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Call for Papers - Occult Geographies: (im)material agents and the geographical imagination

  • 2013-08-28
  • 2013-08-30
  • London
Call for Papers: Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference 2013

London, 28-30 August 2013

Sponsored by the History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (HPGRG).

Julian Holloway (Manchester Metropolitan University)
James Thurgill (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Over the last decade geography has turned its attention to engaging with those elements of place that remain unseen and to exploring the relationality between materiality, agency and the invisible as affect or spectrality.

This session seeks to explore the way that place not just affects us, but stirs, moves, disturbs, confuses and distorts our perception. In particular, the session focuses on the occult and occluded facets of various geographies. Here the occult pertains to that which is hidden or obscured from our perception but potentially not to that which is unknowable. The occult provides a way in which to enframe those uncanny aspects of place such as unseen agency, strange naturalisms, magic, ecologies of the spectral, and positions them within esoteric practice. As such, the occult as a movement represents a history of practice that seeks to work with and manipulate the invisible and unseen aspects of place; the occult in its various manifestations therefore signifies an often ignored, yet deliberately hidden, frontier in geographical practice.

The session invites papers that deal with occult and esoteric geographical imaginations and spatial practices. Furthermore, we seek papers that highlight new occult directions for the geographic imagination and explore how the occult can potentially be used to redefine the world around us. Therefore, we seek papers that both analyse occult movements and their geographies, and papers that aim to deal with the occult as an exploratory method in the study and development of geographic thinking that have the potential to reconfigure our understanding of place, materiality and agency.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

* Geomancy and arcane cartographics
* Magick and the esoteric manipulation of space and place
* Ambiguous materialites and their spaces
* UnNatural agents
* Occult movements and their geographies (Rosicrucian, Speculative Freemasonry, The Golden Dawn, The Illuminati, Hermeticism, Chaos Magick, etc.)
* Haunted and ghostly landscapes.
* Placing the occult
* Geopolitics and the occult
* Occult prophecies and apocalypticism
* Conspiracy culture and the 'hidden control' of geography.
* Popular culture and commodifying the occult imaginary (from Dan Brown to ghost tourism)

Please send abstracts (c.300 words) to both session organisers James Thurgill ( ) and Julian Holloway ( )
by Monday 4th February 2013.

For the Royal Geographical Society Conference page, click HERE

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