The New Witches

Critical Essays on 21st Century Television Portrayals

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About the Book

After Charmed ended in 2006, witches were relegated to sidekicks of televisual vampires or children’s programs. But during the mid-2010s they began to resurface as leading characters in shows like the immensely popular The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the Charmed reboot, Salem, American Horror Story: Coven, and the British program, A Discovery of Witches. No longer sweet, feminine, domestic, and white, these witches are powerful, diverse, and transgressive, representing an intersectional third-wave feminist vision of the witch. Featuring original essays from noted scholars, this is the first critical collection to examine witches on television from the late 2010s. Situated in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, essays examine the reemergence and shifting identities of TV witches through the perspectives of intersectional gender studies, hauntology, politics, morality, monstrosity, violence, queerness, disabilities, rape, ecofeminism, linguistics, family, and digital humanities.

About the Author(s)

Assistant professor Aaron K.H. Ho has worked at universities in New York, China, and Singapore. He has published on intersectional minority studies (race, gender, queer, and disabilities) in various peer-reviewed books and journals.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Aaron K.H. Ho
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7915-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4288-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction—“That’s how I like my witches”: The New Witches on 21st-Century Television
Aaron K.H. Ho 1

Intersectional Politics and History: Race, the #MeToo Movement and the Witch
“This is a reckoning”: Intersectional Feminism and the #MeToo Movement in Charmed
Katherine J. Lehman 10
From Witchcraft Activism to Witch Hunt Sentiments: The Changing Political Landscape in American Horror Story
Johanna Braun 28
­Re-Remembering the Past: Hauntological Feminist Memories of Salem in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Brydie Kosmina 41

Good Witch, Bad Witch: Identities and Ethics
Declawing the Jungle Cat: Caging Feminine Power on the CW’s The Secret Circle
Charity A. Fowler 56
The Witches of the West and the Boundaries of Goodness
Lindsey Mantoan 73
“When witches don’t fight, we burn!” Monstrosity and Violence in American Horror Story: Coven
Emily Brick 87

The Witchy Body: Sexualities and Disabilities
Condensing the Palate: Queer Representation and Heteronormativity in Charmed
Samuel Naimi 100
Queerness and Historical Sadomasochism in Salem
Tanner Alan Sebastian 111
Teenage Furies: The ­Rape-Revenge Genre in American Horror Story: Coven
Christine R. Payson 126
Witches with Disabilities on 21st-Century Television Programs
Aaron K.H. Ho 139

Disembodiment of the Witch: Ecofeminism, Digital Humanities and Beyond Blood
The Literal and the Metaphorical: Othered Voices in Salem
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns 158
“The world never did help a smart girl”: Disembodied Digitalization, the Open Access Library and BuzzFeed in The Magicians
Natalie R. Sheppard 172
Beyond Blood: The Negotiation of Biological and Chosen Families in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Alissa Burger 187

Appendix: ­21st-Century Television and Streaming Programs with Witches 203
About the Contributors 205
Index 207