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a r t i c l e s & i n t e r v i e w s
compiled by Arethinn
This page collects magazine articles, interviews with otherkin, scholarly papers, and other similar things. Keep in mind that these pieces are usually written by outsiders to the community, and as such may contain inaccuracies or misunderstandings even when they are generally sympathetic in tone.
An article entitled "Elven Like Me" appeared in the New York publication The Village Voice in February of 2001. The impending publication of this article spurred a lot of the initial activity in getting Otherkin.Net shaped into a community resource back around 2000.
This article from the March 2001 issue of Fate magazine was an early published article written by someone who is herself otherkin.
Danielle Kirby has written several papers on otherkin, including "From Pulp Fiction to Revealed Text: A Study of the Role of Text in the Otherkin Community" (2016), some of which can be read here on Google Books ; "Alternative Worlds: Metaphysical Questioning and Virtual Community Amongst the Otherkin " (2012); and Fantasy and Belief: Alternative Religions, Popular Narratives, and Digital Cultures (2014).
Another frequent writer on otherkin is Joseph Laycock . See also this list of his works as of February 2012 , compiled by Merticus.
An interview with leanan sidhe and vampire Sylverë ap Leanan on The Graveyard Press
Naya Aerodiode says, "I Believe in Otherkin"
"Otherkin: An Unseen World of the Non-Human" on New Rising Media. Note the corrections and additional information from members of the otherkin community in the comments.
An interview with a Daoine Sithe [sic] named Luke . Some of the responses in this intervew strike me as rather odd ("Innate Species Persona"? a "dark-elfkin" dating a "light-elfkin" would "raise some eyebrows"?), but I link to it here for general interest and perspective.
The Spiritual Tolkien Milieu by Markus Altena Davidsen - Doctoral thesis at Leiden University, 2014. Abstract: This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the organisation and development of the spiritual Tolkien milieu, a largely online-situated network of individuals and groups that draw on J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary mythology for spiritual inspiration. It is the first academic treatment of Tolkien spirituality and one of the first monographs on fiction-based religion, a type of religion that uses fiction as authoritative texts. Adopting a semiotic approach to religion, the book raises questions about the persuasive power of narrative, about religious blending, and about rationalisation of beliefs. How can some readers come to believe that supernatural agents from fictional narratives are real? How do fiction-based religions emerge when their authoritative texts lack important religious building-blocks, such as descriptions of rituals? And how do adherents of fiction-based religions legitimise their beliefs, given the fact that their religion is based on fiction? In short, with Tolkien religion as a case the dissertation aims to uncover the semiotic structures and processes involved in the construction and maintenance of fiction-based religion, and the social structures that support the plausibility of such religion.
Actual Otherkin may of course find this framing of their life experiences as a weird offshoot of human religion to be eyebrow-raising, to say the least. Here are my own marginalia on reading this paper.
On Being Non-Human: Otherkin Identification and Virtual Space by Devin Proctor - Doctoral dissertation at The George Washington University, 2019. Abstract: This dissertation examines digitally-mediated identity and community
construction through the lens of the Otherkin, a group of several thousand people who
identify as other-than-human. They recognize their biological humanness, but
nonetheless experience non-human memories, urges, and sensations. I argue the Otherkin
characterize a larger shift in body-identification that is underway in many industrialized
countries, away from bounded, biologically defined bodies and toward a more plastic,
negotiable type of embodiment I am calling open-bodied identification, evidenced in
growing numbers of people identifying as trans*, nonbinary, fluid, and neurodiverse.
Otherkin experience can be understood as a form of animism, yet it arises out of a
post-Enlightenment paradigm that rejects the infrastructural elements needed for animist
thought (e.g. magic, spirits, kinship with natural elements). The industrialized West
simply does not have the cultural vocabulary to comprehend the virtuality that is animist
experience. What it does have are the virtualities of language and of Internet technology.
Therefore, departing from conceptions of the body as disciplined citizen-subjectivity or
an embodied politics, I approach the human body as a media platform, mediating a self. I
offer the theoretical and heuristic spectrum of virtuality—a sliding situation of being-inthe-
Internet, between poles of the corporeal and the digital—as a way of tracing this Selfmediation,
and through the virtualities of Internet space and language, I propose an
experience of animism that is legible to the West, because it is articulated through its own
The Otherkin experience an incongruence, i.e. “misfit” in the relationship between their corporeal bodies and their Selves, so they turn to Internet technologies to facilitate an “alignment” between the two. This dissertation traces Otherkin engagement with the techno-virtuality afforded by the Internet, along the spectrum of virtuality— through chat forums, personal blogs, 3D virtual worlds, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and Reddit—troubling conventional notions about our relationships with the virtual, our understandings of the Self, and what it means to be a human. Analyzing the Otherkin use of these technologies sheds light on the ways in which we all work to understand ourselves through the animist virtuality of the Internet.
Again, actual Otherkin might find themselves raising their eyebrows as they read these ca. 375 pages... because really, this still frames everything as "well, obviously this can only be a weird human experience, because that's all there is." Again, my own marginalia.
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last updated 4/22/2019