Esotericism and the Humanities

A joint workshop by IKOS and the Centre for Ibsen Studies at the University of Oslo


What happens when a scholar in the humanities, be it literature, art, music, anthropology, history or religious studies finds esoteric elements in his/her object of research?

Which strategies and methodologies are advisable in order to study how esoteric currents relate to the exoteric world outside and how their specificity intersect with the research aims, scopes and traditions of other disciplines? This interdisciplinary workshop aims at gathering scholars within different research fields, who have been occupied with case studies that have touched upon the questions above.

Following its infancy in the 1960s, in the last three decades the academic study of Western esotericism has flourished as an independent branch of religious studies. However, the methodological aspects of how this field of study intersects with other disciplines, have not yet been studied thoroughly.

This workshop aims to start a discussion in order to develop conceptual tools and methodological strategies both for scholars in the humanities who encounter Western esotericism in their research, and for scholars of Western esotericism interested in expanding their research scope. The workshop will be led by a literary scholar (Giuliano D’Amico) and a historian of religion (Cecilie Endresen) at the University of Oslo, and gathers scholars from Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden.

The expertise and the affiliations of this group, ranging from Ibsen to Islamic Studies, from the Theory of Science to Popular Spiritism, from Film Studies to Art History, are chosen strategically. The workshop, in fact, is intended as a first step towards a future application for workshop grants from The Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (NOS-HS). 

Talk abstracts and programme

Full abstracts (PDF)

Full programme (PDF)


IKOS and the Centre for Ibsen Studies
Published Dec. 7, 2018 10:56 AM - Last modified Nov. 7, 2019 4:04 PM