Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried
Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried is a writer on mythology and religion. A Norse mythologist and musician in Chicago, he is Adjunct Professor and Pagan Chaplain at Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also Seminar Faculty at Newberry Library, where he teaches courses on mythology, religion, J.R.R. Tolkien and Richard Wagner. He serves as goði (priest) of Thor's Oak Kindred, an inclusive organization dedicated to the practice of the Ásatrú religion in Chicago.
While at the University of Chicago Divinity School, Karl was President of Interfaith Dialogue and served on the Spiritual Life Council, the advisory board for the Spiritual Life Office. He was also Contact Person for the Ásatrú Student Network. He has taught Norse mythology at Loyola University Chicago and Norse religion at Carthage College, where he was founder and faculty advisor of the Tolkien Society.
Karl's website, norsemyth.org, was named the world's Best Religion Weblog in 2012, 2013 and 2014. It is the first religion blog to enter the Weblog Awards Hall of Fame. In addition to original articles and interviews on myth and religion, the site features projects such as the Worldwide Heathen Census 2013, a first attempt to estimate current numbers of adherents of the modern iteration of Norse religion.
Karl is a featured columnist for The Wild Hunt, the primary international source for news and commentary relating to minority religions. Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor at The Federalist, has called The Wild Hunt "a must-read for those interested in news and events dealing with the modern Pagan and Heathen communities – and religion coverage in general."
Karl's writing on mythology and religion has been broadcast on the BBC as part of a series featuring "leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond." His work has been published in Herdfeuer (Germany), Iceland Magazine, Interfaith Ramadan (Italy), MythNow (Joseph Campbell Foundation), On Religion (UK), Religion and Ethics (Australia) and Reykjavík Grapevine (Iceland).
Karl was editor for The Illustrated Hávamál: Sayings of the High One, a dual-language (Old Norse and Modern English) edition of the medieval Odin poem with new illustrations by artist Sam Flegal. He wrote all definitions relating to Ásatrú (Norse religion) in the Religion Newswriters Association's Religion Stylebook, and he was co-author of the Heathen Resource Guide for Chaplains written for the U.S. Department of Defense.
"Denouncing Discrimination, Enforcing Inequality," Karl's essay on lack of diversity in religious, medieval, and Scandinavian studies, is the first piece by a practitioner of Ásatrú to be published in Sightings of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
"One Crime over the Line: iupla in the Mahbhrata," Karl's article examining events at the royal consecration of Yudhihira in light of other happenings in the Mahbhrata, later Indian texts, historical practice and religious concepts, was published in volume 65 of the Journal of the Oriental Institute, the peer-reviewed academic publication of MSU of Baroda (India), the institution that issued critical editions of Vlmki's Rmyaa and the Viu Pura. Karl's article on "Magic and Power in The Laws of Manu, the Arthastra, and the Kmastra" appears in volume 66 of the same journal.
Forthcoming publications include "Children of Heimdall: Ásatrú Ideas of Ancestry" in Revisionism and Diversification in New Religious Movements, Vol. 2 (Ashgate Inform Series on Minority Religions and Spiritual Movements, Routledge) and "Ásatrú and Hindu: From Prophecy to Dialogue" in Learning from Other Religions: Leaving Room for Holy Envy (Palgrave Macmillan). Karl will also edit The Illustrated Völuspá, to be released in 2018.
Karl has been interviewed on myth and religion by the ABC, The Atlantic, BBC, Boston Globe, Chicago Public Radio's Morning Edition, Chronicle of Higher Education, Daily Beast, History Channel, Inverse, OnFaith, Public Radio International's The World, Raven Radio, Strings Magazine, Viking Magazine, Wired Magazine and Ynet. He has been a featured lecturer on literary and musical interpretations of Norse mythology at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wagner Society of America and Wheaton College.
A member of the American Academy of Religion, Religion Newswriters Association, Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, and Viking Society for Northern Research (UK), Karl is also the Official Norse Mythologist of the Stephanie Miller Show.
After receiving an academic scholarship in 2014 and earning an MA in 2017, Karl is now the first practitioner of Ásatrú to hold a graduate degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He also holds degrees in literature and music from University of California at San Diego, University of Wisconsin at Madison and University of Texas at Austin. He studied literature and art history at Loyola University Chicago Rome Center in Italy and has taken Icelandic language courses through University of Iceland's distance learning program.
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