This panel draws together themes of witchcraft, labour and capital, by engaging with the concept of the witch and occult practitioner as labourer. Given COVID-19’s widespread economic devastation, disproportionately affecting those residing at the sociopolitical margins, there is growing imperative to recognize and support marginal labour practices like witchcraft and the occult.
Kassandra Sparks’ “Professional Dominatrix Sessions as Ritual Sites of Feminized Labor” is a participant-observation ethnography of Professional Dominatrixes in New York City, exploring sessions as ritual sites of feminized labour. Sparks considers Pro-Dommes-as-witches as ironically reworking logics of capitalism and gender through the wage/gift.
Grace Kredell’s research examines “witch work” during the antebellum period in the United States, focusing on the labour/practices of mainly female occult workers that have been overlooked by the growing body of scholarship on white-dominated Spiritualism.
Felicia Lang’s research explores the upsurge of wellness culture and spirituality in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, analyzing how spiritual business owners-as-small business owners have survived COVID-19 amidst unprecedented small business closures.
Kassandra Sparks, "Professional Dominatrix Sessions as Ritual Sites of Feminized Labor"
Kassandra Sparks is a third-year Sociocultural Anthropology PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research explores questions of ritual, labor, and law among sex workers in New York City. She received her B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Religion from Swarthmore College.
Grace Kredell, "Witch Workers of the World, Unite: Organizing the Occult(ed)"
Grace Kredell is a mystic practitioner, interdisciplinary artist, writer, and community organizer based in New York City. She is currently a Master’s candidate in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College, where she is researching and writing about antebellum independent diviners. She has been a resident of The Future, Summer Forum and Women’s Center for Creative Work. She is also a program organizer for the Golden Dome School, an educational and curatorial platform dedicated to studying intersections of art, metaphysics, and ecology.
My name is Felicia Lang and I am a Puerto Rican, queer nondenominational witch who works as a Bilingual Coordinator at an elementary school while obtaining my master’s degree in Public Administration. My research interests are rooted in my advocacy and range from critical ethnic and race studies to sociology, social policy, identity, media, space, technology and power. I’ve spoken at art exhibits and dialogues about violence in BIPOC communities, moderated discussions about systemic change and spearheaded community events. The interconnectedness of the human experience is a vital foundation to all the work and research I do. I’m currently studying how the global pandemic has affected spiritual businesses in cities across the United States to delve into the demographic shifts within faith traditions and the purchasing power of a burgeoning social group. I love bats, writing, community activism and just being outside either in the concrete or natural wilderness.