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Esotericism Magic and Radicalism Conference June 2010

law Quod, Michigan

The Law Quod at Michigan State Univesity

Paper proposals are now welcome for the fourth North American international conference on esotericism, with a special focus on

Esotericism, Magic, and Radicalism

To be held June 17-20, 2010 at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Jointly sponsored by the Association for the Study of Esotericism, the Societas Magica, and
JSR: Journal for the Study of Radicalism

The many and varied associations between esoteric religion, magic, and radical politics are all more urgently in need of study in an era of rapidly increasing globalization. However these associations are not new, and indeed have a long and complex history. The connections between esoteric religions and politics may be specular and fantastic (as in the accusations of conspiracy so often leveled at witches and heretics), or may be very real (as with the movement led by the Franciscan Bernard Délicieux to suppress the inquisition against the Cathars in Southern France; Bernard was later accused of political sorcery himself). From early Gnostic movements to Rosicrucianism to recent movements like Traditionalism and its offshoots, figures and groups within Western esotericism have been seen, variously, as progressive, conservative, or radical. Many esoteric movements, groups, and individuals have tended either to gain some autonomy from normative religious or political institutions, or to set themselves up as a rarefied elite within such institutions through their beliefs and practices. Often, such figures, groups, or movements are much more complex in their political dimensions than it may at first appear.

Although we will consider paper and panel proposals on the whole gamut of themes and topics under the rubric of Western esotericism, as outlined below, we are particularly interested in providing a venue to explore the interconnections between esotericism and various political and social movements. What are the political associations of figures and groups within Western esotericism? What does it mean to say that a given figure or group within Western esotericism is “radical”? How have charges of magical practice been allied with political accusations against minority groups, and in what ways? We expect that most papers will offer insight into some aspect of the history of Western esotericism, but we also are interested in papers from sociological, anthropological, literary critical or other academic approaches with an eye to political implications or controversies.

There are multiple publishing opportunities associated with the conference. We will publish a subsequent volume in our ASE book series Studies in Esotericism, on the conference theme of Esotericism and Politics, and some papers may also be accepted as articles in JSR: Journal for the Study of Radicalism or the journal Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft affiliated with the Societas Magica.

We encourage submission of proposals for articles on subjects that belong to one or more of the following general categories:

1. Esotericism in Antiquity: Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Platonism 2.History of Magic and Magical Practices from Antiquity to the Present 3.Medieval and Renaissance Esotericism 4.Early Modern Esotericism in Europe and North America a. alchemy, astrology; the history of science, technology, magic, and medicine b. folk magical traditions in North America (Pennsylvania Dutch, Appalachian, and other forms) 5.Nineteenth Century Forms of Esotericism:
History of Magic and Secrecy in Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Music, or Art 6.Twentieth Century Forms of Esotericism: History of Art, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Magic 7.New Religious Movements and the Contemporary Study of Esotericism 8.Asian Influences on European and North American forms of Esotericism 9.Methods and Approaches to the Study of Esotericism 10. Other paper subjects that pertain to Western esotericism, including the history of mysticism.

We welcome scholars from a wide range of perspectives, including anthropology, American studies, art history, history, history of religions, literature, philosophy, religious studies, sociology-the full range of academic disciplines and fields that bear upon this area of study. Papers should approach subjects analytically. This is an interdisciplinary field of research, and we believe everyone will benefit from the cross-fertilization of perspectives. We are also interested in panel discussions on interdisciplinary approaches to the field.

If you wish to submit a paper proposal for review and possible presentation at the conference, please send it by regular email to conference organizers at

2010ASE@gmail.com

No attachments, please: simply copy and paste your abstract into ordinary email. Please limit abstracts to one single-spaced page or less, and please also include a short c.v. or biographical paragraph.

The deadline for paper proposals is December 15, 2009, but we would encourage that proposals be sent sooner rather than later. Each proposal will be reviewed by an academic committee and because of time constraints, we can only accept a limited number of papers.
You should receive our response within four to six weeks.

The Association for the Study of Esotericism [ASE] For more information on the ASE and our conference, see our website at http://www.aseweb.org

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