The world’s first Visiting Professor of Performance Magic
2012-10-26 0:00

From: PastHorizons

The University of Huddersfield in northern England is a key centre for research into the art of magic and illusion and has now appointed the world’s first Visiting Professor of Performance Magic. But his students will not be taught to pull rabbits from top hats or to saw their glamorous assistants in half.

US-born Dr Todd Landman, who combines a career as a magician and mentalist with a post as a professor of government, delves deeply into the history and heritage of magic and believes that it enables the world to be viewed with a fresh sense of wonder.

Dr Todd Landman, who combines a career as a magician and mentalist with a post as a professor of government, delves deeply into the history and heritage of magic and believes that it enables the world to be viewed with a fresh sense of wonder.

A deeper side

“We are trying to rescue magic from its worst faults – which is cheesy guys in cheesy ties with rabbits in hats!” he says. “We are interested in the deeper side of things.”

He has a special fascination for renaissance men such as Dr John Dee and Sir Isaac Newton – scientists, astronomers and mathematicians who also practised astrology and alchemy. And today, the study of magic allows for “different ways of knowing the world”, according to Dr Landman.

“Even some neuro-scientists are saying we can’t explain everything with neuro-science. There are some things, like consciousness, that can’t be explained and that is the contribution we can make.”

Seasoned performer

But Dr Landman is a seasoned performer as well as a philosopher-researcher and his new appointment at the University of Huddersfield is the result of his established links with its drama department, where senior lecturer Nik Taylor’s research and teaching portfolio includes performance magic. The University’s Drama Division is also home to a newly-formed Magic Research Group, which aims to be the leading forum for state-of-the-art of scholarship in the field.

Says Nik Taylor: “Despite the perennial reports of its demise at the hands of both old and new media, magic is a performance art with a vibrant culture of live work, popular TV shows, and emerging forms. The time is ripe for a serious modern study of modern magic.”

Todd Landman marked his appointment as Visiting Professor by holding a workshop for drama students in which he explored three dimensions of the magician’s art – half an hour of close up magic, followed by a mentalism session in which he gave an illusion of mind-reading powers, closing with a “mystical set” in which he delved into the realm of the “collective unconscious”.


The interest in magic came first

There is an enigma, too, over Todd Landman. In addition to his activities in the realm of magic and performance, he is also Professor of Government and Director of the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution at the University of Essex.

The interest in magic came first – as a child in Pennsylvania – with the study of politics beginning at university. For most of his academic career he has kept the two dimensions of his life separate but more recently he has explored intersections between illusion and politics, such as the use of rhetoric and the exploration of free will.

Read the full article at:

Related Articles
The Magic and Sorcery of Iceland
The Secret to Becoming a Magician (in 1882)
Black magic revealed in two ancient curses: "Crush, Kill, Destroy!"
Why Everyone Believes in Magic (Even You)

Latest News from our Front Page

Sweden to give over 8 million euros to Turkey for "refugee deal" - Europe to give three billion euros total
2015-12-01 1:44
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced on Sunday that Sweden would contribute to a joint action plan agreed by nine EU nations designed to limit the number of refugees arriving in Europe via Turkey. The deal came after the German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a surprise summit in Brussels involving the leaders of nine countries including Sweden, France and the UK. The European ...
Swedish woman raped by "refugee" refuses to report it because she feels sorry for him
2015-12-01 0:12
Victim sympathized with rapist's "difficult situation" A Swedish woman who was raped by an Iraqi “refugee” on a train initially refused to report the incident to police because she ‘felt sorry’ for her attacker. The incident occurred on a night train between UmeĂ„ and Sundsvall back in October. The Iraqi refugee was traveling back to Sweden because he was unhappy with the ...
ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: "Raqqa's Rockefellers," Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection
2015-11-30 21:56
"Effectively, we have been financially discriminated against for a long time. By early 2014, when we did not receive the budget, we decided we need to start thinking about independent oil sales” --  Ashti Hawrami, Kurdistan’s minister for natural resources In June of 2014, the SCF Altai (an oil tanker) arrived at Ashkelon port. Hours later, the first shipment of Kurdish ...
Prosecutors ban Soros Foundation as 'threat to Russian national security'
2015-11-30 21:04
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has recognized George Soros’s Open Society Institute and another affiliated organization as undesirable groups, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects. In a statement released on Monday, prosecutors said the activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were a threat to the foundations of Russia’s ...
Israeli Colonel Caught with Islamic State (IS) Pants Down
2015-11-30 21:11
This was definitely not supposed to happen. It seems that an Israeli military man with the rank of colonel was “caught with IS pants down.” By that I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS–or Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference–terrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army. Under interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence ...
More News »