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Call for Papers: Resilient esotericism – 18th Annual Conference of the EASR (University of Pisa, August 30 – September 3, 2021)

2020-12-08 15:59 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

Resilient esotericism

Call for Papers for a special panel at the 18th Annual Conference of the EASR at the University of Pisa, August 30 – September 3, 2021.

Organised by Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam) and Henrik Bogdan (University of Gothenburg)

Western esotericism has often been described as a religious and philosophical phenomenon that has had a difficult relationship with mainstream culture and institutions for large parts of its history. Perceived as being based on forms of “rejected knowledge”, it is not difficult to find historical examples of marginalisation or even persecution of esoteric ideas and practices. With the Enlightenment, esotericism was often equated with superstition, quackery and misguided enthusiasm, and it was given for granted that eventually the progress of reason and science would have dispelled the dreams of spiritual visionaries and the secrets of self-styled initiates. However, esotericism has been able to survive marginalisation and has proven the predictions of Enlightenment thinkers wrong. It is very much alive in our societies today and it has travelled far and wide. Its pervasive presence in popular culture has been described with the term of occulture, and its participation in the entangled history of globalisation has led some scholars to reject the idea that esotericism is a “Western” phenomenon at all. Esotericism has therefore proven resilient in many ways and in different periods of its history. It has endured all sorts of challenges and difficulties and has reacted to them by adapting to new situations and taking on ever-changing forms. In this panel, we welcome paper proposals that focus on any aspect of esotericism’s resilience, both from a historical and a sociological perspective. Papers may be proposed on any current, author or group in the long history of Western esotericism, from Late Antiquity up to our contemporary globalised societies.

Submission guidelines:

Please send your paper abstract (150 words max.) and a short bio to the following email addresses: and

Deadline for submission is January 10, 2020. We will not be able to accommodate papers in our panel whose abstract has been sent after that date.

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