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ContERN: Contemporary Esotericism Research Network

ContERN connects scholars working on esotericism in the contemporary world. Our primary goals are to promote scholarship on contemporary esotericism in ways that are congruent with the broader field of Western esotericism; encourage the integration of social scientific theoretical and methodological approaches and perspectives while maintaining a strong emphasis on historical awareness; and actively encourage the development of new theory and method in the field.

ContERN works to create possibilities for networking and forums for scholarly discussion through the organisation of conferences, conference panels, and scholarly publications, but also by maintaining an online presence. Promoting interdisciplinary cooperation is also central to ContERNs goals, and the network seeks to interact with, e.g., sociology, anthropology and various subdisciplines of religious studies.

Please find more information at the ContERN website, and Google group.

Network organizers/coordinators:

Egil Asprem (Coordinator)

Susannah Crockford  (Coordinator)

Kennet Granholm (Coordinator)

ESODID: Esotericism and Didactics

The goal of the network is threefold: Firstly, to provide a forum for the study of teaching and learning in esoteric currents – a fresh theoretical perspective in the field of esotericism studies. Secondly, to function as a forum for all those who teach esotericism in university or primary school contexts – within EsoDid, teachers can discuss, share, and refine their teaching methods. Thirdly, the network will facilitate the development of better didactic skills in communicating our research findings to the general public.

The coordinators of EsoDid are:

Per Faxneld (

Olivia Cejvan (

Johan Nilsson (

ESOGEN: ESSWE Esotericism, Gender, and Sexuality Network

This network aims to foster dialogue on the role of gender and sexuality in Western esotericism. From antiquity to the present day, individuals have continually deployed esoteric ideas to explicate, challenge, or completely overhaul traditional binaries of sex and gender; as such, the history of Western esotericism overlaps continually with that of feminism, eugenics, sexology, free love, celibacy, gay and lesbian liberation, polyamory, gender non-conformity, and other such currents. Despite these convergences, gender and sexuality have only recently emerged as key analytical categories within the field, and many of their implications for esotericism are yet to be explored and theorized. Since 2000, important initiatives in this direction have been forged by researchers both within and beyond esotericism studies, including scholars of religion, cultural studies, literature, art history, critical gender, sexuality, and queer theory.[1] As of yet, however, scholars have lacked a platform through which to exchange their ideas and share their findings across disciplinary lines. ESOGEN provides a vital forum for such exchange.

The co-directors of ESOGEN are Manon Hedenborg White (Karlstad Univeristy) and Christine Ferguson (University of Stirling). For more information, contact

Christine Ferguson (

Manon Hedenborg White (

ESOLIT: Esotericism and Literature

The intersection of literature and esotericism has attracted attention within literary history for a long time. Literary history and criticism was fruitfully expanded by including esotericism in its field, and, vice versa, some of the major contributions to literary history were important for the general study of esotericism. The aim of the network is to bring together researchers working in different philologies and to provide a forum for meeting and discussion between those ESSWE members with backgrounds in literature and those in other specializations who are interested in the topic. The Network will organize workshops and conferences (online and/or in person) with a view to publishing volumes or thematic issues arising from these events. It will also establish a channels for communication between the members and for public presentation taking care of the informations about recent publications in different languages and about student programs.

For more information, contact Nemanja Radulović, University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philology   (

Website: FB group ESOLIT

ESSWE Student Network

The ESSWE Student Network was designed to connect student members. It facilitates the building of relationships between students of Western Esotericism on an international level. The network also works to enhance professional development for student scholars and provides them with an opportunity to be mentored by more senior scholars.

The primary goal of the network is to facilitate the organization of student activities, including the biennial thesis workshop, professional development activities, and the biennial conference. This will be done through maintaining an online presence.  Please contact the student network coordinator with your ideas for student activities.

Network coordinator: Mriganka Mukhopadhyay, student representative to the board of directors may be contacted at

NSEA: ESSWE Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity

The Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity (NSEA) provides contact for specialists of ancient esoteric thought, history, and literature. While the ancient sources (Gnostic, theurgic, Neoplatonic, Hermetic, etc.) of Western Esotericism possess enormous importance for the development of esoteric currents from the fourteenth century onwards, there remains only a minimum of interaction between the antiquity experts and their (proto)-modern colleagues. The Network therefore is intended to introduce scholarship on ancient Esotericism to the rest of ESSWE, while also serves as a forum in which to exchange ideas, notes and references, etc. outside of other professional bodies which are not concerned with Esotericism per se, and to coordinate study and workshops with other working groups on the subject, such as the Society of Biblical Literature's Section on Esotericism and Mysticism in Antiquity. Finally, the NSEA website ( provides an expansive portal with up-to-date information on the manifold scholarly resources the student of antiquity may access online, as well as relevant news about new publications, conferences, etc.

The co-directors of NSEA are Dr. Dylan M. Burns (Leipzig) and Sarah Veale (University of Toronto).

Click HERE to visit the NSEA website

For more information, please contact Nicholas Banner:

OSAN: Occult South Asia Network

In the academic study of esoteric currents and occultism, the theme “India’’ has remained a strong undercurrent since the early days. There have been discussions around the concept of the "Mystic East" or “the Magic East” and its influence towards Western esotericism from the very beginning. In recent times approaches that emphasize the interaction of South Asian and foreign occult cultures in colonial and postcolonial times are of increased importance.

OSAN aims to contribute to a critical and nuanced understanding of

  1. occult and esoteric currents and their practitioners in modern South Asia
  2. the impact of South Asian ideas and practices on modern esoteric and occult currents on the global stage.

South Asia will thus be viewed as a theme as well as a site for the study of esotericism and occultism.

Please find more information on OSAN blog

Network Convenors: Karl Baier ( and Mriganka Mukhopadhyay (


POLESO is an academic network for scholarly discussion about the relation between politics and esotericism. It falls under the auspices of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE). POLESO’s historical scope is not limited to modern or contemporary society but includes the study of historical developments from antiquity to the present. Culturally and geographically, the focus is on Western culture understood in a broad and inclusive sense, while taking into account the relevance of interactions with non-Western contexts. As an academic network committed to critical scholarly debate that seeks to stimulate objective knowledge and understanding, POLESO does not provide a context for political advocacy or activism of any kind.

Contact: Wouter J. Hanegraaff


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