That headline sounds like a setup for an amazing April Fool’s joke, but no, seriously. As we reported late last year, Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and the Slaight Family Foundation have put up a smooth four million Canadian dollars to establish the Allan Slaight Chair for the Study of the Conjuring Arts.
“As a society, it’s imperative that we understand when we are being deceived,” explained the University’s Interim President, Alastair Summerlee, via the National Post. “It’s also important to remember that magicians are among some of history’s greatest performers and influencers.”
“Whether it’s fake news or whether it’s politicians convincing people,” he continued, the program will integrate magic and psychologists to help students with “understanding something about the illusion that they created, how do they work?”
Whoever lands the job will end up working with students on a number of topics, including the history of magic, the nature of perception and the human psyche’s vulnerability to deceit. They’d also have to manage the University’s growing collection of magic-related literature and artifacts. Most notably; a copy of Miracle Mongers and Their Methods, signed by Harry Houdini himself.
Want to apply? Well, competition is already thick on the ground. The university’s Faculty of Arts and Social Science has already received applications from roughly eighty applicants from a variety of backgrounds. The successful applicant is expected to be announced this summer.
The position is named after Slaight Foundation founder, Allan Slaight, who was a professional magician in his youth before he entered the world of broadcasting. He still writes books on magic, contributes tricks to magic magazines and hosts the the annual magic conference, 31 Faces North.