ELN 56.1, April 2018 (Duke University Press)

“Critical and Comparative Mysticisms”

Nan Goodman, editor

This special issue of ELN invites contributions on Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticisms, including mystical practices and beliefs, mystical writings, the culture of mysticism, and mystics themselves.  We are especially interested in contributions that address the ways in which the mystical traditions of one monotheistic religion intersect with and/or speak to others.  Mystical traditions, which often lie at the margins of institutionalized religions, tend to break down the boundaries that develop within religious contexts over time and offer syncretic alternatives to them. In this sense, mysticism might be formulated as a distinct and compelling branch of contemporary critical theory, intervening in current, ideologically loaded discourses of religion and drawing on the vast archive of mystical thought, writing, and art from around the world in all periods as its object and subject matter.  Because this is a volume on three major variants of mysticism, it will be inherently international, multilingual, and diachronic in scope. 

We therefore welcome contributions on a broad range of uses and topics including but not limited to:

  • The role of mystical consciousness
  • The idea/ideology of secrecy within mystical traditions
  • The popularization of mysticism
  • God in mysticism
  • Heresy and Mysticism
  • Mystical lives
  • Mystical literature, ancient and modern
  • Mystical music
  • Critical Mysticisms
  • Sufism
  • The languages of mysticism
  • The politics of mysticism
  • Global mysticisms
  • Major works of mysticism such as the Kabbalah/Zohar, the works of Meister Eckhart, the works of Rumi

Position papers, essays, graphic stories, and creative works of no longer than twenty manuscript pages are invited from scholars in all fields of literature, law, history, sociology, philosophy, art history, media studies, and the arts.  Along with analytical, interpretive, and historical scholarship, we are also interested in work that moves traditional forms of scholarly analysis into new styles of critical and creative writing.  The editors also encourage collaborative work, notes submitted together as topical clusters or debates, and review essays on relevant books.