Fringe Expertise? Cross-Cultural Readings of Occult Practices in Premodern Eurasia
International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 4-7 July 2022
Sponsored by The Sorcerer’s Handbook: Medieval Arabic Magic in Context Project
Organisers: Dr Sarah Ortega, Dr Geoff Humble (University of Leeds)
This session seeks to bring together a cross-cultural comparative reading of occult practices and practitioners. The term ‘Occult’ encompasses a wide range of intellectual, religious, and scientific practices. In addition to the manuals that explain how to undertake these, their purpose and status are navigated through a diverse array of perspectives that includes narrative historiographies, folk tales, miracle stories, and artworks. Such sources may extol the benefits of useful technologies and syncretic or folk wisdom, or they may formulate allegations of deceitful charlatanry and dangerous meddling. Likewise, practitioners were subject to an extremely wide range of patronage, control, and proscription. By tracing the shifting borders of orthodoxy and acceptability across medieval Eurasia and beyond, it is possible to investigate a broad spectrum of experiences running from the quotidian to the extraordinary across diverse social strata. We would like to invite papers that explore how legacies of occult practices were shaped by such influences as gendered ideas, political conflict, social upheaval, and debates in philosophy and religion.
Occult practices most broadly defined, including (but not limited to):
· Production of talismans
· Miracle cures and medical magic
· Shamanic activity
If you are interested, please email Geoff Humble or Sarah Ortega with an abstract of no more than 100 words by Monday 23rd August 2021.
The IMC call for sessions and papers can be found at https://www.imc.leeds.ac.uk/imc-2022/
For the IMC’s Proposal Guidelines see: https://www.imc.leeds.ac.uk/proposals/criteria/