Title

2E: Romanticizing the Orient: Colonial India and its Influence on Victorian Spiritualism (Best Overall Presentation)

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Alexander Wisnoski

Campus

Gainesville

Proposal Type

Oral Presentation

Subject Area

History/Anthropology/Philosophy

Location

Panel 2: E (Register Here)

Start Date

26-3-2021 10:00 AM

End Date

26-3-2021 10:50 AM

Description/Abstract

During the mid-nineteenth century, many Victorians rebelled against the church, experiencing a crisis of faith. The unease surrounding the church caused them to question what they had known and to turn to the most fascinating source for guidance: the occult in colonized India. This paper will discuss the influence India had on the Spiritualism movement, more specifically, on the Victorian séance. Due to rise in technology and the opulence of the theatre, Spiritualism was on a steady decline. Spiritualism was a performance based on imagination and the spoken word of a medium, leaving audiences underwhelmed at the mundane words. Using Hindu magic, Indian conjurors, and mysterious sorcerers from the Orient, Victorian mediums created a spectacle grand enough to entertain and heighten the experience of the Spiritualism movement. Using British periodicals to share the experience of the séance, the exotic India became sought-after in Britain and throughout the world. The paper will show how the influence of India gained momentum in the Spiritualism movement that extended well into the twentieth century.

Media Format

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Mar 26th, 10:00 AM Mar 26th, 10:50 AM

2E: Romanticizing the Orient: Colonial India and its Influence on Victorian Spiritualism (Best Overall Presentation)

Panel 2: E (Register Here)

During the mid-nineteenth century, many Victorians rebelled against the church, experiencing a crisis of faith. The unease surrounding the church caused them to question what they had known and to turn to the most fascinating source for guidance: the occult in colonized India. This paper will discuss the influence India had on the Spiritualism movement, more specifically, on the Victorian séance. Due to rise in technology and the opulence of the theatre, Spiritualism was on a steady decline. Spiritualism was a performance based on imagination and the spoken word of a medium, leaving audiences underwhelmed at the mundane words. Using Hindu magic, Indian conjurors, and mysterious sorcerers from the Orient, Victorian mediums created a spectacle grand enough to entertain and heighten the experience of the Spiritualism movement. Using British periodicals to share the experience of the séance, the exotic India became sought-after in Britain and throughout the world. The paper will show how the influence of India gained momentum in the Spiritualism movement that extended well into the twentieth century.