The Western Esotericism Group of the American Academy of Religion is preparing several sessions for the yearly conference, which in 2009 will be held in Montreal, Canada, on 7-10 November.
A first session will discuss the topic of science and Western Esotericism. A persistent theme, particularly in alchemical, pansophic, theosophical, and similar works from the Renaissance to the present is a longing for a universal science that would provide a holistic understanding of the varied dimensions of human experience. Papers will address the topic of esotericism and Western science either from a theoretical point of view or by studying specific historical cases from earliest times to the present. The second session is cosponsored with the Religion, Media, and Culture Group. The chosen topic is the commodification of the esoteric, which will address the way various media, both in the past and present, promote the comodification and consumption of esoteric knowledge. The third session deals with the supernatural and the demonic in popular culture, and is cosponsored with the Religion and Popular Culture Group. More information: Allison P. Coudert (University of California, Davis), firstname.lastname@example.org