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EditorialsUp Front 11/12

Up Front 11/12

Hogwarts fans will be delighted to hear that the University of Huddersfield has recently appointed the world’s first Visiting Professor of Performance Magic. US-born Dr Todd Landman, who combines a career as a magician and mentalist with a post as a Professor of Government, apparently delves deeply into the history and heritage of magic and believes that it enables the world to be viewed with a fresh sense of wonder. He has said he is trying to rescue magic from its worst faults—‘cheesy guys in cheesy ties with rabbits in hats!’ But perhaps what makes him most unique is that in addition to his activities in the realm of magic and performance, he is also Professor of Government and Director of the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution at the University of Essex. As a political scientist and author Professor Landman has written numerous books on human rights and is the former president of the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association. The interest in magic however came first when he was a child growing up in Pennsylvania. His magical upbringing, in what he describes as a rural idyll, included ice skating in winter and swimming in summer. It was only later at university that he developed an interest in politics. For most of his academic career he has managed to keep the two dimensions of his life separate, but more recently he has explored intersections between illusion and politics, such as the use of rhetoric and the exploration of free will. Perhaps his influence at the University of Huddersfield won’t be exactly what budding Harry Potter fans are really after but who could deny the need for a bit of magic to sort out the world’s political problems. Abracadabra—Oh look they’ve all turned into rabbits. Aren’t they sweet… FB

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