27.09. until 29.09.2021 in Prague, Czech Republic

Occultism And Politics In East-Central Europe

  • 27.09. until 29.09.2021
  • Event language: English
  • Deadline for submissions: 30.07.2021
  • Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Type of Event: Call for Papers

Link to this post: https://www.pol-int.org/en/node/9715

Since the nineteenth century, East-Central Europe has experienced rapid social, political, and economic changes, which caused transformation and transformations in local societies. Rising nationalism culminating in the Revolutionary year 1848, echoes of the Romantic movement, ongoing industrialisation, First World War, the emergence of national states and disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, later followed by the World War Two and establishment of the socialist regimes represent some of the key milestones the region went through. New sciences emerged, and local intellectuals also tried to cope with the impetuses from the discoveries in the Orient. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the rise of occultism and its further spread throughout Europe represented a peculiar reaction to some mentioned milestones. Local states dealt with these occult and esoteric movements differently, from suppression to silent support, and the movements themselves had various ideas about the meaning and aims of nations. We wish to investigate the links between the state, power, and occult and esoteric ideas, movements, and key figures more closely in this conference.

Focusing on the occultism and esotericism in East-Central Europe since the mid-nineteenth-century till now, we invite scholars to share their research which addresses the following topics:

• Tensions between or calls for nationalism and/or transnationalism in the occult and esoteric movements;

• Attitudes of various state bodies (republics, empires or totalitarian regimes) to occultism and esotericism, from suppression to support;

• Practising occultism or esotericism under socialist regimes;

• Case studies of influential movements, persons, or ideas either originating or being adopted in East-Central Europe;

• Critical reflection of the scholarship concerning occultism and esotericism in East-Central Europe.

Submission Guidelines

We accept both individual papers (20min presentation + 10 mins for discussion) and panels of three scholars maximum (90mins altogether, open panel's format: from standard closely-related papers presentation to a discussion table – negotiable with organisers).


250 words abstract, together with institutional affiliation and contact details.



250 words for the panel description and 150 words for each paper


250 words description of the panel and 250–400 words detailed description of the proposed questions, topics, and course of

Please, kindly submit your papers or panel via this https://forms.gle/rUSFr9AhLj7GqBzc9


There is no registration fee; however, the limiting number of participants is between

20–25, hence, please, make sure your presentation is related to the CEE region and fits the general theme well.

Preliminary Programme

• Keynote lecture by Associate Prof Dr Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam)

• Conference dinner

• CEENASWE board meeting

• Magical Prague trip (after the conference on 30 September)


Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in cooperation with Czech Association for Social Anthropology; Anthropology of Religion, Magic and Supernatural Network and European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism; The Central and Eastern European Network


The conference will take place at the representative residence of the Czech Academy of Sciences – Vila Lanna in the centre of Prague.

Pandemic Considerations

We do hope that the pandemic situation will get better during the summer, and together with ongoing vaccination and covid passes, we will be able to meet in person in Prague. In case it will not be possible, the organizers would reserve their right to turn the conference into an online form. Let us keep our fingers crossed!

Important Dates




Organizing Team

Dr Pavel Horák, Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences

Dr Karolina Maria Hess, Institute of Sociology, University of Silesia in Katowice

The conference is kindly sponsored by the Czech Academy of Sciences by Strategy AV21 Programme "Europe and the State between civilisation and barbarism" http://statav21.cz