Wednesday, 10 March 2021

2021 Meeting of ENSIE: Call for Papers

Islam and Esotericism: Societies, Politics, and Practices

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. 

Timing
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. 

Proposals 
By 15 May 2021, please send to ensie21@ensie.site
  • 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, Universit√† Ca’ Foscari, Venice, and Fondazione Giorgio Cini
  • Michele Petrone, Adjunct professor, Universit√† di Milano
Updates at http://ensie.site/conferences.html.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Esoteric Transfers and Constructions

Just published: the book of the 2018 ENSIE conference, held in Venice. Esoteric Transfers and Constructions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, ed. Mark Sedgwick and Francesco Piraino (New York: Palgrave, 2021).

Similarities between esoteric and mystical currents in different religious traditions have long interested scholars. This book takes a new look at the relationship between such currents. It advances a discussion that started with the search for religious essences, archetypes, and universals, from William James to Eranos. The universal categories that resulted from that search were later criticized as essentialist constructions, and questioned by deconstructionists. An alternative explanation was advanced by diffusionists: that there were transfers between different traditions. This book presents empirical case studies of such constructions, and of transfers between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the premodern period, and Judaism, Christianity, and Western esotericism in the modern period. It shows that there were indeed transfers that can be clearly documented, and that there were also indeed constructions, often very imaginative. It also shows that there were many cases that were neither transfers nor constructions, but a mixture of the two.

See https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783030617875 for full table of contents and other details.