CFP: ESSWE 6 Western Esotericism and Deviance

6th ESSWE Conference: Western Esotericism and Deviance
When: June 1-3, 2017
Where: Augustinekloster Erfurt, Germany
Submission Deadline: November 15, 2016

The Call for Papers has been announced for the 6th ESSWE Conference, to be held in Erfurt, Germany in 2017. Please see the call for papers below:

One of the master narratives in the study of Western esotericism is that esoteric ideas, authors and currents have, for the most part of Western history, been subject to processes of othering, marginalization, rejection or prohibition by dominant or mainstream cultural and religious discourses. For some scholars, this exclusion has been one of the main criteria for defining the very concept of ‘Western esotericism’. However, recent approaches that have highlighted the entanglement of esoteric ideas and mainstream culture point to the need of developing a more nuanced picture of the relationship between esoteric and mainstream discourse, in pre-modern as well as contemporary times. The conference theme ‘Western Esotericism and Deviance’ thus calls for a closer examination of this master narrative by specifically addressing the social and cultural embeddedness of esoteric ideas, authors and currents in Western history.

Crucial questions to be addressed during the conference may be:

  • (How) can we evaluate or measure the deviant or marginal status of esoteric ideas, authors, or currents?
  • Are polemics against esoteric ideas, authors or currents evidence for their marginal acceptance or rather their wide distribution and large appeal in a given historical context?
  • What are the driving forces behind the rejection, othering and marginalization of esoteric ideas, authors, or currents?
  • Is the talk about ‘deviance’ only the product of scholarly stereotypes or misconceptions?
  • Can we distinguish different forms or types of ‘deviance’ in the study of Western esotericism?
  • How do polemics against esoteric ideas, authors and currents differ across time periods?
  • Is ‘occulture’ a phenomenon of the 20th and 21st centuries only?
  • What are the motivations and strategies of ‘secrecy’ and ‘concealment’ in different strands and periods of Western esotericism? To what extent are they a response to perceived ‘deviance’?

A detailed description of the conference topic can be found here.

Keynote sessions with: Marion Gibson, Olav Hammer, Jay Johnston, Martin Mulsow, Marco Pasi, and Kocku von Stuckrad.

Presentations should last no more than 20 minutes. Papers are invited in English. We would like to encourage panel organizers to engage in innovative presentation and discussion formats.

Please review the submission guildelines here.