Magic(al)ing in a time of COVID-19: becoming literacies and new inquiry practices

Candace R. Kuby*, Jennifer Rowsell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This article conceptualizes the notion of magic(al)ing in relation to post-pandemic ways of thinking about data production and analyses. Revisiting old data produced pre-COVID-19 and engaging with new data produced during COVID-19, we consider the possibilities and potential of magic(al)ing as a theoretical concept. We think with several ideas informed by feminist ‘new’ materialists and post-inspired philosophies to conceptualize magic(al)ing: monism, spacetimemattering, blooms spaces and the pedagogy of an affective world. Over a year, we embarked on a reading/thinking inquiry about magic and literacies and their combined strength in locating literacies as embodied, relational, and sensory. Magic(al)ing has the potential to frame literacy moments as socio-material instances filled with affective flows and intensities. The concept of magic(al)ing fosters a space to not only rethink literacy but also to explore humans in relation to literacies. Kuby returns to an orange-paper-frog-puppet, a magic(al)ing moment that she often comes back to when thinking of the be(com)ing of literacies, especially in the uncertain times we find ourselves in a pandemic. Rowsell returns to a flowery artifact by a little girl who took part in a makerspace study in April 2019, speculating on how the same research could be conducted during lockdown. We also think-with new, unexpected data produced during COVID-19. As we engage again with these magic(al)ing moments, we explore the guest editors’ question: What methodological approaches are possible, and which kinds of research collaborations are appropriate?.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Early online date29 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • affect
  • covid-19
  • literacy
  • magic
  • philosophy
  • Post-qualitative research
  • Spinoza


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