Special Virtual Panel CFP Tantra in Popular Culture : Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (deadline Dec 27) (conference Feb 22-27)

deadline for submissions: 
December 27, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Southwest Popular/American Culture Association
contact email: 

"Tantra" has the distinction of being one of the few conceptions that simultaneously refers to intensely esoteric and antinomian systems of traditional mystical, magical, and occult practice deeply rooted in and contextualized in cultural specificity while also being used to describe popularized receptions that variously narrow its focus, broaden its scope, secularize it, moralize it, sanitize it, demonize it, and diabolize it.  Sometimes popular conceptions also associate its practice with variant interpretations of concepts such as the "Left-Hand Path" that themselves have accrued a considerable range of both emic and etic significances frequently at odds with one another.  Unlike abstractions such as the "Left-Hand Path," Tantra has retained a common thread to variations on its aesthetic character throughout the transmutations referenced here, with variations of antinomian extreme being more a matter of degree than content.  In this, it may be that "Tantra" is unique as a paradigm and model of praxis.

This special virtual panel of the Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic Area of the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association's first online conference (Feb 22-27) invites paper proposals that in some way relate to, examine, analyze, and investigate the reception, transmission, and representation of "Tantra" within popular culture, popular media, and popular esoteric, occult, and magical practice.  Proposals addressing anything along the wide gamut implied above will be considered, including everything from examinations of the secularization and sanitization of Tantra within New Age thought, to the diabolization of Tantra by detractors, to the appropriation of its terminology as demonology and diabology by Western practitioners (sometimes critics of, and sometimes self-identified practitioners of, Tantra itself), to discussions concerning the significance and appropriateness of the conception of Tantra as separable from its historico-cultural context.  This spectrum is intended to include international perspectives on the topic, and papers examining the role of Tantra in the popular culture of India and broader Asia are of equal interest along with papers addressing its Western reception, adaptation, adoption, and appropriation.  Similarly, the association of Tantra with other esoteric, occult, and magical systems in contemporary practice and popular culture is also worthy of examination, whether this involves its integration into Left-Hand Path Traditionalism, chaos magical results mysticism, antinomian gnosticism, or the sinister feminine.  

Any papers presented will also be considered for inclusion in Area-related anthologies as well as possible special volumes particular to this topic and/or panel.  Anyone interested in proposing a paper for inclusion in this panel is encouraged to communicate their interest (and any available abstract of whatever length) to the Area Chair, Dr. George J. Sieg, at georgejsieg@gmail.com / (505) 440-2105.  The conference extended deadline for paper proposals is Sunday, December 27, and the basis of this panel has been established by two unique proposals combined during this deadline extension.  More papers are sought despite the limited time for proposals remaining, and so even brief abstracts to be later elaborated will be considered.  Please contact the Area Chair directly (and immediately) with any questions, or for requests for the full Area CFP for this year.