Happy Hallows, Oxford College Library! From Shakespeare to Harry Potter, magic lives all around us – in our favorite fairy tales, movies, songs, and across pop culture. As a society, we are enchanted by the idea of fairies, witches, sorcerers, demons… anything supernatural. Thus, for the Library November Book Display, we decided on the theme of magic and mystical stories across different cultures. This theme was an obvious nod to Halloween, the spookiest time of the year, but we also wish to explore how magic is viewed across diverse cultures and media. Books are a fascinating medium for immersion into worlds of magic and fantasy: from how to defend oneself against the dark arts to real life myths and legends that still influence the world we live in. These works illustrate how magic has been tied to historical change or social issues, such as racism or misogyny.
We encourage you to consider how our perception of the supernatural has changed throughout time. Is magic viewed the same everywhere? How do religious ceremonies differ from magical rituals, and is that view tainted by the Western perception of religion and magic? In what ways has magic been used as an excuse to discriminate against others in society and create harmful labels? How does magic connect us to each other and help create meaning or purpose in our lives? Whether you enjoy a good ghost story or want to learn about other cultures traditions and practices, this display is for you!