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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Gualala Arts Lecture Series presents:
Magic in Malaysia

with Diane Wickstrom

Monday, October 30, 7:00 pm
$5 donation requested

Magic in Malaysia, with Diane Wickstrom Diane Wickstrom will be giving a lecture about "Magic in Malaysia" on Monday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m.

"I had an opportunity to spend about 5 weeks with a Malay middle class Muslim family outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital, several years ago. They knew I was an anthropologist, would return to California to share their information with my students, and opened their homes, hearts and beliefs to me so that I could try to understand their culture in such a short time, at least as I was able to do so... They knew I was interested in magic, sorcery and possession, not only in their culture but elsewhere as well.

I will always be grateful for their friendship, openness and guidance.

The lecture will include experiences with and tales of magic, sorcery and possession from the family's and my perspective. I attended weddings, engagement events (very major in their lives), a birth of a child, and just everyday events - many of which had magical connections. Perhaps the most telling story was a very personal one involving, in our terms, blackmail and death threats over an (then) unborn child.

Magic in Malaysia, with Diane Wickstrom Magic in Malaysia, with Diane Wickstrom

I also had the opportunity to attend a Thaipusam ceremony, a major annual Hindu ceremony at Batuk Caves just outside of Kuala Lumpur.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Malaysia is that I wrote a major paper in graduate school about a particular possession phenomena there (and later learned it also existed in Southern Thailand). This was my opportunity to learn more and maybe to see someone in this state."

Diane Wickstrom has taught anthropology for 33 years at College of Marin in Kentfield, retiring in 2001. While at the college, she traveled extensively in Asia and SE Asia learning as much as possible about the various cultures visited, then bringing back to her students her experiences and knowledge, giving her students an opportunity to appreciate the differences and similarities between cultures. She was present at Tiananmen Square when it was occupied by students, thousands of whom were massacred by government forces. She has returned to China at least three times since then to see how her Chinese friends are faring.

Her primary interests have been magic, religion, sorcery and witchcraft. Diane received her B.A. from Willamette University, her M.A. from the University of Washington, and did PhD studies at UC Berkeley. Her interests include golf, birding, photography, and gold mining in Siskiyou County where she has a mining claim. She has lived in the Gualala area since 2002.

Located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, the Arts Center is open weekdays 9 am to 4 pm, and weekends from noon to 4 pm. Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information.