The Centre for Magic and Esotericism
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    ENSIE 2024 Call for Papers: Dreams and Visions in Islam

    Posted by Emily Selove

    13 October 2023

    Dreams and Visions in Islam

    2024 Meeting of the European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE)
    2-3 July 2024
    University of Exeter, England
    Deadline for submissions: February 15, 2024

    The European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE) invites you to submit proposals for its 2024 meeting. The theme for the meeting is “Dreams and Visions in Islam”, Muslim authors and audiences across time and space who have valued dreams, dreaming, and visions, working in multiple contexts, but especially through the lens of Islamic esoteric traditions, magical and ritual practices, devotional strategies and expertise, literary renderings, Islamicate texts, mythic legacies, the Qur’an, and commentary traditions.  Without question, dreams, visions, dreaming, and sleeping underscore how selfhood, expertise, sovereignty, and authority feature in daily life. They furthermore offer a perspective on the invisible worlds which feature prominently in core philosophical, Sufi, and literary texts, as well as in autobiographical and biographical works from the Islamic past to the present. These themes arise especially within discussions of representation and interpretation, as well as other topoi.

    Drawing on recent scholarship on dreams, dreaming, and visions which employ distinct historical frameworks and comparative approaches (e.g. Marlow, 2008; Knysh and Felek, 2013), this conference theme invites us to consider theoretically as well as “textually” new approaches and paradigms for provocative and occluded aspects within the esoteric traditions of Islam, whether from cultural studies, film and media studies, anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, or history.

    Papers may address the following themes, and related topics:

    • Dreams in the Qur’an and hadith and their commentaries.
    • Dreaming and visions in Sufi literature and thought.
    • The interpretation of dreams and visions.
    • The status of dreams and visions as sources of wisdom and knowledge.
    • The relationship between prophecy and dreams/visions.
    • The use of dreams and visions in ritual magic.
    • The realm of dreams as a borderland across which meanings are conveyed.
    • Categorisation and hierarchies of dreams and dreamers.
    • Dreams and visions of spirits, jinn, angels, and the souls of the dead.
    • The power of dreams to affect waking life, including healing dreams.

    Although we especially invite papers that engage with these themes and topics, proposals that do not relate to the 2024 meeting theme are also welcome.

    There is no fee for attending the meeting and accommodation will be provided at a subsidized and reasonable rate. The cost of travel is the responsibility of individual participants.

    By 15 February 2024, please send to

    • The title and abstract (250 words maximum) of your proposed paper.
    • Your name, institution, academic position, a brief bio, and a short CV.

    Scientific committee
    The meeting is organized by

    • Dr Emily Selove, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
    • Dr. Mark Sedgwick, Aarhus University
    • Dr. Liana Saif, University of Amsterdam
    • Dr. Elizabeth Alexandrin, University of Manitoba


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