The Mind and Magic Research Day

The Mind and Magic Research Day

Wednesday 22nd November, 9:30-12:00

Seng Tee Lee Seminar Room, Senate House Library


The collections at Senate House Library are particularly rich and comprehensive in parapsychology and the paranormal. These collections show how human fascination with the occult and the magical can be found in most cultures from Antiquity to modern times, and how the division into the distinct fields of psychology and parapsychology is a very recent phenomenon. These holdings will enable researchers to investigate and study deeper spiritual realities and experiences that extend beyond the pure reason and science depicted in our nationally significant collections on the history and development of the field of psychology. Together, these collections help to trace the history of a search for the meaning of humanity and reach out to many other areas of knowledge such as literature, anthropology and ethnography, philosophy, religion, and the history of ideas.

This session will be led by a team of specialist staff from Senate House Library and external academic leads. It will consist of an overview of the subject area, followed by case studies outlining current or recent research based on the collections. There will also be an opportunity to see a sample of original items from this area of the collections, and to talk to specialist library and academic staff about potential research topics the collections can support.


The research day is addressed to:

  • 3rd year undergraduates looking for MRes topics
  • Masters students seeking PhD projects
  • PhD students looking for ECR projects
  • Academic staff looking for large-scale projects for research council funding
  • Commercial digitisation partners



9:30-10:00 Tea, coffee and registration (Durning Lawrence Library)

10:00-10:05 Welcome and introduction

10:05-10:20 Maria Castrillo (Head of Special Collections & Engagement) and Richard Espley (Head of Modern Collections): Collections overview

10:20-11:05 Case Studies

Mura Gosh (Research Librarian, Psychology and Social Sciences, SHL): Women in early Psychology

Tansy Barton (Research Librarian, Manuscripts and Book Studies, SHL): Eric Dingwall: a neglected sceptical enquirer

Elizabeth Gray (Queen Mary University of London): Nineteenth century comparative Psychology and animal emotions

11:05-11:40 Viewing of collections

11:40-12:00 Plenary discussion and next steps

12:00 Close

Event details

  • 22 November 2017 09:30
  • Various Speakers
  • Free, but with limited spaces
  • Senate House Library Event


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