Can all schools have Magician’s Associations? That just seems like a great idea. Ohio University is already ahead of the curve, and its student-produced news show interviewed several members of the Magician’s Association, a campus club for magic practitioners and aficionados. The show host talked to the members about their starts in magic and the first tricks they learned.
On a personal note, the trick shown at 2:07 also happens to be the only card trick I can do. Props to you, dude! Clearly we are both going places in the magic world.
It’s easier than ever for falsified information to spread in the information age, so how do we ensure that reason prevails over fiction? One university in Canada is taking a more magical approach to the solution, and is developing a series of courses on on the history and psychology of the conjuring arts.
Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario has received a $2 million donation from the Slaight Family Foundation in order to form the Allan Slaight Chair for the Study of Conjuring Arts, as revealed on the university’s newsfeed. The chair is named after the Canadian philanthropist and magic enthusiast whose foundation recently donated hundreds of magic posters from the early 1900s to the McCord Museum in Quebec.
“If you think about the whole idea of magic, it’s all about perception and deception,” university interim president Alastair Summerlee told The Canadian Press via Toronto CityNews. “What is it that people see? What is it that you can fool people with? What is it that you make people believe in?”
While not necessarily teaching students how to perform card tricks, per se, the courses will instruct them about the role magicians play in deceiving audiences. To that end, the university will focus on teaching courses on “psychology, political persuasion, literature, and the history of warfare”, according to the report.
“As a society, it’s imperative that we understand when we are being deceived,” said Summerlee. “It’s also important to remember that magicians are among some of history’s greatest performers and influencers.”
The university will begin to look for candidates for the chair early next year, with plans to fill it and develop courses by the 2018-2019 academic year. To keep tabs on how this program is progressing, be sure to visit Carleton University’s home page for more information.
We all know that when we agree to see a magician perform, we’re effectively giving our consent to be lied to. But what is the psychology behind our love of being fooled? Why do we lie to one another, even when we know it’s wrong? And how do we find the truth when misinformation is easier than ever to spread?
These questions and many more will be asked and (hopefully) answered at an upcoming day-long conference at Emory University this Friday. Entitled “The Lying Conference”, the university has assembled a wide variety of experts from an array of professions, including psychology, journalism, theater, and magic. Each one will give presentations on the science, history, and art of lying, and how it applies to our lives in the 21st century.
“Lying is kind of a hot topic right now, with all the buzz about fake news and accusations of cover-ups and deception,” Emory development psychologist and lead organizer Philippe Rochat states on the University’s event page. “When we talk about lying, what we are indirectly trying to understand is, what is the truth? It can be a profound question.”
Talks will begin at 8:30 am and last until 6:30 pm, and include topics such as “Little liars: How children learn to tell lies?” presented by developmental psychologist Kang Lee, “What Happened to The News? – Technology, Politics and the Vanishing Truth” presented by CNN international anchor Jonathan Mann, and “The Science of Magic and the Art of Deception” presented by magician and author Alex Stone.
The event is free and open to the public, though registration for the event is requested, and can be done on the conference’s Eventbrite page. For more information, please contact Natalie Eldred at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404-727-6199.