Socialist Mysticism, Mystical Socialism

FWF project by Julian Strube

Project number: P 37018

Throughout history, religious and socialist movements overlapped in complex ways. Scholars have demonstrated how, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, socialist movements were perceived as "heretical" and "mystical," and how they intersected with alternative religious movements, such as spiritualism and Theosophy. Such connections, however, generally remain unexplored in the study of religion. The proposed project will contribute to this gap by tracing entanglements between religion and socialism in the early twentieth century. The works of authors such as the anarchist Gustav Landauer (1870–1919) and the Marxist philosopher, Ernst Bloch (1885–1977), are particularly instructive in this regard. By creating two PhD positions, this project will explore this milieu of socialist and related writers, explaining their "mystical" understandings of "socialism" in their religious historical context. This will generate both novel perspectives on their work, as well as on larger developments at the intersection of religion and socialism. Moreover, a critical analysis of the terms "socialism," "mysticism," "esotericism," and "occultism" in contemporary socialist discourse will contribute to and revise the theoretical and terminological repertoire of religious studies.

Vacancy notice for PhD positions.