Call for Papers: Between Science and Magic Symposium

International symposium in Turku, Finland: 10–11 October 2024

The project TiTaRa: Between Science and Magic, together with the Finnish network of magic studies, invites submissions for the symposium Between Science and Magic, to be held at the University of Turku, Finland, from 10 to 11 October 2024.

Submissions are due by 30 April 2024. Notifications of acceptance will be sent in May 2024.

This symposium will explore the underlying themes of the TiTaRa project: the practices and worldviews of people operating between science and magic, as well as those engaging in practices of witchcraft and esotericism. TiTaRa focuses on medieval and early modern England, but this symposium will go further in geographical and temporal scope: we welcome proposals on all topics related to Western esotericism, magic, witchcraft, and early sciences bordering them such as astrology and alchemy. The time span will cover the medieval period up to 1900.

The TiTaRa project explores questions of identity through historical linguistics and book history: How did people in medieval and early modern England (c. 8th to 17th centuries) write about those who operated between the boundaries of science and magic (alchemists, astrologers, and witches)? What does this tell us about their societal roles as early scientists, dangerous sorcerers, or helpful healers? The symposium is part of our three-year project, funded by the Kone Foundation (2023–25).

The symposium’s keynote speakers are Egil Asprem and Carla Suhr.

Professor Egil Asprem (University of Stockholm)

Professor of the history of religions Egil Asprem has specialised in alternative spiritualities, the history of magic and the relations between esotericism and science. He is the co-editor of New Approaches to the Study of Esotericism (2021) and author of Arguing with Angels: Enochian Magic and Modern Occulture (2013). Asprem is a board member of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) and presently holds the roles of treasurer and membership secretary within the society. Professor Asprem’s ongoing research focuses on the Roma in the European study of magic within the field of critical Romani studies. See

Title of Docent, University Lecturer Carla Suhr (University of Helsinki)

Dr Suhr’s research focuses on historical (corpus) pragmatics, genre studies, and discourse analysis. She has a strong interest in combining book history with her research into historical English texts. Her PhD (2011) dealt with the development of the genre of witchcraft pamphlets, and currently she works with early modern news pamphlets more generally and medical texts from the period 1500 to 1800. Since 2000, she has been a member of the Scientific Thought-Styles project – a part of the VARIENG research group – which has compiled a large corpus of historical medical writing, the Corpus of Early English Medical Writing (CEEMW). See

The symposium is multidisciplinary in nature, and we welcome proposals from all fields of study such as folkloristics, (historical) linguistics, book history, manuscript studies, general/cultural history, study of religion, museology, anthropology, art history, etc. Topics may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Professional identities of people operating between science and magic
  • Materiality of the sources between science and magic
  • Definitions and discussions of magic and/or the history of science
  • Transmission of information
  • Language of science and magic
  • Etc.

Please send your proposal for a 20‐minute paper to including your title, an abstract of up to 250 words, and a brief biographical statement. Any questions about this CFP can also be addressed to

The symposium will be held in English. We will convene in person; unfortunately, we cannot provide for online attendance. There will be a registration fee for the symposium, and the symposium dinner will be charged separately for those wishing to attend.

Please forward this call for papers to anyone interested!