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    • 2021-09-29
    • 2021-10-01
    • Zoom

    Islam and Esotericism: Societies, Politics, and Practices

    Call for Papers

    2021 Meeting of the European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE): 29 September-1 October 2021 on Zoom

    The European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE) invites proposals for its 2021 meeting, to be held on Zoom 29 September-1 October 2021. The theme for the meeting is “Islam and Esotericism: Societies, Politics, and Practices.”

    Religious studies, and especially the study of esotericism, tend to focus on text production and ideas. Societies, politics, practices—and also economics, social forms, and the material—are often neglected in the study of esotericism, partly due to methodological challenges. We would therefore like to invite scholars to submit proposals focusing on these dimensions of Islam and esotericism, of esotericism and Islam, and of Islamic esotericism.

    We especially invite proposals from sociologists and anthropologists, as well as other scholars. The chronological scope stretches from medieval to contemporary times.

    We invite papers that engage with these aims, but—as usual—proposals relating to Islam and Esotericism that do not relate to the meeting theme are also welcome.

    The meeting will be held over successive afternoons to make it possible for both European scholars and scholars in American time zones to participate.

    There is no fee for attending the meeting.


    The meeting is being held in 2021 rather than 2022 (when it would normally be held, following ENSIE’s standard practice) because the 2021 meeting of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE), of which ENSIE is a thematic network, has moved its 2021 conference to 2022 because of Covid, and ENSIE’s 2022 meeting will therefore be part of ESSWE’s 2022 conference.


    By 15 May 2021, please send to

    • The title and abstract (250 words maximum) of your proposed paper.
    • Your name, institution, academic position, a brief bio
    • A short CV.

    Scientific committee

    The meeting is organised by

    • Mark Sedgwick, Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies, Aarhus University, and Convener of ENSIE
    • Liana Saif, assistant professor in the History of Western Esotericism in The Middle Ages, University of Amsterdam
    • Francesco Piraino, Postdoc, Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice, and Fondazione Giorgio Cini
    • Michele Petrone, Adjunct professor, Università di Milano

    Updates at

    • 2021-10-08
    • 2021-10-10
    • Zoom

    The Theosophical Movement and Globalism

    Interconnections, Innovations, and Comparisons 

    Online via zoom 8-10 October 2021 

    We live in a time in which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected. A steady growing number of people from all around the globe directly participate in this by travelling to faraway destinations, meeting people from various cultures, by using the various media platforms, which the internet has made available, or by following global news. This interconnectedness does, however, not only take place by our current population becoming geographically closer but also manifests itself through time. Historical awareness also brings the past into the present. Increased historical study of the great variety of cultures from around the world and their histories thus facilitate a global interconnectedness through time. Global history, as a relatively new approach to world history, for example, seeks to cultivate the richness of past, present, and cross-cultural perspectives by taking the globe as the point of departure.

    The Theosophical Society (est. 1875) and the many groups, events, and cultural dynamics that make up the broader “Theosophical Movement” has almost from the outset been globally oriented.

    Primary spokespersons of the Theosophical Society have for example been keen on combining ideas and concepts from a wide variety of cultures and from different time-periods. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s works are for example figuratively speaking tightly woven textual carpets build of numerous references to ancient Egypt, India, Tibet, China, Greece and to traditions such as Platonism, Hermetism, spiritualism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Modern philosophers and scholars of various scientific disciplines are also a part of this texture. There is interconnectedness and an attempt to synthesize the global cultural heritage in Theosophy.  In a certain respect, Theosophy is a reflection of global history and modern globalism.

    This global tendency of the Theosophical Society also has a more contemporary geographical dimension. Blavatsky (born in Russia) was by nature already a world-citizen having travelled extensively and having become an American citizen. The global outlook was a part of her awareness and together with Henry S. Olcott, she singled out India as the right place for the headquarters of the society. Due to this early global outlook, the Theosophical Society has members from many different countries and thereby now has a global history. The Theosophical Society has likewise influenced global politics, as is well known in relation to the independence of India and has been instrumental as a carrier of cultural elements both from Europe and America to Asia as well as from Asia to Europe and America.

    This thematic focus on the Theosophical movement in relation to globalism, therefore, welcomes a global array of papers from an equally broad array of disciplines. Some theoretical keywords are interconnections, innovations, differences, comparisons, ideologies and entanglements; and some of the central questions that we want to address are:

    • How do Theosophists deal with, approach, use, or portray different traditions or ideas from around the world or from different time periods, and why? Are such traditions or ideas seen as fundamentally interconnected with or different from Theosophy? Are all traditions and ideas equal in value and applicability? Does Theosophy reinterpret them and thereby innovate upon established traditions and their meanings? Are differences or similarities highlighted? Is the use of such varying traditions entangled with a number of sources (such as translations of texts from the traditions by non-theosophists) or perspectives (from different world-views or ideological backgrounds)?
    • What has the role of Theosophical Society been in the formulation of so-called ‘modern Buddhism’ and ‘neo-Hinduism’?
    • Is Theosophy or Theosophical literature global? Are there many voices in Theosophical literature from around the globe or has it primarily a European or American voice?
    • Is the Theosophical Society a global society? Why, why not, and how?
    • How is the Theosophical movement related to globalization and globalism?
    • Is Theosophy a part of “Western esotericism”. How and why? Does the terms “Western” “esotericism” help in the classification and understanding of the Theosophical movement?
    • What is the role of India in the Theosophical movement? India is the home of the Adyar headquarters and many other Theosophical centres. India holds a central place in Theosophical history and India is, to many people within the Theosophical movement, a place of special ideological and occult significance. Why and how?
    • Do the perspectives on Theosophy vary in different parts of the world? Is Theosophy viewed differently today than it was in its early years? Why and how?
    • How does the Theosophical movement relate to traditional cultures? Is there a tension between globalism and traditional cultures in the Theosophical movement?
    • Has the Theosophical movement produced perspectives on the globe, cultural centres, our current time- or previous time-periods and are these reflected in modern processes of globalization?
    • Why and how has the Theosophical movement promoted world peace, universal brotherhood, vegetarianism and ecology?
    • Has the global tendency of Theosophy influenced the modern arts (such as visual or textual)? Has Theosophy influenced Asian or European literature by for example introducing “foreign concepts”, such as the “Western” notion of “the occult” in Asia or the “Eastern” idea of karma in Europe and the US? Do we find depictions of Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, and Buddha in Europe or elsewhere due to Theosophy or of Pythagoras and Christ in Asia because of Theosophy?

    Keynote Speakers

    Karl Baier (Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Religious Studies, University of Vienna, Austria).

    Paper Proposals

    Any person may submit a paper to the conference committee on any aspect of the subject. Summaries of no more than 200 words and 50 words biography should be sent to the secretary of the ITHC Erica Georgiades via email ( All paper proposals will be evaluated by our scientific conference committee prior to acceptance.


    Suggested presentation time 30 minutes including questions and answers.

    Important Dates 

    • Deadline for submission of a paper: 1 June 2021
    • Notification of acceptance: 1 July 2021

    Registration & Fees

    The conference is free of charge and everyone is welcome.

    The online registration to the 2021 ITHC will open when the programme is released. The conference zoom link will be announced alongside the programme. For more information, please send an email to


    Online – Zoom Platform. 

    Date 8-10 October 2021

    The conference schedule will be based on different time zones. Specifics will be available when the full programme is released.

    Conference Committee 

    • Conference Chair: Prof. Tim Rudbøg (Associate professor, Science of Religion, director of the Copenhagen Centre for the Study of Theosophy and Esotericism, University of Copenhagen)
    • Prof. James Santucci (Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at California State University, Fullerton.)
    • Erica Georgiades (MRes Religious Experience Cand, University of Wales Trinity Saint David; PgD Merit Ancient Religions UWTSD; BA, Hons, Philosophy and Psychological Studies OU)..

Past events

2021-05-25 Prof. Dr. Marco Pasi, University of Amsterdam ‘“Witchcraft with Capital W”: The Magical Art of Chiara Fumai’
2021-05-20 Dr. Susan Jean Palmer: Children of Chiliasm - Concepts of the “Child” in Contemporary Spiritual Movements, Questions of Identity, Symbolism and Ownership. ESSWE Online Lecture Series 2021
2021-05-18 Prof. Dr. Victoria Ferentinou (University of Ioannina): "Colours are things" - the visionary art of Frixos Aristeus
2021-05-11 Dr. Erin Yerby (Rice University): The Body as Spectral Shape: Spiritualist Mediumship and Anglo-American Iconoclasm
2021-05-04 Prof. Dr. Ehler Voss (University of Bremen): Magic Tipping Points. On Deceptions and Detections
2021-04-16 ESOGEN Symposium: Esotericism, Gender, and Sexuality
2021-03-25 Dr. Korshi Dosoo: What are the Magical Papyri? ESSWE Online Lecture Series 2021
2020-12-03 ENSIE2 “Islamic Esotericism in Global Contexts”
2020-11-03 Aesthetic and Scientific Epistemologies of the Occult in the XIX Century - lecture series
2020-09-14 Online Conference: "For There I, Hayyim, was Living: R. Hayyim Vital and His World" - An Online Conference Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of his Death (1620-2020)
2019-07-02 Call for papers: ESSWE7 - 7th Biannual Conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (University of Amsterdam, 2-4 July 2019)
2017-06-01 The Sixth International ESSWE Conference: Western Esotericism and deviance
2016-10-27 Public Religions and Their Secrets, Secret Religions and Their Publics
2016-07-07 Thesis Workshop: Magical Traditions and Medieval Religions of the Book
2016-03-24 Association For the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism, Eighth International Conference
2016-03-21 Call for Papers - Demon Things: Ancient Egyptian Manifestations of Liminal Entities
2015-11-21 Call for Papers: AAR - Western Esotericism Group
2015-10-22 Sixteenth-Century Studies Conference
2015-08-23 XXI World Congress of International Association for the History of Religions
2015-07-21 Magic and the Supernatural in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods
2015-07-10 Biennial London Chaucer Conference: Science, Magic and Technology
2015-07-06 Egyptian and Jewish Magic in Antiquity
2015-05-08 The Spirits as Artists: Spiritualism and the Visual Arts
2015-04-23 Marginal presences: unorthodox belief and practice, 1837-2014
2015-04-16 ESSWE5: Western Esotericism and the East
2015-03-19 The Marginalization of Astrology
2015-03-14 Interplay: Rethinking Music, Mathematics, and Alchemical Praxis in Michael Maier's Atalanta fugiens (1618)
2015-03-05 Magic and Intellectual History
2015-01-11 Exhibition: Rudolf Steiner - Alchemie van het alledaagse
2014-11-19 Um 1600 Konstellationen zwischen Schulmetaphysik, Konfessionalisierung und hermetischer Spekulation
2014-10-30 Art, Eros and Esotericism
2014-10-26 The Alchemist and the Royal Typographer: John Dee and Willem Sylvius
2014-10-24 SHAC Postgraduate Workshop: Geographies of Alchemy and Chemistry
2014-10-15 Latin Alchemical Literature of Czech Provenance
2014-10-09 Astrologie, divination et magie dans les cours (XIIe-XVIIe siècle)
2014-08-10 Art and Alchemy Exhibition: The Mystery of Transformation
2014-07-04 Jacob Boehme and His World
2014-07-04 Western Esotericism in Central and Eastern Europe - Over the Centuries
2014-06-28 The Marriage of Heaven and Earth: Images and Representations of the Sky in Sacred Space
2014-06-26 ‘Twice Upon a Time: Magic, Alchemy and the Transubstantiation of the Senses’
2014-06-26 New Antiquities: Transformations of the Past in the New Age and Beyond
2014-06-26 Revisiting Early Modern Prophecies (c.1500-c.1815)
2014-06-08 Scripted Forms of Magic Knowledge: Grimoires in the Matrix of Western Cultures
2014-05-11 EASR14: Religion and Pluralities of Knowledge
2014-05-10 ESSWE Thesis Workshop: 'Alterations of Consciousness'
2014-04-23 Scientiae 2014: Disciplines of Knowing in the Early Modern World
2014-04-05 Art and Alchemy Exhibition: The Mystery of Transformation
2014-03-27 Tracking Hermes/Mercury
2014-03-20 Call for Papers - The Common Denominator 2014: A Postgraduate Conference in British Cultural Studies
2014-03-14 Call for Papers - Visions of Enchantment: Occultism, Spirituality & Visual Culture
2013-12-16 Theosophical Appropriations: Kabbalah, Western Esotericism and the Transformation of Traditions
2013-11-23 Call for Papers - Western Esotericism Session at the American Academy of Religion Conference 2013
2013-11-16 Call for Papers: Altered Consciousness, 1918-1980
2013-10-24 "Lived Religion" - 2013 Annual Meeting of the Dutch Association for the Study of Religion (NGG)
2013-10-23 Call for Papers - Forms and Transformations of Pythagorean Knowledge: Askēsis – Religion – Science
2013-09-25 Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy and the Arts in the Modern World
2013-08-28 Call for Papers - Occult Geographies: (im)material agents and the geographical imagination
2013-07-19 Methodische Reflexionen zum Spannungsverhältnis zwischen magischem Text und Bild
2013-06-26 ESSWE 4: Western Esotericism and Health
2013-06-22 CFP Celestial Magic: Eleventh Annual Sophia Centre Conference
2013-06-14 Call for Papers: Second Sight and Prophecy
2013-06-13 Esoteric Quest for Ancient, Arabic and Medieval Sicily
2013-06-11 Masterclass - "Satanism": Between Myth and Reality
2013-05-09 CFP - Societas Magica Sessions, International Congress of Medieval Studies
2013-05-09 CFP - Technical Communication in the Middle Ages
2013-04-22 Call for Papers: Demons and Illness - Theory and Practice from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period
2013-04-18 Call for Papers- Scientiae 2013: Disciplines of Knowing in the Early Modern World
2013-04-13 Call for Papers - SYNTHESIS: Esotericism and the Sciences Conference
2013-04-11 Call for Papers: Celestial Bodies and their Orbit in Art
2013-04-05 Text, Context, and Non-Text: Grimoires and Ritual Magic in Culture, Literature, and Art
2013-04-04 CFP Art and Healing, 1300-1700
2013-04-04 CFP The Ironies of Alchemy in Early Modern English Literature
2013-03-27 Call for Papers about Tarot for the PCA/ACA Conference
2013-03-16 In the Beginning: Sources of Alchemy and Chemistry
2013-01-30 CFP 21st-Century Science: Health, Agency and Well-Being
2012-12-03 Charming Intentions: Occultism, Magic and the History of Art
2012-11-16 CFP - Mapping the Occult City: Exploring Magick and Esotericisim in the Urban Utopia
2012-10-29 Narrative Magic: Transformations Through Story-Telling
2012-10-26 Call for Papers: Jung in the Academy and Beyond
2012-10-25 Sixteenth Century Studies Conference 2012
2012-10-15 Call for Papers - Russia and Gnosis: The Fates of the Religious-Philosophical Searches of Nikolai Novikov and his Circle
2012-10-11 Virtue Ethics and Renaissance Neoplatonism - PhD Workshop
2012-10-05 Purgatio spiritus: Banishment and Purification of the Spirits in the Sixteenth Century
2012-09-21 Exploring the Extraordinary
2012-09-07 Call for Papers - Edges of Freemasonry
2012-08-27 Call for Papers - Contemporary Esotericism
2012-08-17 Call for Papers - Capturing Witches: Histories, Stories, Images 400 years after the Lancashire Witches
2012-07-27 Literature, Science and Medicine in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods
2012-07-23 CFP - 'Magic is Might 2012': An International Academic Conference Exploring the Cultural Influences of the Harry Potter Books and Films
2012-07-14 Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition Conference 2012
2012-07-12 Call for Papers - Esoteric Traditions in the Ancient and Modern World
2012-07-06 ESSWE Magic Thesis Workshop
2012-06-30 Dee Day: A Conference exploring the World of Dr. John Dee
2012-06-23 Call for Papers - Astrology in Time and Place: Cross-Cultural Questions in the History of Astrology
2012-06-14 Association for the Study of Esotericism Fourth Annual Conference
2012-06-09 An Esoteric Quest for Ancient Alexandria: Greco-Egyptian Birthplace of the Western Mind
2012-05-23 Fernando Pessoa and the Esoteric Experience
2012-05-23 The Materiality of Magic
2012-05-21 Kabbalah and Science in Modern Jewish Culture
2012-05-18 Body, Soul, Spirits and Supernatural Communication
2012-05-06 Sixteenth Century Studies Conference 2012
2012-04-20 Call for Papers - Science and the Occult: From Antiquity to the Early Modern Period
2012-04-13 From Alchemy to Chemistry
2012-04-11 Call for Papers - Tarot at the 2012 PCA/ACA Conference
2012-04-07 Call for Papers - Perspectives in American Freemasonry and Fraternalism
2012-03-22 2nd Annual INASWE Conference
2012-03-21 Mito y Magia en Grecia y Roma
2012-03-20 Call for Papers - The 4th Israeli Conference for the Study of Contemporary Spiritualities (ISCSC)
2012-03-06 Lecture, Charles Webster, 'Paracelsus: Chemistry and Revolution'
2012-01-26 The Demonic Seminar
2011-12-02 Demons and Devils in Early Modern Europe
2011-12-02 Russian Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism, Fifth International Conference
2011-11-21 ESSWE and Aries Reception at the AAR (American Academy of Religion) Conference
2011-11-05 Hermetische Harmonie
2011-10-22 XIII CMRC Conference: Freemasonry and Empire
2011-10-22 EMPHASIS: Early Modern Philosophy and the Scientific Imagination Seminar, 2011-2012
2011-10-13 Religion, Nature and Art
2011-09-22 Alchemy and Medicine from Antiquity to the Enlightenment
2011-09-15 Iconology: Neoplatonism and Art in the Renaissance
2011-07-25 Text & Image in Religious Cosmography: Reading Ilanot and Parallel Artifacts
2011-07-06 CFP ESSWE3: The Visual and the Symbolic in Western Esotericism
2011-05-12 Artificii Occulti: Knowledge and Discernment in the Artistic and Scientific Cultures of the Netherlands and the Spanish Habsburg World (16th-17th Centuries)
2011-05-06 Call for Papers - Daimonic Imagination: Uncanny Intelligence
2011-05-02 Knowledge to die for: Transmission of Prohibited and Esoteric Knowledge through Space and Time
2010-12-09 Call for Papers: Between Light and Darkness - International Symposium on Fin-de-siècle Symbolism
2010-10-09 Séminaire du GREMME: Programme 2010-2011
2010-05-05 ESSWE Thesis Workshop - Alchemy: Between Science and Religion
2010-05-01 The Rosicrucian Conference 2010: The Rosicrucian Tradition, Past, Present & Future
2010-04-29 Call for Papers: Science and Magic - Ways of Knowing in the Renaissance (Graduate Conference)
2010-04-27 Call for Papers: The Secret and the Manifest
2010-04-07 The Esoteric Crossroads: Intercultural Patterns in Early Modern Esotericism
2010-03-18 Hidden in Plain Sight: The Influence of Western Esoteric Movements on Modern Thought
2010-02-10 Call for Papers: Alchemy, Hermeticism, and Islamic and Jewish Mysticism Around the Time of Chrétien de Troyes
2010-01-19 Call for Papers 2: IAHR Quinquennial World Congress, "Religion: A Human Phenomenon" (Toronto)
2010-01-06 Call for Papers: IAHR Quinquennial World Congress, "Religion: A Human Phenomenon" (Toronto)
2009-10-30 Conference "Alternative Spiritualities, the New Age and New Religious Movements in Ireland"
2009-10-18 The 6th International Conference on "The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena"
2009-09-14 Esotericism Panel at EASR Conference Messina (Italy)
2009-07-23 Conference "Religion, Nature, and Progress"
2009-07-10 Conference "Konversion und Transformation des Wissens: Interreligiöser Austausch im vormodernen Europa"
2009-07-02 Second International Conference of the ESSWE in Strasburg
2009-05-22 Astrology: Magic, Divination and Destiny
2009-03-18 Conference "Unbegreifliche Zeiten: Wunder im 20. Jahrhundert"
2009-03-13 Conference: The Threat and Allure of the Magical in Literature, Language, Philosophy, History and the Arts
2008-11-13 Conference "From Ma'ashallah to Kepler"
2008-10-31 Annual Meeting of the AAR with sessions on Western Esotericism
2008-09-07 ESSWE at the EASR
2008-08-15 Third Annual Alternative Expressions of the Numinous Conference
2008-07-02 Conference "Trance-Medien und Neue Medien um 1900"
2008-05-31 Research Symposium for Postgraduate Students at the University of Kent
2008-05-29 ASE Third International Conference: "Nature, Religion, and Esotericism"
2008-04-14 Conference "Music and Esotericism"
2008-03-25 Workshop on "Emblems, Magic, and Hidden Knowledge"
2008-02-06 Conference on "Imagining Outer Space, 1900-2000"
2008-01-17 Second major international meeting of the ISSRNC: “The Re-Enchantment of Nature across Disciplines: Critical Intersections of Science, Ethics, and Metaphysics”
2007-11-18 Annual Meeting of the AAR with sessions on Western Esotericism
2007-11-03 Conference "Visions of Utopia: Masonic, Religious and Esoteric"
2007-10-29 Conference "Forms and Currents of Western Esotericism"
2007-10-05 Conference on 'Divination and Dialogue'
2007-09-15 Conference "An Esoteric Quest for The Golden Age of Andalusia"
2007-08-15 Conference "Western Esotericism" in Åbo, Finland
2007-07-20 Inaugural Conference of the ESSWE on "Constructing Tradition: Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism"
2007-07-13 Conference "Naturmagie und Deutungskunst"
2007-07-04 Conference "Kabbalah and Modernity"
2007-06-07 CESNUR Conference on "Globalization, Immigration, and Change in Religious Movements"
2007-05-25 International Conference on the History of Freemasonry
2007-03-11 Conference on "The Occult in 20th Century Russia"
2006-11-18 Annual Meeting of the AAR with sessions on Western Esotericism
2006-09-28 Conference "Die Enzyklopädik der Esoterik: Allwissenheitsmythen und universalwissenschaftliche Modelle in der Esoterik der Neuzeit"
2006-09-28 Conference "Symbolism in 18th-Century Gardens"
2006-09-20 The 6th EASR Conference/IAHR Special Conference: "Religious History of Europe and Asia"
2006-09-08 Conference "Astrology and the Body, 1100-1800"
2006-08-31 Conference "An Esoteric Quest in Central Europe: From Renaissance Bohemia to Goethe's Weimar"
2006-08-18 Conference "Alternative Expressions of the Numinous"
2006-07-03 Kabbalah Seminar in Jerusalem
2006-06-08 ASE conference: Esotericism, Art, and Imagination
2006-05-29 David Pingree Memorial Seminar: Empires and Exact Sciences in Pre-Modern Eurasia
2006-04-28 Conference on Astrology and Divination: Seeing With Different Eyes
2006-04-21 Conference "Witchcraft and Masculinities in the Early Modern World"
2006-04-06 Conference "Exploring Religion, Nature, and Culture"
2006-03-15 Conference "Esoterik in der Aufklärung: Rezeption - Integration - Konfrontation"
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