Lori Lee Oates
College: College of Humanities
In 2009, I set out to answer a question: Why are heterodox religious texts being reified as religious symbols in the late modern world? I found the answers to my question in the ancient and Renaissance World, the Protestant Reformation, globalisation, imperialism, the growing commercial economy of the nineteenth century, and growth in print culture.
Occult religion has long been thought of a marginal historical movement and occult leaders have been seen as fringe historical figures. However, my project views it as a global intellectual current that represents the beginning of how we engage with commercialized religion in the contemporary world. For my thesis, I choose to do a global and imperial analysis of the transmission of occult philosophies in the nineteenth century, as a reflection of the movement of occult texts. I was primarily interested in the role of occult literature in the globalisation of the occult, as the world was becoming increasingly globalised, literate, and market oriented.
The traditional historical narrative has long been that occult philosophies were exchanged between Britain and France by a few key occultists. My work demonstrates that the occult was moving globally through the translation of literature. It also examines the importance of imperialism to the global circulation of texts, and how British and French occultism was affected by their different imperial interests in India and Egypt.
Previously, I spent fourteen years working in public relations and public policy. I was pleased to be awarded an International Doctoral Studentship in 2012 to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Exeter. I have also received funding from the Society for the Study of French History and been awarded a scholarship to visit the Gladstone Library in 2014. My undergraduate degrees are in Political Science and Sociology and I have masters degrees specialising in Canadian politics and the relationship between religion and commerce.
My work on New Age religion has been presented at the American Academy of Religion (regional meeting) and the International Association for the Study of Esotericism. My work on nineteenth century occultism has been presented at the North American Victorian Studies Association, the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, the Society for the Study of French History, and the Social History Society.
I am the postgraduate representative on the board of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism and I also served on the committee of the Society for the Study of French History. I was a founding member of the Western Esotericism reading group at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where I also worked as research assistant to Dr. Alison Butler.
Previously I worked in industries as diverse as oil and gas, transportation, fisheries, aquaculture, and general business. I conducted international media relations on high profile issues including the Canadian seal hunt, lobbying the European Union on Canadian seafood tariffs, and the creation of the Nunatsiavut Government in Labrador.
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