Let the dead speak

Spiritualism in Australia

By Andrew Singleton and Matt Tomlinson

Let the dead speak
Hardcover -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526181022
  • Publish Date: Jan 2025
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: Hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-8102-2
    • Pages: 240
    • Price: £85.00
    • Published Date: January 2025


    This book explores the historical and social dynamics of Spiritualism - a religious movement associated in the popular imagination with nineteenth-century parlour séances and ghost photography. It continues to be practised actively today in Australia, the UK, and USA. The authors draw on their deep fieldwork, interviews, and archival research to analyse Spiritualism's resilience and the enduring popular appeal of mediumship.

    There are three key contributions of the book: the first is that the scholarly study of "belief" should be rehabilitated. The authors propose a model of belief as a dialogue between claims to truth and commitments to institutions supporting those claims. The second is women's agency in Spiritualism. From the movement's beginnings, strong female leaders have decisively shaped its religious and political profile. The third is the need to analyse Australian Spiritualism as a distinct variant of a transnational Anglophone family of ritual practice.


    1 The Age of Aquarius
    2 An Ever-Widening Circle of Interest
    3 The Victorian Spiritualists' Union and the Changing Face of Twentieth Century Australia
    4 The Service
    5 Healing and Perfection
    6 Metaphysical Therapy
    7 The Theatre for Belief
    8 A Little Outpost
    9 Typically Spiritualist
    10 Race and Ethnicity in the Spirit World
    11 How Australian Is Australian Spiritualism?
    Afterword. Here and Hereafter
    Appendix A: Emma Hardinge Britten in Australia, 1878-1879
    Appendix B: Arthur Conan Doyle's The Wanderings of a Spiritualist: Missionary Work in Australia, 1920-1921
    Appendix C: Transcript of the Canberra Spiritualist Association Service of 6 August 2017


    Matt Tomlinson is Associate Dean (Research) and Professor of Anthropology at the Australian National University.

    Andrew Singleton is Professor of Sociology and Social Research at Deakin University.

    Let the dead speak

    By Andrew Singleton, Matt Tomlinson

    Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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