Blain, Jenny

Blain, Jenny (1949– ) – Senior lecturer in applied social sciences in the Faculty of Development and Society at Sheffield Hallam University, where she leads the master’s program in social science research methods. As an anthropologist studying identity and meaning within today’s Paganisms, Blain has written extensively on paganism and contemporary Heathenry, especially shamanistic seidr, focusing on issues of insider research, the anthropology of altered states of consciousness, and gender. Her book Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism (2002) presented autoethnographic and insider research on contemporary seidr practitioners and shamanistic interpretative work on Heathen religions in Northern Europe and contributed to the theorizing of indigenous British and North European shamanisms, as well as to interpretations of Heathenry past (in the Eddas and Sagas) and present (among practitioners). Her journal articles address and contribute to research on shamanisms, Paganisms, ritual studies, gender and sexuality, folklore, and heritage studies, and her contributions to undergraduate texts (including the introductory sociology text Think Twice [2005] she coauthored with Lorne Tepperman) attempt to introduce students to the complexities of thinking about how spirituality and worldview (including cosmology) interface with the everyday world. Blain was coeditor and contributor to the volume Researching Paganisms (2004), which offered new epistemological, theoretical, and methodological considerations on research in the study of culture and identity, through the case example of new nature or earth religions, including her own chapter on seidr. With Robert Wallis, Blain codirects the Sacred Sites, Contested Rights/Rites project examining contemporary Pagan engagements with the past, particularly new-indigenes at sacred sites.


Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007