International conference “Approaching esotericism and mysticism: Cultural influences”

Turku (Åbo), Finland, 5–7 June 2019 

This multidisciplinary conference approaches the traditions of Western esotericism and mysticism from a cultural-historical perspective. The aim is to analyse the diverse influences of esoteric ideas and practices and the various forms of mysticism in their cultural-historical surroundings. We promote approaches that focus on individuals, groups and networks, and various archival source materials, but we also welcome papers dealing with esoteric or mystical textual traditions.

The conference will consist of keynote lectures and sessions that can be either traditional paper sessions or roundtable talks and panels.  The social program of the conference will consist of e.g. esoteric and occult walking tours in Turku and artistic performances (plans for an event together with Art Teatro Circus -group). An excursion to the exhibition on Finnish art and clairvoyance at the Gallen-Kallela Museum (11 May –8 September 2019) is also being planned. The exhibition is part of the research project Seekers of the New and is curated by Nina Kokkinen.

We invite people from different academic backgrounds to discuss western esotericism and mysticism included but not limited to the following topics:

  • Esotericism and mysticism in art, literature and music
  • Esotericism and mysticism in popular culture
  • Esotericism and mysticism in Nordic countries, Eastern Europe, South Europe etc.
  • Esotericism, mysticism and transnational networks
  • What has been hidden, silenced or otherwise remained in the margins of esoteric and mystical traditions and in the research field (e.g. gender, class, ethnicity…).
  • Ethics and positioning in the study of esotericism and mysticism
  • Individuals and archival sources in the study of esotericism and mysticism

To apply, please send an abstract (or panel proposal with abstracts) of approximately 150 words to the Donner Institute, donner.institute@abo.fi, no later than 31 December 2018. Letters of acceptance will be posted no later than 31 January, 2019.

Selected papers from the conference will be published in volume 29 of the Donner Institute Series Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis as the co-publication of the Donner Institute and research project Seekers of the New.

The expert symposium is arranged jointly by the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural history and the research project Seekers of the New: Esotericism and the transformation of religiosity in Finland during the era of modernisation, 1880-1940 at the University of Turku. The project is funded by the Kone Foundation.

Conference website: www.abo.fi/esomyst

Facebook event: Approaching esotericism and mysticism

Hashtag: #esomyst2019

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