Playing Croquet with Hedgehogs

(Still) Becoming a Scholar of Paganism and Animism


  • Graham Harvey Open University



approaches, animism, guesthood, methods, Paganism, respect, serendipity.


A reflection on the development of a career partly concerned with the study of Paganisms. After indicating some ways of using a quotation from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the article considers the question of the subject matter of Pagan Studies. It connects contemporary Paganisms and other cultural phenomena (e.g. indigenous religions and animisms) and indicates the importance of respecting the hosts of our research. The second half of the article concerns the “difficult game of academia.” It offers some ideas about learning how to play, being open to serendipity, and being aware that some colleagues think different rules are important.

Author Biography

  • Graham Harvey, Open University
    Graham Harvey is Professor of Religious Studies at the Open University, UK. His research is concerned with the performance and rhetoric of identities among Jews, Pagans and indigenous peoples. He is particularly interested in the new animism, embracing relational and material approaches to interactions between humans and the larger than human world. His recent publications include The Handbook of Contemporary Animism (2013) and Food, Sex and Strangers: Understanding Religion as Everyday Life (2013).


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Special Section - Paths into Pagan Studies: Autobiographical Reflections

How to Cite

Harvey, G. (2016). Playing Croquet with Hedgehogs: (Still) Becoming a Scholar of Paganism and Animism. Pomegranate, 17(1-2), 99-114.