Correspondences Special Issue: Women, Esotericism, and the Making of Modernity

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Correspondences: Journal for the Study of Esotericism

Call for Papers


Correspondences Special Issue: Women, Esotericism, and the Making of Modernity


In the twenty years in which Western esotericism has become an established subfield within the History of Religion, the wealth of research conducted on its various currents, groups and organizations has unearthed a plethora of historically important figures, who have so far been neglected by the academic world. Particularly in the case of esotericism in modernity, a great number of women have been instrumental in shaping esoteric currents through founding and leading occult orders and movements, and through introducing and transmitting occult practices. It is thus with great pleasure that we announce a call for papers for a special issue of Correspondences that will engage in a focused study of women, esotericism and the creation of modernity. We invite rigorously researched papers from all humanities and social sciences disciplines focusing on the life and work of female esotericists and occult practitioners in the period from the beginning of the French Revolution (1789) to the end of World War II (1945).


We particularly welcome engagement with the political realities of being a woman within esoteric currents in modernity, and the relationship between the gendered body, political and social status, and the occult. In recognition of both the bounty of unstudied material in the field of Western esotericism and the profusion of links between Western occult currents and those found in non-European cultures, we explicitly invite two categories of papers: papers on less-known women who were instrumental to the development of Western esotericism, and papers on women from less explored contexts, including but not limited to Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe, the Middle East, the entirety of Asia and Africa, and the African diaspora. Work must still bear some connection to what is currently recognized as Western esotericism, but we hope that including papers from other contexts will open up new horizons and links between cultures within this subfield. This is an explicitly interdisciplinary project, and we invite scholars from across the humanities and social sciences to contribute; we are also highly interested in theoretical areas that have so far rarely been applied to the study of esotericism, particularly those of critical, postcolonial and queer theory.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:


  • · Female occult leaders
  • · Mediumship, channelling and radical voices
  • · Women as translators and women as prophets within the occult world
  • · Women on the borders between Western esotericism and other religious currents and practices
  • · Female homosexuality and deviant sexualities within occult currents
  • · Esotericism, feminism and suffrage
  • · Esotericism, women and colonial politics


We encourage interested parties to get in touch to discuss ideas for contribution. Please submit full articles of 6,000–10,000 words, following the Correspondences submission guidelines, by 1 March 2019, for publication Summer 2020. Please send ideas and submissions to Georgia van Raalte at and Kateryna Zorya at




Correspondences is an open access, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the academic study of esoteric phenomena from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. It has been facilitating the sharing of knowledge and debate among professional researchers and the wider community since 2012.