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Mysticism Unit and Western Esotericism Unit

Call for Proposals

Mystic, Magic, Queer, and Weird

What is queer about mysticism? What is mystical about queerness? Engaging this question requires acknowledging the complexity of both these categories. Queer theory is a capacious category that is becoming ever more so. For example, how does mysticism exceed and defy the categories articulated by its early scholars such as James, Stace, Zaehner, and Katz? Do these early definitions accommodate its many forms? And how does queerness help us to understand mysticism as practiced in the past and present? Does it refer to action, affect, social taxonomy, or on the most basic level, can it be used to understand and describe modes of experience? Does it include the “weird,” as that which refuses rigid categorization and reductive explanation? In short, how do these two types of theoretical models inform each other? And what can they tell us about how mysticism happens?



Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members