The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States in November 2016 caused shockwaves in the social fabric of America and beyond. It also set in motion a war between pro-and anti-Trump occultists, fighting each other with magic –and memes. Building on the article “The Magical Theory of Politics: Memes, Magic, and the Enchantment of Social Forces in the American Magic War” (Nova Religio, 2020), this presentation introduces the belligerents of the magic war and, with a particular focus on different notions of magical efficacy, shows how the digital infrastructures of anonymous message boards and big social media networks set the conditions for their emergence. It suggests that two of the study of religion’s classic conceptual lenses might help explain the phenomenon: collective effervescence and charisma. The presentation ends with a short update on important developments since the article went to press, notably the emergence of the QAnon conspiracy milieu.
Ordförande: Henrik Bogdan.