Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 4, No. 2

Astrology on Trial, and its Historians: Reflections on the Historiography of 'Superstition'

Patrick Curry

This paper is an historiographical inquiry into some problems that arise when confronted with so-called supernatural, irrational or superstitious phenomena in human history. Other descriptions are possible, of course, but none of them without at least some question-begging - something that itself points to the principal problem. As an initial formulation, let us define that as follows: how can the historian describe and explain these phenomena without participating in the very processes - characteristically, to coin a phrase, ones of power/knowledge - that produced them in the first place?1 And this problem becomes especially acute when the discourse in question, like astrology (but unlike, say, phrenology) is still the subject of contemporary controversy. This is not something I hope to resolve here, but perhaps I can improve the quality of the questions it raises.

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