Occult Bohemia: Magic and Nationalism in Central Europe

The connections between ethnicity, nationalism, and occultism fascinates scholars and the public. Scholars discussed ethnicity and nationalism mainly concerning German and Nazi occultism, whereas Slavic countries have drawn scholarly interest only relatively recently and thus need to be explored. The EU-funded OCCULT-NATION fills these knowledge gaps by investigating the Czech occult milieu and its relation to nation and ethnicity between 1890–1945 as a representative case of Slavic occultism. The project's hypothesis is that despite external and outward differences, both Slavic and German occultism are based upon the same shared set of assumptions and concerns. The project does not subscribe to an essentialist understanding of Slavic or German occultism but utilises these concepts as heuristic tools. The research methodology combines a discursive-historical approach and the comparative method. The project interlinks research on nationalism and alternative forms of religion and brings into mutual conversation thus far separated debates in the study of esotericism and nationalism. OCCULT-NATION's findings will also raise awareness of central European nationalism and introduce much-needed new information to understand the region’s entangled and complicated histories.