Mysteries of Dune: Esotericism, Occultism, and the Magic of Melange

George Sieg's picture
February 23, 2022 to February 26, 2022
New Mexico, United States
Subject Fields: 
Social Sciences, Popular Culture Studies, Literature, Humanities, Film and Film History

In recognition of the mainstream attention brought to Dune by Villeneuve's adaptation, the Area for Esotericism, Occultism and Magic at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association invites the proposal of papers to this special panel intended to investigate and examine esoteric, occult. and magical inspirations, parallels, and reciprocals influences on the "Duniverse."  

While the roles of psychedelic mysticism, Zen Buddhism, Islam, and Sufism have already received scholarly analysis, and transhuman elements in Dune have been reviewed in one of the opening presentations of this Area's founding year, a wealth of opportunities remain for exploring the manifold esoteric relevance of Herbert's expansive, complex, and syncretic vision of an expansive, complex, and syncretic future.  While the film release places the opening novel at the forefront of popular attention, proposals need not be limited to this, or any, adaptation, nor need they be limited to the initial novel; all aspects of the Duniverse and its adaptation into any medium are fair game, including gaming, music, occulture, television, and so forth, as well as its influences on and interactions with other franchises, universes (shared and otherwise), and popular culture directly, with the intended focus being those contents and features of the setting that are, or aesthetically suggest, the esoteric, occult, and magical -- in-universe or outside that universe but in interaction with it.  Such inquiries could include historical as well as contemporary comparisons and influences, as well as the impact of Dune on contemporary esoteric, occult, and magical practices and practitioners or on the reception and/or representation of particular traditions and praxes.  This might range from tracing the popularization of the "Litany Against Fear," which is esoteric in-universe but exoteric for readers (particularly for fans), to academic analysis of conspiracist, metapolitical, esoteric, and occult readings of the novels and/or the mythos of Dune and its lineage of influences within multiple genres of fiction across media.


Contact Info: 

Dr. George J. Sieg

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

Philosophy and Literature (Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute) 

(505) 440-2105

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