordshire since the early 2000s. In 2019, he instigated a Folklore Studies MA at the University of Hertfordshire, which is currently the only academic qualification of its kind in England and Wales.[10]

In 2020, Davies was elected President of the Folklore Society.[11]

Selected publications edit

  • Davies, Owen (1999). A People Bewitched: Witchcraft and Magic in Nineteenth-Century Somerset. Bruton. ISBN 978-0-9536390-0-7. OCLC 44989636.
  • Davies, Owen (1999). Witchcraft, magic and culture 1736-1951. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-5655-0. OCLC 41338629.
  • Davies, Owen and Blécourt, Willem de (editors) (2004). Beyond the witch trials: witchcraft and magic in enlightenment Europe. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-6660-3. OCLC 186315672.
  • Davies, Owen and Blécourt, Willem de (editors) (2004). Witchcraft continued: popular magic in modern Europe. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-6658-0. OCLC 784959128.
  • Davies, Owen (2005). Murder, Magic, Madness: The Victorian Trials of Dove and the Wizard. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0-582-89413-6. OCLC 63279021.
  • Davies, Owen (2007). Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History. Hambledon Continuum. ISBN 978-1-84725-036-0. OCLC 85830157.
  • Davies, Owen (2007). The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-3924-1. OCLC 145379850.
  • Davies, Owen and Barry, Jonathan (editors) (2007) Palgrave advances in witchcraft historiography. Basingstoke [England]: Palgrave Macmillan. 2007. ISBN 978-1-4039-1175-9. OCLC 122702023.
  • Davies, Owen (2009). Grimoires: A History of Magic Books. Oxford University Press USA. ISBN 978-0-19-920451-9. OCLC 244766270.
  • Davies, Owen (editor) (2010) Ghosts: A Social History. London: Pickering & Chatto. 2010. ISBN 978-1-85196-989-0. OCLC 501394897.
  • Davies, Owen (2011). Paganism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-1992-3516-2. OCLC 1023117514.[1]
  • Davies, Owen (2012). Magic: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-958802-2. OCLC 749871159.
  • Davies, Owen (2013). America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft after Salem. Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-957871-9. OCLC 812686039.
  • Davies, Owen and Matteoni, Francesca (2017). Executing Magic in the Modern Era: Criminal Bodies and the Gallows in Popular Medicine. Cham: Springer International Publishing. ISBN 978-3-319-59518-4.
  • Davies, Owen (editor) (2017) The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic. Oxford, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-0-19-960844-7. OCLC 972537073.
  • Davies, Owen (2018). A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination and Faith during the First World War. Oxford, United Kingdom. ISBN 0-19-879455-X. OCLC 1022082619.

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Interview with Owen Davies, author of "Paganism: A Very Short Introduction" | Paganism". The Wild Hunt. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Professor Owen Davies - Research Database - University of Hertfordshire". researchprofiles.herts.ac.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Ronald Hutton - Hocus Pocus". Literary Review. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  4. ^ "occult ebooks archive". www.occultebooks.com. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  5. ^ Davies, Owen (1995). The decline in the popular belief in witchcraft & magic (Ph.D. thesis). University of Lancaster.
  6. ^ "Owen Davies - Publications - Research Database - University of Hertfordshire". researchprofiles.herts.ac.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  7. ^ njc10. "Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse — University of Leicester". www2.le.ac.uk. Retrieved 9 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "People". Inner Lives. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Bottles concealed and revealed: examining the phenomena of stone and glass 'witch bottles' and their concealment in mid to late 17th-century England | Heritage 2020". www.heritage2020.net. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  10. ^ "MA Folklore Studies". www.herts.ac.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  11. ^ George, Sam (4 July 2020). "The Folklore Society Announces a New President". Open Graves, Open Minds. Retrieved 9 April 2021.

External links edit