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Second Call for Papers: Mystic and Esoteric Movements in Theory and Practice - Images, symbols, and signs in mysticism and esotericism (December 3–5, 2020, Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University)

2020-09-21 22:51 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University

Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism

11th International Conference



Images, symbols, and signs

in mysticism and esotericism

December 3–5, 2020

First Call for Papers

Mystical experience is connected to deep internal states of mind. However, this experience also has an external manifestation; it manifests in external world by certain means of expression. One of the important characteristics of languages of mysticism and esotericism through which subjective experience is communicated to the external world is utilization of images, symbols, visual metaphors and ciphers. Functions of these symbolical languages are manifold – from hiding esoteric knowledge to transmitting experience that is outside of the limits of rationality through artistic means. Rich visual symbolism of mystical and esoteric traditions connected to an atmosphere of mystery was a source of inspiration for many scientists, philosophers, writers, architects, and painters. Elements of esoteric symbolism are present both in classical and in contemporary art, including literature, paintings, architecture, sculpture, design, theater, cinema, and folklore.

The goal of the conference is to study the plurality of forms of construction, functioning, and interpretation of images, symbols, and signs in mystical and esoteric doctrines, functions of visual symbolic language of mysticism and esotericism, continuity and historical transformations of this language, and semiotic mechanisms that allowed a transmission of these images, symbols, and signs in other spheres of culture.

Sample topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • methodological problems of academic study of images, symbols, signs in the context of mysticism and esotericism;
  • theological connotations of mystical and esoteric symbols and images;
  • semiotic interpretation of mysticism and esotericism;
  • symbolical language of description of mystical and esoteric teachings;
  • symbolical and imaginary dimension of Eastern and Western mystical and esoteric traditions;
  • mystical and esoteric symbols and images in world artistic culture;
  • visual vocabulary of esoteric art;
  • historical transformations of esoteric symbolism;
  • mystical and esoteric images in contemporary design.

Working languages: Russian, English

Applications for the conference are to be sent to the address of the organizing committee by October 24, 2020. Due to possible visa concerns, we request that applications are sent by September 30, 2020. We kindly request participants to provide the following information:

1. Full name:

2. Date of birth:

3. Academic degree (if applicable):

4. Home address:

5. Place of work/study (if applicable):

6. Position:

7. Telephone number:

8. E-mail:

9. Need of an official invitation to receive an entry visa to the Russian Federation (yes/no):

10. Necessary equipment for your presentation (yes (specify)/no):

11. Title of paper:

12. Abstract:

13. Language of paper:

The applicants are also required to attach a photo of themselves, no more than 1Mb in size.

Applications for panels are accepted until October 24, 2020. Panel applications need to follow the general application form outlined above. Additionally, the panel organizer needs to provide the approximate number of panel participants and a preliminary program.

A completed application does not guarantee acceptance to the conference. The organizing committee reserves the right to ask for additional information from applicants to specify unclear applications. Decisions on applications are made by the organizing committee within a week after the application deadline. Applicants will be informed of the committee’s decision by e-mail.

Remote participation in the conference is not provided for.

A conference program including information about participants and their abstracts will be published and provided to the participants before the start of the conference. It will also be available on the ASEM website.

The conference fee is differentiated according to ASEM membership and geographical location of the participant (see table below):

Conference participants

ASEM members

ASEM non-members

Post-Soviet countries (excepting the Baltic countries)

500 roubles

1000 roubles

Residents of non-Post-Soviet countries

10 Euros

30 Euros

The conference fee will be used to cover the costs of organizing the conference as well as the publication of conference papers, which is planned after the conference takes place.

The conference fee does not include transportation, lodging, food or possible additional services (tours, museums, and so on). The organizing committee does not provide lodging for conference participants; however, it will provide information on local options at the request of an accepted participant.

The organizing committee is open to propositions of material and informational support from interested physical and legal persons.

Conference address: ul. Bolshaya Sankt-Petersburgskaya, 41, Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University (NovSU), Novgorod the Great.

All inquiries about the conference are to be directed to:

Organizing committee:

Organizing committee chairs: Sergey S. Avanesov, Sergey V. Pakhomov

Organizing committee members: Daniil E. Krapchunov, Birgit Menzel,

Evsey G. Berdichevsky, Stanislav Panin

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