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ESSWE5: Western Esotericism and the East

  • 2015-04-16
  • 2015-04-18
  • University of Lativa, Riga

in cooperation with the Latvian Society for the Study of Religion, University of Latvia and Daugavpils University

Current understandings of esotericism as a predominantly Western, European and North-American, phenomenon are by no means self-evident. By placing “the East” at the center of attention, this conference intends to put a range of important issues on the agenda, for instance:

  • the relevance of esotericism to questions of European / Western identity, with special attention to the “orientalism”/”occidentalism” debate;
  • the notion of “Wisdom from the East”, from antiquity to the present;
  • esotericism in the contested boundary areas between “West” and “East”, notably Russia, Byzantium, and Israel;
  • the impact of Jewish and Islamic culture on key dimensions of Western esotericism such as alchemy, astrology, and natural magic;
  • the interchange between religions of the Far East such as Hinduism, Buddhism, or Daoism and Western esotericism/occultism since the 18th century and after World War II;
  • the role of esotericism in comparative religion;
  • East-West distinctions in the light of globalization and globalization of esotericism.

Presentations should last 20 minutes with 10 minutes for discussion.

Papers are invited in English.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Wouter J. Hanegraaff (University of Amsterdam)
  • Allison P. Coudert (University of California, Davis)
  • Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute, University of London)

Address: University of Lativa, Raina Boulevard 19,  Riga, Latvia

For further information check the conference homepage at <>

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