Sabina Magliocco

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Sabina Magliocco (born December 30, 1959), is a professor of Anthropology and Folklore at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She is an author of non-fiction books and journal articles about folklore, religion, religious festivals, foodways, witchcraft and Neo-Paganism in Europe and the United States.

A recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation,[1] National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright Program and Hewlett Foundation, Magliocco is an honorary fellow of the American Folklore Society. From 2004 to 2009, she served as editor of Western Folklore, the quarterly journal of the Western States Folklore Society. At CSUN, she is faculty advisor for the CSUN Cat People, an organization dedicated to humane population control and maintenance of feral cats on the university’s campus.[2]

Early life

Magliocco was born December 30, 1959, in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Italian immigrants. Her father first arrived in the USA in 1953 on a Fulbright Fellowship specializing in psychiatry and neurology. Her mother joined him after they were married in 1958. From 1960 to 1976, her family spent summers living in Italy, specifically Rome, San Felice Circeo, Lazio and Castiglione della Pescaia, Tuscany. Her family moved from Topeka to Cincinnati in 1966, where Magliocco graduated from Walnut Hills High School (Cincinnati, Ohio) in 1977.

She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1980 with a BA in Anthropology. At Indiana University’s Folklore Institute, Bloomington, Indiana, she received her MA (1983) and Ph.D. (1988) in Folklore, with a minor in Anthropology.[3]


After working on post-doctoral research in Italy with a Fulbright fellowship in 1989, Magliocco began her career teaching classes in Folklore and Anthropology. From 1990 to 1994, she taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her other teaching positions have included UCLA (1994), UC Santa Barbara (1995), UC Berkeley (1995–1997), and her current position at California State University, Northridge, where she has been teaching since 1997. She became the chair of the Department of Anthropology at Northridge in 2007.[4]

Fieldwork and research interests

Magliocco did fieldwork in northwestern Sardinia (Italy) during the 1980s, studying the effect of socio-economic transformation on the traditional festivals of a pastoral highland community. The Two Madonnas and Le due Marie di Bessude were the result of this research. Magliocco's studies of contemporary Neopagans in the San Francisco Bay Area provided the subject material for Witching Culture and Neo-Pagan Sacred Art and Altars. In Cornwall, England, her fieldwork on the Padstow May Day celebration was used to produce Oss Tales. Magliocco is currently working on a project based on traditional healing practices in Italy.[5]

She has written several journal articles that have had significant impact on modern scholarship about witchcraft and the USA revival of Italian-American Stregheria.[6] Magliocco is an initiate of Gardnerian Wicca.[7]

From 2012 to 2014, Magliocco made appearances on 17 episodes of the History Channel series, Ancient Aliens, as a commentator speaking about folkloric concepts related to the theme of each episode.[8][9] She also appeared as a commentator on three episodes of the Scary Tales television series in 2011.[10]



Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004)

Neo-Pagan Sacred Art and Altars: Making Things Whole (University of Mississippi Press, 2001)

Le due Marie di Bessude: festa e transformazione sociale in Sardegna (Ozieeri, Italy: Edizioni Il Torchietto, 1995)

The Two Madonnas: the Politics of Festival in a Sardinian Community (1993; 2nd Edition, Waveland Press, 2005)


Oss Tales & Oss Oss Wee Oss Redux: Beltane in Berkeley (with John Bishop; Media Generations Productions, 2007)

Significant articles

“Aradia in Sardinia: the Archeology of a Folk Character,” in D. Green and D. Evans, ed., Ten Years of Triumph of the Moon: Essays in Honor of Ronald Hutton, 40–60. Bristol, UK: Hidden Publishing, 2009.

“Italian American Stregheria and Wicca: Ethnic Ambivalence in American Neopaganism,” in Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives, ed. by Michael Strmiska (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006), 55–86.


  1. "Sabina Magliocco". Fellows Finder. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved June 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Sabina Magliocco, Ph.D". California State University, Northridge bio page. Retrieved June 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Full-time Faculty". Department of Anthropology. California State University, Northridge. Retrieved June 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Contact Information: Dr. Sabina Magliocco". CSUN College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Retrieved June 23, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. author's bio on
  6. See "Significant articles" in Bibliography
  7. From author's notes in Witching Culture (see Bibliography)
  8. "Sabina Magliocco". IMDB. Retrieved August 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Ancient Aliens". Retrieved August 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Scary Tales". IMDB. Retrieved August 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links