Special Virtual Panel CFP Esoteric, Occult, and Magical Conspiracism at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (deadline Dec 13) (conference Feb 22-27)

George Sieg's picture
December 13, 2021
New Mexico, United States
Subject Fields: 
Social History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Political History / Studies, Journalism and Media Studies, American History / Studies

The study of conspiracism overlaps with the study of esotericism, occultism, and magic in several respects.  In addition to the frequent significance of secrecy and clandestine interactions in the history of esoteric, occult, and magical movements, their association (real or imagined) with heterodox religious movements, political subversion, and intelligence organizations has led to close association of these conceptions with each other in popular cultural imagination as well as in their own subcultural milieux.  Esotericists, occultists, and magicians have themselves engaged in conspiracist conception, generated conspiracy theories, and projected them onto others, as well as themselves being the recipients of such projections by both religious and secular actors throughout history.  These tendencies have continued into the present and also developed criminological manifestations, with the mythology and legendaria of Satanic Ritual Abuse being a prominent example, perhaps lately complemented and/or contrasted by anti-elite conspiracism focusing on allegations of pedophila in connection with Satanism in the conspiracist aesthetic of the QAnon movement.  Those conceptions achieved sufficient prominence to be directly referenced by the anchor of a major news network in a United States presidential town hall, although they remain in general significantly more fringe than SRA conceptions were at the peak of that moral panic.

Additionally, esotericism, occultism, and magic share various modes of thought with conspiracist worldviews; although these styles are not identical, further exploration of their similarities and differences might be rewarding.  Another area of overlap is the shared well of mythology, imagery, and aesthetics from which all of these categories of worldviews seem to draw.  This has been expressed through popular-cultural representations as well as facilitated and shaped by them; a common example seems to be the resemblance of extraterrestrial subversion and/or invasion conspiracism to demonologies, and sometimes the deliberate identification of the one with the other by conspiracists who may or may not also share esoteric, occult, or magical worldviews or worldviews oriented toward opposing these.

Finally, the historical interest of some esoteric, occult, and magical organizations and societies in actual conspiracy as well as in intelligence endeavors, and the interest of conspiracies (whether political or criminal) and intelligence organizations in the world of esoteric, occult, and magical endeavor has been frequently verified but continues to invite further exploration.

These and any related avenues of approach would be relevant angles of contribution for proposals to a special panel for which papers are sought.  These will be presented in the week of the 22 to 27 February 2021 at the all-virtual online conference of the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association, in the Area of Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic.  To make a proposal to this special panel or to request the full CFP for the Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic Area, please contact the Area Chair, Dr. George J. Sieg, at georgejsieg@gmail.com 

Papers presented will also be considered for publication either in conference-area-related anthology or in a special smaller publication associated with this panel, depending on response and interest.  Please email with your interest as soon as possible, even if you are still working on an abstract, as proposals need to be submitted on Sunday, December 13.


Contact Info: 

Dr. George J. Sieg : georgejsieg@gmail.com

Area Chair : Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association

(505) 440 2105

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