Launching ContERN with a Google group and a Call for Papers

As announced previously, a new network has been created with the aim of placing the field of contemporary esotericism clearly on the agenda of academic research: the Contemporary Esotericism Research Network, or ContERN for short (no connection with the Third International, we promise…). It is affiliated with the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE), and everyone who participate in our activities is encouraged to become a member of that organisation (which can be done by applying online here).

There is currently a Google group which will work as a mailing list and discussion forum for the network (click here to sign up), and also a Facebook group for easy communication.

As the description on the Google group reads:

ContERN is an international network for scholars interested in the study of esotericism in the contemporary world. Our primary goals are to promote scholarship on contemporary esotericism in ways that are congruent with the broader field of Western esotericism, encourage the integration of social scientific theoretical and methodological approaches and perspectives while maintaining a strong emphasis on historical awareness, and actively encourage the development of new theory and method. ContERN works to create possibilities for networking and forums for scholarly discussion in e.g. conferences, conference panels, and scholarly publications, but also by maintaining an online presence. This forum is a first step in that direction. Interdisciplinary cooperation is also central to ContERNs goals, and the network seeks to interact with e.g. sociology, anthropology and various subdisciplines of religious studies. ContERN is affiliated with the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE). We encourage those scholars interested in our work to consider membership of the ESSWE.

So if you are interested in contemporary esotericism, want to contribute to the field, or stay updated on what is happening, please do join this group and help us build the network.

The first announcement from ContERN is that we will be hosting a special session during the ESSWE4 conference next summer, at the University of Gothenburg. The general theme of the conference is “Western esotericism and health” ( do check out the full call for papers here if you haven’t already), and ContERN’s session will most likely deal with esoteric aspects of contemporary alternative medicine:

“ContERN will arrange special sessions at ESSWE4, held at University of Gothenburg on June 26-29, 2013. We are particularly interested in papers dealing with esotericism, CAM (complementary and alternative medicine), and conspiracy culture, but other themes related to contemporary esotericism will be considered as well.
Please send your abstract (approximately 250 words, with title and academic affiliation) to conterncontact[at] by January 15, 2013.”

I hope that this topic is of interest to a few readers out there. The deadline is still a few months away, but remember: it’s always better to be early.

Creative Commons License
This blog post by Egil Asprem was first published on Heterodoxology. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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  1. […] members interested in contemporary practices may want to join the new ContERN working group. […]

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