Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Ethical encounters in the archives. On studying individuals in esoteric contexts

List of Authors: Maarit Leskelä-Kärki

Place: Turku

Publication year: 2020

Journal: Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis

Volume number: 29

Issue number: 1

eISSN: 2343-4937



Self-archived copy’s web address:


This article discusses archival sources and biographical history in the
context of the history of modern esotericism. Presenting a case study
and archival material of a Finnish writer Aarni Kouta (1884-1924) the
article asks, what are the ethical challenges of studying individuals
and their intimate sources in the context of esotericism. The starting
point is in the forgotten figures of esoteric history, and thus the
article reflects how our understanding of history and more precisely on
the history of esotericism changes when we look at those whose history
has not been presented before. I will argue that we need to be much more
sensitive to the differences in the past when doing interpretations
concerning individuals, and we have to be ethically aware of our
position as interpreters. This means careful working with historical
source materials, but also sensitivity to both the long traditions of
esotericism and to the multiple contexts of particular historical

Downloadable publication

This is an electronic reprint of the original article.
This reprint may differ from the original in pagination and typographic detail. Please cite the original version.

Last updated on 2022-07-04 at 18:41