VISIONS OF ENCHANTMENT:
OCCULTISM, SPIRITUALITY & VISUAL CULTURE
An International Conference
at the University of Cambridge,
17-18 March 2014
THIS TWO-DAY CONFERENCE IS A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY OF ART, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE AND THE ARTS UNIVERSITY BOURNEMOUTH AND IS ORGANISED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE EUROPEAN SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF WESTERN ESOTERICISM (ESSWE). IT SEEKS TO INVESTIGATE THE FORMATIVE ROLE THAT OCCULTISM AND SPIRITUALITY HAVE PLAYED IN THE CREATION OF BOTH WESTERN AND NON-WESTERN VISUAL AND MATERIAL CULTURES.
THE CONFERENCE AIMS TO PROVIDE A STIMULATING PLATFORM FOR THE PRESENTATION OF INNOVATIVE RESEARCH IN THIS FIELD AS WELL AS TO ENCOURAGE DIALOGUE AND EXCHANGE BETWEEN ACADEMICS WITH A SPECIFIC RESEARCH INTEREST IN ART AND OCCULTISM.
CALL FOR PAPERS AND FULL DETAILS OF THE CONFERENCE ARE AT:
JOURNAL: RELIGIOUS SECRECY AS CONTACT. SECRETS AS PROMOTERS OF RELIGIOUS DYNAMICS invites contributions
The editors of the volume Religious Secrecy as Contact. Secrets as Promoters of Religious Dynamics would like to invite contributions concerned with any of the following areas: Islam, Tibet, Central Asia, India, Shamanism (in Asia or Europe).
*Contributions on other areas of European and Asian religions would also be considered.*
We are looking for articles that explore the role of secrecy and secrets in situations of religious contact. For further information please contact Anna Akasoy (akasoy [at] gmx.net).
Description of Volume:
Religious Secrecy as Contact:Secrets as Promoters of Religious Dynamics
Editors: A. Akasoy, L. Di Giacinto, G. Halkias, A. Müller-Lee, P. Reichling, K.M. Stünkel
The proposed volume focuses on “strategies of secrecy” and their role in the history of religious contacts, a neglected field of research in Religious Studies. It comprises a collection of papers presented in a series of interdisciplinary workshops and conferences on the subject of “religion and secrecy” held at the Käte Hamburger Consortium “Dynamics in the History of Religions” between 2008 and 2012. The contributions of the volume analyse the phenomenon of „secretizing‟:
As Mark Teeuwen pointed out, secrecy ― “a form of religious practice in its own right‟ ― refers to a certain process within a given social situation where the secret functions in a certain institutional framework (Teeuwen, Mark and Scheid, Bernhard, eds., The Culture of Secrecy in Japanese Religion, New York: Routledge 2006, p. 4).
The secret itself may be replaced by ritualized secretism that is independent of the content of the secret (Johnson, Paul Christopher, Secret, Gossip, and Gods. The Transformation of Brazilian Candomblé, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, p.3).
The volume challenges the traditional analysis that understands secret merely as a social and epistemological device that prevents contact between an “ingroup‟ and an ”outgroup‟ and provides the means to cut one’s own tradition from external influences. The present volume will rather build on Assmann‟s insights on secrecy as “interaktives Geschehen”, because secrecy involves an interactive dimension which fulfils an important function in cross-cultural contacts‟. (Aleida Assmann, Jan Assmann, „Die Erfindung des Geheimnisses durch die Neugier“, in: Aleida Assmann, Jan Assmann, eds., Schleier und Schwelle III. Geheimnis und Neuzeit, München: Fink 1999, p. 8).
Accordingly, the general hypothesis of the volume is that secrets play a significant role in the inter-religious and intrareligious exchange and all the essays shall examine the function of secrets in examples of religious contacts. While aspects of secrecy usually seem to play a role in religious conduct, analysing the role of secrets within religious traditions involves difficulties. Since, by definition, one cannot hope to grasp „the secret‟ on the level of the object language, the field of possible investigation is reduced to the functional and the linguistic field. More precisely, secrecy can be analysed as a semantic structure that can be identified and described phenomenologically. Hence, it is also not necessary to assume that the terminology of secrecy should be translated one to one across cultures. Secrets are by no means neutral or indifferent notions in religious processes: They rather function as privileged zones of contact. A secret might be described as a catalyst for specific forms of communication since the elusive nature of secret offers rich opportunities for translations from one religious tradition into another and often the results are miscomprehensions, which are harshly rejected by the old secret-keepers. In any case, secrets may function as interfaces of inter-religious and intrareligious contact. As such, they should be analyzed as a blank space that can be identified in distinct ways and understood as a process of emptying conceptual content in different linguistic contexts. Finally, because the content of secrets cannot be determined and translations remain in flux, secrets promote rather than prevent the concrescence of religious traditions.
Venue: Humanities Bridgeford Street Building 1.69 (University of Manchester)
Date: Friday 18th January 2013
The role, form and affect of sacred space(s) within ‘secular’ institutions is a theme that is increasingly attractive to scholars within the social sciences. This Socrel study day will consider how different types of organisation – including but not limited to educational establishments, hospitals and hospices, airports, public buildings, shopping centres, etc – ‘make space’ for faith, sacrality and religious practice(s) within their buildings, management structures and public offerings.
The study day will also consider: the key social, cultural and political drivers behind these spaces; precursors and ongoing developments; how such spaces are positioned within contemporary policy debates; and the practical issues practitioners should consider when designing and managing ‘sacred space’ within a secular institution. The day will be centred around three axes:
- A reflection upon the wide range of institutions that contain set-aside ‘sacred space’.
- A close sociological reading of what ‘happens’ within these spaces on a day-to-day basis, and how this might be conceptualised methodologically. For instance, how are they ‘shared’? How can effective use be measured?
- A thoroughgoing assessment of the role and practice(s) of extant religious groups and traditions, within the provision and ongoing usage of these spaces.
We welcome contributions of any length (20 minute papers, 10-15 minute presentations) which address these, and any of the following questions:
- What are these spaces for, and how are roles and designations contested?
- What is or can be sacred about these spaces?
- To what extent are these spaces multi-faith in either description or usage?
- Do these spaces demonstrate novelty or continuity with existing forms?
- What are the normative factors governing the development of these spaces (e.g. cohesion, diversity, customer focus, etc). Can these factors always be reconciled?
Please send abstracts to Chris Hewson by 15 December 2012: firstname.lastname@example.org
Modern Western Magic
Nevill Drury’s “Pathways in Modern Western Magic” is reviewed by John Robert Colombo
This is a hefty and handsome piece of bookmaking, something of a tome, a trade paperback that measures six inches by nine inches. It is bulky for it is one and one-quarter inch thick, with pages glued together rather than stitched, and x+470+6 pages in length. There is an informative introduction, a total of 17 substantial chapters, a section of interesting biographical notes about its contributors (complete with email addresses), and a detailed 27-page index. (The index has a passing reference to Grey Owl, but no reference to P.D. Ouspensky; there is a passing reference to the Great God Pan, but no reference to G.I. Gurdjieff.)
The tome is a collection of accessibly written though unsparingly earnest scholarly papers, each paper with its own endnotes and references, some quite extensive. While there is no list of illustrations, maybe thirty-five black-and-white photographs and drawings appear here and there to illustrate general references in the articles. It is a book to be read intermittently and to be consulted from time to time, should the reader be interested in what the editor identifies as “modern Western magic” and should the aspect of that topic of interest be covered by one of the book’s contributors.
The publisher is Concrescent Press, a relatively new imprint from Seattle, Washington, founded in the late 1990s but only now commissioning and publishing books that may be described as “esoteric.” I will refrain from defining that term, or trying to determine its definition by the publisher Sam Webster, but I will quote how he has described the aim of the press: “Our intention is to build a community of practice and scholarship primarily focused on Pagan Magic.” So it seems that Concrescent Press is an activist, semi-academic imprint that is beginning to specialize in the production of quality books of interest about a subject that is marginal in interest and perhaps imaginal in nature.
Scholars, take note: It is open for business! The publisher even offers a short preface which begins like this: “‘Pathways in Modern Western Magic’ launches a new imprint in the Concrescence family of books. This imprint specializes in peer-reviewed works of scholarship in the fields of Esotericism, Pagan religion and culture, Magic, and the Occult. Concrescent Scholars present their views from within and without the Academy. Here will be heard the Voice of the Academic, and also the Voice of the Practitioner, the native of the sometimes alien, sometimes intimate, spaces of the Esoteric.” My attention was caught by the distinction between “academic” and “practitioner” (both curiously capitalized) and I will refer to that distinction or dichotomy later in this review.
In passing, it is interesting to note that one of the imprint’s first publications is Sam Webster’s own title “Tantric Thelema.” So the press seems to have a definite orientation towards Aleister Crowley and “Crowleyanity” and his notion of magic as change in conformity with will. Although the word “concrescent” and its cognate “concrescence” are not widely used, they have a recognized meaning in biology to refer to the “growing together of related parts, tissues, or cells” or simply “the amassing of physical particles, or cells.” It presumably means the opposite of “excrescence”!
A book’s index speaks volumes about that title, and this index supplies a clue concerning who’s who and what’s what. For instance, there are 7 page references to Sigmund Freud; 18 to Carl Jung; 36 to Rose and Aleister Crowley. In the same vein, Consciousness and God run neck to neck with 90 and 91 references respectively, only to be outdone by tireless Time (with 128 references). The highest score goes to Magic/Magick at 271 references, so that for every two pages of the book there is one mention of the magical arts.
What the book’s index describes is dramatized by the book’s table of contents. Simplifying the principle of organization, the reader who stays with the text from page 1 to page 470 will encounter chapters that concentrate on the following subjects or topics: two theoretical considerations of esotericism in the West in our time; two discussions of Wicca; three analyses of what is called “Neo-Shamanism” and “Seidr oracles”; two deliberations about the Golden Dawn and Crowley’s “Thelemic Sex Magick”; one chapter on “Dragon Rouge” or the “Left-Hand Path”; three chapters on the Church of Satan, the Temple of Set, and “the Magical Life of Ithell Colquhoun”; a consideration of “two Chthonic Magical Artists” (Austin Osman Spare and Rosaleen Norton); one section on “Chaos Magics in Britain”; a forward-looking discussion of “Technoshamans and Cybershamans”; and one section on “a Hybridized Tantra Practice.” That is a lot to digest.
For the record, here are the names of the contributors of those chapters (sidestepping the multiple contributions made by the book’s editor): Nevill Drury, Lynne Hume, Dominique Beth Wilson, Nikki Bado, Marguerite Johnson, Andrei A. Znamenski, Robert J. Wallis, Jenny Blain, Thomas Karlsson, James R. Lewis, Don Webb, Amy Hale, Dave Evans, Libuše Martínková, Paul Hine. The majority of these scholars are widely published, they hold advanced degrees (some in interdisciplinary studies), and they mainly teach in departments of Anthropology, History, Humanities, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sociology, etc., with universities in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. I did not spot a single psychologist or psychiatrist, or any professor who teaches a course in Literature. (I think the latter is an interesting observation.)
The names of all of the contributors are new to me, including that of Nevill Drury, whom I should have known about, who is described as “an independent researcher whose specialist interests include contemporary Western magic, shamanism and visionary art.” Experienced as a book editor and publisher in his native Australia, he holds a doctorate on the Western esoteric tradition from the University of Newcastle. His book “Stealing Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Modern Western Magic” was published by Oxford University Press in 2011. He contributes a couple of chapters and writes in a way that is at once accomplished and appealing.
These details may be of incidental interest, but they set the stage for the discussion that follows. To use the distinction introduced by the publisher, the reviewer of this publication who is an Academic would have to relate it to academic publications by Ronald Hutton, Marina Warner, Joscelyn Godwin, Jeffrey J. Kripal, and other distinguished scholars who have contributed original research to the field, especially to the SUNY Press series on Western Occultism, whereas the reviewer who is a Practitioner would find it necessary to relate it to handbooks, manuals, grimoires, and half the books issued by Llewellyn Publications, Samuel Weiser Inc., and Watkins Publishing. It is not often that the twain do meet.
It is unlikely there is a single reader of this review who has this dual background – including the writer of the present review! – so a reasonable course to take here is to comment on each chapter to assure the prospective reader that the book is serious in intent, in interest, and in information. As the same time I have yet to be convinced (a) that there is a single chapter that is indispensable reading for the light it sheds on its subject, and (b) that the chapters dovetail in some unexpected way to form a whole that suggests that there is a paradigm for a new way to understand the subject matter and its supposed cohesiveness. In sum, the value of the collection is about equal to the sum of its parts.
I have somewhat the same reaction to this book as I had when in 2008 I reviewed for this website Joscelyn Godwin’s The Golden Thread: The Ageless Wisdom of the Western Mystery Traditions. The thread in that title is tangled and frayed and knotted: one thing happens after another without causal connection, though its knowledgeable and perceptive author offered his own “authoritative” voice to the puzzles and the mysteries that he described and discussed. This same problem was faced by Manly P. Hall way back in 1928 when, at the tender age of twenty-seven and all by himself, he researched and published The Secret Teachings of All Ages, which is the great-mother and mother-lode of all such books as these. (I also reviewed Hall’s work for this website.) Perhaps the fault here lies in the nature of the so-called Western tradition of esotericism, which includes magic, for the “tradition” seems to be discontinuous, a helter-skelter of false starts and abrupt stops. There seems to be no transcendent principle at work. Such, anyway, seems to be the fate of books that comprise the library of paradoxography.
“Pathways in Modern Western Magic” might better be retitled “Footpaths in Modern Western Magic.” There is something makeshift about the choice of what is included and what is excluded. A “pathway” suggests a well-defined religious goal, like a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, whereas a “footpath” suggests a walk through the woods in Indian file to no discernible destination, though a lot of ground is covered. No mention is made of some related subjects – including psychical research, parapsychology, psychokinesis, imaging techniques, the Algonkian oracular complex, consciousness studies, LSD, neuroimaging, brain research, consciousness studies. For instance, there is a lot that is “magical” and even “magickal” about UFOs, as Jung knew, but not in these pages.
Mythopoesis is short-changed, and the writers fail to turn to the literary imagination to illustrate their points. Perhaps it never occurred to them, though assuredly many of their points were memorably made by poets like William Blake (who goes without a single reference in the index) and Kathleen Raine (who is merely footnoted). It might be said (by me anyway) that Nevill Drury, the editor, is so intent on covering serious subjects of less-than-usual interest, that he neglects popular subjects of more-than-passing interest. To his credit he commissioned the majority of these substantial studies; only a few of which seem to have received prior publication. To the extent that the book is devoted to “magic/magick” in theory and practice – or given the academic tone, to theoria and praxis – it is detailed, and some of the chapters are comprehensive. The historical record gives way to the contemporary record and the 20th and 21st centuries have been rich ones indeed to innovations in this field (or in these pastures). At times I visualized Mages collected around tables and shrines and altars looking for all the world like historical reenactors, thuribles at the ready!
What I really miss are two chapters that should be written: one chapter devoted to contemporary churches in the West with their fundamentalist religious practices which are magical to the core (prophecy, faith-healing, speaking in tongues, revelators, etc.), and another chapter devoted to the depiction (as distinct from the description) of the magical arts in the literature and film of our time and place. But the first chapter would have to be written with great tact, and as for the second chapter, there is probably an unwillingness to regard any of the rituals and relationships and correspondences of these “magicks” as the products of the literary mind and the productions of the fictional imagination. This I feel is a loss (but it is also the subject for another article).
To suggest the seriousness and enthusiasm that are characteristic of this book, here is a survey of it chapter by chapter, with one or two impressions of each chapter, taken almost at random to suggest the richness in research, thought, and expression.
Introduction: Nevill Drury reminds us of the anthropological distinction between “etic” accounts and “emic” accounts — the former being accounts presented from the outside, the latter being accounts presented from the inside. Scholar or practitioner, self-exploration and spiritual renewal, these matters are stressed. The foundation is well and truly laid.
Chapter 1: “Lifting the Veil.” Lynne Hume pursues the characteristics of the “emic” approach and along the way examines altered states of consciousness, emotion, imagination, experience, epistemology, etc. The essential irrationality of magic is understood and not dismissed.
Chapter 2: “The Visual and the Numinous.” Dominique Beth Wilson examines the experience of the “mysterium tremendum et fascinans” that is the basis of Pagan (capitalized) and Neopagan practice. The activities of the Applegrove coven in Sydney, Australia, are described in interesting detail.
Chapter 3: “Encountering the Universal Triple Goddess of Wicca” is a discussion by Nikki Bado of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. There is a detailed consideration of the place of dichotomy and of evolving paradigms. What is required is that we “learn to see the shifting play of light and dark, to see dynamic polarities rather than dichotomies.”
Chapter 4: “Away from the Light.” The dark aspects of the goddess have attracted the attention of Marguerite Johnson who examines in some detail Wicca, Neo-paganism, and Witchcraft. I like the discussion of the primal “egregore” which “denotes a collective force that is made manifest by meditation and ritual.”
Chapter 5: “Neo-Shamanism in the United States,” contributed by Andrei A. Znamenski, mentions Mircea Eliade and Carlos Castaneda but concentrates on Michael Harner and Native American shamanism. The idea is floated that “anti-structure” is “an ideal structure for contemporary educated Westerners, who are too skeptical to commit themselves to group values and who, at the same time, long for spiritual experience.” (This is a variation on the theme of “the religion of no religion” with respect to Esalen.)
Chapter 6: “Neo-Shamanism in Europe.” Robert J. Wallis considers the “construct” of the notion of shamanism which has been part of European consciousness for the last two centuries and part of its practice for millennia. One section-heading reads: “Everyone’s a shaman: Decontextualising and universalising shamans.” There is a reference to “entheogen,” “to inspire the god within,” and the psychedelic nature or component of the experience.
Chapter 7: “Seidr Oracles” is the work of Jenny Blain and it refers to North European shamanistic work. Seers and seeresses here are heavily influenced by the Old Norse sagas, and the chapter introduces words and phrases like “Heathenry and Earth Religions.” Of all the chapters, this one is probably the most descriptive and informative for the lay reader.
Chapter 8: “Magical Practices in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” by Nevill Drury is a one-stop yet quite-thorough history of this most-influential magical order, one that attracted and influenced Aleister Crowley and W.B. Yeats, among other writers. There is much discussion of its Tree of Life, symbolism, correspondences, and visionary practices.
Chapter 9: “The Thelemic Sex Magick of Aleister Crowley” is also by Nevill Drury and it tells the reader all that it is necessary to know about this mage, the Ordo Templi Orientis, and the “elixir” of his “sex magick.” There is more information and theory in these pages than there are details about practice and procedure.
Chapter 10. “The Draconian Tradition” is subtitled “Dragon Rouge and the Left-Hand Path.” Thomas Karlsson discusses the primal forces before creation and by stressing the darker energies holds to the alchemical principle “en to pan” (all is one). Taoism, Tantra, Kundalini, Crazy Wisdom … all these come to mind and to body.
Chapter 11: “Claiming Hellish Hegemony.” James R. Lewis tells – and retells – the story of Anton La Vey, the Church of Satan, and the “Satanic Bible.” Many times has the story been told, but here the retelling distinguishes between the heroic legend and the sordid fact. The hodge-podge construction of the influential “Satanic Bible” is really quite extraordinary.
Chapter 12: “Modern Black Magic” by Don Webb begins, “When I joined the Temple of Set in 1989.” It discusses the syncretistic nature of the cult or sect’s dogma and ritual and ends “with a few recommendations for further reading.” The Temple seems both authentic and eccentric!
Chapter 13: “The Magical Life of Ithell Colquhoun.” Amy Hale looks at the “innovative spirit” of the artist with the memorable name, placing her initially among the Surrealists, latterly among the Celtic-influenced magicians. It is a sympathetic introduction to her art and texts.
Chapter 14: “Two Chthonic Magical Artists.” Nevill Drury’s sympathies go to the British visionary artist Austin Osman Spare whose work is better known than that of the bohemian Australian witch Rosaleen Norton. Text and illustrations are combined to make memorable introductions to their work.
Chapter 15: “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted” is the title of Dave Evans’s study of “Chaos magics.” Crowley is a key influence here, but so is relativism and deconstruction and the suggestion that there are times “when Chaos becomes the Norm.”
Chapter 16: “The Computer-Mediated Religious Life of Technoshamans and Cybershamans.” This long-winded title introduces Libuše Martínková and her study of how computers and digital technologies are influencing everything from shamanic practice to lucid dreaming. It ends with a consideration of reality in terms of “the issue of virtuality.”
Chapter 17: “The Magic Wonderland of the Senses” is subtitled “Reflections on a Hybridised Tantra Practice.” Phil Hine looks at Tantra and Shakti and Kali through both occult and scholarly eyes, and decides they require no more “Western universalised esoteric schemas” but “the wider cultural formations of India.”
At one point I took a break from reading the heady descriptive and analytic prose that constitutes “Pathways” to reread “The Circular Ruins,” a short, highly imaginative story written by Jorge Luis Borges. First published in 1941 and widely reprinted, this work of fiction includes a passage in which its unnamed narrator, addressing himself, ponders the “enigmas” of the world. His words capture some of the possibilities of philosophical notions that are taken with the utmost seriousness in “Pathways.”
Here is that passage: “He understood that the task of molding the incoherent and dizzying stuff that dreams are made of is the most difficult work a man can undertake, even if he fathom all the enigmas of the higher and lower spheres – much more difficult than weaving a rope of sand or minting coins of the faceless wind. He understood that initial failure was inevitable.”
The story is readily available in the Penguin Book edition of Jorge Luis Borges’s “On Mysticism” (2010) edited and introduced by Maria Kodama. It takes the reader farther – and further – along the “footpaths” of “Pathways in Modern Western Magic.”
John Robert Colombo is an author and anthologist who lives in Toronto and is known as Canada’s “Master Gatherer.” He contributed the Foreword to Eureka Press’s recently published study “Real Worlds of G.I. Gurdjieff” by Paul Beekman Taylor. He has collected the hitherto uncollected short fiction and reminiscences of Sax Rohmer, the creator of Dr. Fu Manchu; the titles of these books are “Pipe Dreams” and “The Crime Magnet.” His website is < http://www.colombo.ca >
* * * * * * *
If you liked the above review you may like his Foreword to Eureka Press’s recently published study “Real Worlds of G.I. Gurdjieff” by Paul Beekman Taylor, at
Gurdjieff’s teaching: for scholars and practitioners an independent site which looks at the teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff and Gurdjieff-related studies with reference to both practitioners and scholars.’ Sophia Wellbeloved.
28 Nov. 2012
MEDICINE, RELIGION, WITCHCRAFT
Rome, 30 th November – 1st December 2012
SAPIENZA UNIVERSITY OF ROME
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY, CULTURES, RELIGIONS
P.le A. Moro, 5 – 00185 Roma
Rationale of the workshop
Medicine, religion, witchcraft are three apparently different domains of ideas, knowledge, practices and beliefs, as well as three different domains of anthropological investigation characterized by rather independent objectives, methods and theoretical frameworks.
Medicine and religion have often been tackled together or at least approached with similar goals, and interconnected in the observation and analysis. Traditional medicine and witchcraft have been often superimposed or confused by colonial powers and practices, and even today the popular discourse confuses them. Religion and witchcraft show some links both in practices and beliefs that have been explored only partially. The anthropological interest in these three fields of investigation is almost always intermingled with questions and arguments of political, economic, psychological nature that dealt more with each field separately than with the complex web of interrelations among them.
We wish to propose an integrated method of study which may give the opportunity of working in the perspective of analyzing that complex web, and producing a new and deeper anthropological awareness and capability in the interpretation of events, processes and representations implying the three categories and fields, as well as their socio-psychological, economic-political and symbolic backgrounds. The workshop aims at contributing to the construction of such a new perspective through the proposal of developing analyses and discussions that put witchcraft at the centre in order to reflect on its reciprocal interrelations with medicine, on one side, and religion, on the other, keeping the system of relations between medicine and religion as an empirical and theoretical horizon.
Witchcraft turned again as a topical subject since the late Eighties of last Century mainly for its links with wealth and power, and in relation to its supposed universality within the globalization process, giving rise consequently to a strong interest in the postmodern wave, highly influenced by the foucaultian theses. The hidden risk in this intellectual trend lies in the allurement of proposing again, even though in terms radically new, the issue of the function of witchcraft as a factor of social cohesion in the context of the practices and representations in a globalized world. Therefore, the understanding of the deep nature of witchcraft, and its mysterious and enigmatic principles of reality, and its links with the material and spiritual aspects of reality – culturally and scientifically represented by medicine and religion – runs the risk of escape completely.
1. Aria Dr.Matteo (PostDoc, Sapienza University of Rome)
2. Bellagamba Prof. Alice (Professor of Anthropology, University of Milan Bicocca)
3. Casciano Davide (MA student, Sapienza University of Rome)
4. Ceriana Mayneri Dr. Andrea (PostDoc, Université Catholique de Louvain)
5. Costantini Osvaldo (PhD student, Sapienza University of Rome)
6. Ekem Rev. Prof. John David K. (Academic Dean, Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon,
7. Lupo Prof. Alessandro (Professor of Anthropology, Sapienza University of Rome)
8. Meyer Prof. Birgit (Professor of Religious Studies, University of Utrecht)
9. Pavanello Prof. Mariano (Professor of Anthropology, Sapienza University of Rome)
10. Schirripa Prof. Pino (Professor of Anthropology, Sapienza University of Rome)
11. Vasconi Dr. Elisa (PhD, University of Siena)
Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Trans 14, 3512 JK Utrecht, Netherlands;
; co-editor of Material Religion
th November 2012, morning – 1st Session (Witchcraft:
Mariano Pavanello, Birgit Meyer, Opening of the workshop
Matteo Aria, Witchcraft, biopower and extraordinary anthropology
Mariano Pavanello, A hypothesis on the nature of African witchcraft
th November 2012, afternoon – 2nd Session (Medicine, Religion,
Witchcraft in ethnographic perspective)
Andrea Ceriana Mayneri, Sorcellerie, enfance et abandon en Afrique
Alessandro Lupo, Patients, mystical journeys and health care:
negotiating therapeutic paths in Mexican contexts of medical pluralism
Pino Schirripa, Where Christianity is ancient. Pentecostalism, evil in the
world and break with the past in Ethiopia
Osvaldo Costantini, B Yesus Sïm (in the name of Jesus). Some notes
about Eritrean and Ethiopian Pentecostal churches in Rome (Italy)
20.00 dinner at gazebo restaurant of
“Casa dell’Aviatore” (v.le Università, 20)
st December 2012, morning – 3rd Session (Medicine, Religion,
Witchcraft in politics and history )
Rev. John David K. Ekem Medicine, Religion and Healing. An African
Alice Bellagamba, Politics and African witchcraft: a long term discussion
Elisa Vasconi, Witchcraft, Traditional Medicine and Colonial Rule in
Davide Casciano, Pentecostalism, HIV and Witchcraft in Nigeria
Birgit Meyer, Conclusions
Correspondences. An online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism.
Call for papers. Deadline: feb. 28, 2013.
Correspondences seeks to create a public academic forum devoted to discussion and exposition of issues and currents in the field commonly known as ‘Western Esotericism.’ The editors acknowledge that the use of “Western esotericism” as an umbrella term for a widely variant field of alternate scientific and religious ideas is problematic. Thus, articles related to esoteric currents from other global cultural centers may be accepted if a connection to “alternative” currents in “western culture” is implicitly established.
The following list of areas of study is provided for clarification: Alchemy, Anthroposophy, Astrology, Eco-spirituality, Esoteric art, literature, and music, Freemasonry, Geomancy, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Illuminism, Initiatory secret societies, Kabbalah, Magic, Mesmerism, Mysticism, Naturphilosophie, Neo-paganism, New Age, Occultism, Occulture, Paracelsianism, Rosicrucianism, Satanism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Traditionalism, Ufology, Witchcraft.
Correspondences encourages submissions from a variety of methodological and disciplinary approaches, such as: History of Religions; Sociology; Art History; Philosophy; History of Science; Literature; ; and Cultural Studies, just to name a few.
Jimmy Elwing, rMA student, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Aren Roukema, rMA student, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Egil Asprem, MA, Researcher, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Dr. Henrik Bogdan, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Dr. Juan Pablo Bubello, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dr. Dylan Burns, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dr. Peter Forshaw, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Christian Giudice, PhD student, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Dr. Amy Hale, St. Petersburg College, United States.
Prof. Boaz Huss, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
Prof. Birgit Menzel, Universität Mainz, Germany.
More Information, please contact us at
Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France
Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press
Anna Fedele offers a sensitive ethnography of alternative pilgrimages to French Catholic shrines dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. Drawing on more than three years of fieldwork, she describes how pilgrims from Italy, Spain, Britain, and the United States interpret Catholic figures, symbols, and sites according to theories derived from the international Neopagan movement.
Fedele pays particular attention to the pilgrims’ life stories, rituals and reading. She examines how they devise their rituals, how anthropological literature has influenced them, and why this kind of spirituality is increasingly prevalent in the West. These pilgrims cultivate spirituality in interaction with each other and with textual sources: Jungian psychology, Goddess mythology, and “indigenous” traditions merge into a corpus of practices centered upon the worship of the Goddess and Mother Earth, and the sacralization of the reproductive cycle. Their rituals present a critique of Roman Catholicism and the medical establishment, and question contemporary discourse on gender.
“In this theoretically nuanced and ethnographically rich study, Anna Fedele carefully lays out the complex and imaginative worlds of Mary Magdalene’s contemporary spiritual pilgrims and their sacred landscapes of European forests, waters, caves, and rocks imbued with symbol and meaning. Immersing herself in their created ceremonies, she reports back to us with sensitivity and insight about their reinterpretations of gender, sexuality, community, and religion.”
Sarah M. Pike, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community
“This is a rich, thoughtful, and quite startling account of the new spirituality around Mary Magdalene, and around menstruation, darkness and the creativity of loss.”
Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University
Oxford Ritual Studies Series, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press
I SBN10: 0-19-989842-
The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
Graduate Students’Association presents
The 17th Annual Graduate Symposium
March 14-15, 2013
Open Call for Papers
Deadline for Submissions: January 13, 2013
The Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Graduate Students Association of the University of Toronto invites proposals for the 17th Annual Graduate Symposium to be held on March 14-15, 2013. Since 1997, the NMCGSA Symposium has provided the opportunity for promising graduate students to share their original research with the broader scholarly community in a conference-like forum, and to publish their presentations as proceedings. By annually bringing together specialists in archaeology, history, anthropology, comparative literature, religion, art, philosophy, and political science, the symposium provides a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary discourse focused on the study of the Near and Middle East. The 2013 symposium aims to highlight this diversity in order to foster communication and exchange across disciplinary boundaries. While we encourage submissions that are related to the topics of science and the occult, we are nevertheless open to any variety of topics that pertain to the realm of Near and Middle Eastern Studies. kkk Submitting a Paper: Presenters are asked to submit an abstract of 250 words by e-mail attachment no later than January 13, 2013. Submissions should also include the following information in the body of the email: presenters name, program (M.A, Ph.D.), year of study, research focus, university and department, complete address, telephone number, email address, title of paper, and audio-visual requirements. We highly encourage the submission of panel proposals as it will increase the chances of acceptance. kkk Presentations must not exceed 20 minutes. The abstracts will be reviewed by committee and presenters will be informed of their acceptance no later than January 27, 2013. For purposes of anonymous adjudication, please do NOT include your name or other identification on the abstract attachment. kkk If your paper is being submitted as part of a proposed panel or considered under a specific theme, please include the panel title or the proposed theme under the title of the paper on the abstract. kkk Please send us your submissions via the following e-mail address: email@example.com kkk Arshavez Mozafari Ph.D. Candidate (IV) Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations University of Torontoa.firstname.lastname@example.org
Theology and Religion Faculty Centre
The The The Faculty of Theology and Religion, in association with Pembroke College, proposes to appoint to a University Lectureship in the Study of Religion (Grade 30S: £42,883 – £57,581 p.a. ). The post of University Lecturer is the main career grade for academic faculty at Oxford and is equivalent to a North American associate professorship. The lecturer will be a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion and will also hold a Tutorial Fellowship at Pembroke College. Grade 30S: £42,883 – £57,581 p.a.
The successful candidate will be an outstanding scholar whose expertise lies within the broad field of the Study of Religion. He or she will hold a doctorate in any field relating to the Study of Religion, have a strong record of research and publication at an international level and previously have secured research funding. The ability to deliver effective class and small-group (tutorial) teaching to high-achieving and challenging students and to supervise graduate students for the Faculty is essential. Please upload a curriculum vitae (or resumé), including an email address and telephone number; a letter explaining how you meet the criteria for this post outlined in the further particulars; and two samples of written work (for example, a book chapter, a peer-reviewed journal article, or other research paper. Peer-reviewed online publications are acceptable). Please do not submit complete book manuscripts.
The The post is tenable from 1 October 2013 or as soon as possible thereafter. The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Wednesday 12 December 2012. Informal enquires about the post may be emailed to:
Dr Sondra Hausner (email@example.com).
8 & 9 March 2013
Keynote speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton
This conference brings together postgraduates and early-career academics working on the study of religions from a variety of perspectives and disciplines, creating a space for them to share their work and to further encourage research and collaboration within the University of Bristol (the host institution), and among members of other universities within the South West region and beyond.
The conference has a long history of drawing together postgraduate students and their supervisors from universities in the surrounding area and beyond. Last year saw us expand to a record number of participating speakers, delegates, and partner institutions. Forty-nine papers, divided in seventeen sessions, were presented by postgraduate students and early career academics, from eighteen universities. Almost one hundred delegates attended at least part of the conference. A session for undergraduate papers was also held, with notable success.
Although we encourage applications that directly address the theme of the conference ‘Afterlife’, in all its interpretations, contributions are welcome from all disciplines and areas related to the study of religions: theology, history, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, literature, art, music.
Presentations will be grouped in panels, each consisting of three 20-minute papers followed by a 30-minute period for questions and discussion. Panels will be chaired by lecturers from Bristol and other partner universities.
We are also accepting submissions for research posters. Displayed in the conference common room, these will allow further communication of research. A prize will be awarded to the poster voted best by the conference participants. Guidelines of the preparation of posters and a sample poster presentation can be found on the conference’s website. Please note that an applicant may submit a poster as well as a paper and that both may be accepted, on the condition that they cover different topics.
Please submit abstracts for papers and/or posters through our University’s ‘Stop Shop’ page at:
The deadline for submitting proposals will be 12:00 noon on Tuesday 15 January 2013.
Kindly note that the organisers are not in a position to assist anyone with visas, and will not consider or accept abstracts from those who require assistance with visas.
Registration for the conference will open at 12:00 noon on 22 January 2013 and will include refreshments and lunch on both days. Early registration is free for members of partner institutions and £10 for participants from other institutions or for those who are unaffiliated. Please note that all registrations received after 12 noon, Friday 8 February, will incur a £10 late registration fee.
A limited amount of financial assistance may be available to presenters of papers and/or posters. The assistance may be used towards defraying travel or accommodation expenses, or the early registration fee for participants from non-partner institutions. Application details will be posted in late January 2013 on the conference website.
Optional social events will be held on both evenings of the conference.
For more information and registration, please visit:
And join us on Facebook at:
and on Twitter at: @pgRTconference
OXFORD UNIVERSITY’S DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: ANTHROPOLOGICALLY FOCUSED MASTER’S AND DOCTORAL RESEARCH ON RELIGION AND EDUCATION
The University of Oxford’s Department of Education supports anthropologically focused Master’s and Doctoral research on religion and education:
Procedures and information:
November and January applications are encouraged. Inquiries may be directed to the Higher Degrees Office:OX
WARBURG INSTITUTE’S CENTRE FOR THE HISTORY OF ARABIC STUDIES IN EUROPE (CHASE): RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP: FUNDED – BRILL (LEIDEN
The publishing house Brill (Leiden) is generously sponsoring an annual research Fellowship at the Warburg Institute’s Centre for the History of Arabic Studies in Europe (CHASE). The Fellowship has been made possible by the “Sheikh Zayed Book Award” which was awarded to Brill Publishers in March 2012 for publishing excellence in Middle East and Islamic Studies.
The Brill Fellowship at CHASE to be held in the academic year 2013-14 will be of two or three months duration and is intended for a postdoctoral researcher. The Fellowship will be awarded for research projects on any aspect of the relations between Europe and the Arab World from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.
The closing date for applications is the 30 November 2012. Please visit our website for application details (
COUNTERCULTURE RESEARCH GROUP: FILM SCREENING: Lutz Dammbeck’s ‘The Net: The Unabomber – LSD and the Internet’ (2006).
COUNTERCULTURE RESEARCH GROUP FILM SCREENING: Lutz Dammbeck’s ‘The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet’ (2006). Friday 16th November, 6pm, GR05, Faculty of English.
Room GR05, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge 9 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP
The Open University, Milton Keynes – 15-16 May 2013
What is the relevance of research on historical and contemporary religion for today? How might such research inform current debates on religion, and the practice and self-understanding of religious groups and practitioners? What might historical perspective bring to research on contemporary religion? This conference will address such issues under the broad theme of ‘contemporary religion and historical perspective’. There will be two parallel streams. The first is ‘engaging with the past to inform the present’ and the relevance of religious history for the contemporary context. The second is ‘the public value of research on contemporary religion’; here papers on cross-cultural identities and new religions and popular spiritualities are particularly welcomed.
The backdrop for this conference is the growing acknowledgement that Religious Studies and other disciplines must engage with the wider society. Public ‘engagement’ takes many forms – from extensive projects to ad hoc engagement and involving diverse activities such as media work, lectures, workshops and online engagement. This conference will include practitioner perspectives on different themes, and reflect also on the ways in which academic research on religion might engage with communities of interest and place and private; interact with public and third sector institutions and organisations; and influence public discourse and the social, cultural and environmental well-being of society.
We invite paper and panel proposals for either stream. Papers could include case studies of previous or ongoing outreach, knowledge exchange or public engagement. Topics discussed might include (but are not limited to):
- integrating ‘religious history’ and contemporary religious practitioners;
- the relevance of historical research on religion for contemporary debates on religion; and for present-day religious groups, organisations and institutions;
- intersections between research on contemporary religion and present-day contemporary understanding and practice of religion;
- the idea of ‘applied’ or ‘public’ Religious Studies;
- methodological, theoretical and ethical issues relating to Religious Studies and knowledge exchange;
- relationships between academic and practitioner, or academic institution(s) and non-academic ‘partner’ and their implications and challenges.
Confirmed speakers include Ronald Hutton (Bristol), Steven Sutcliffe (Edinburgh), David Voas (Essex) and John Wolffe (Open University).
The conference is organised by the Open University’s Religious Studies Department.
Cost: £20 per day + £20 for conference dinner on the evening of 15 May. Lunch and refreshments (except conference dinner) are included in the day cost; but we ask attendees to book/fund their own accommodation (advice on local hotels and B&Bs available on request).
Announcing a new peer-reviewed sourcebook on the Western Esoteric Tradition:
Pathways in Modern Western Magic Edited by Nevill Drury
This authoritative multi-authored volume – with contributions by specialist scholars as well as leading magical practitioners – provides a fascinating overview of the many different pathways that help define esoteric belief and practice in modern Western magic. Included here are chapters on the late 19th century Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the influential Thelemic doctrines of Aleister Crowley, and the different faces of the Universal Goddess in Wicca and the pagan traditions. Also included are chapters on Neo-shamanism in Europe and the United States – and an account of how these traditions have in turn influenced the rise of technoshamanism in the West. Also featured here are insider perspectives on Seidr oracles, hybridised Tantra, contemporary black magic, the Scandinavian Dragon Rouge and Chaos magic in Britain – as well as profiles of the magical artists Ithell Colquhoun, Austin Osman Spare and Rosaleen Norton.
Nikki Bado * Jenny Blain * Nevill Drury * Dave Evans * Amy Hale * Phil Hine * Lynne Hume * Marguerite Johnson * Thomas Karlsson * James R. Lewis * Libuše Martínková * Robert J. Wallis * Don Webb * Dominique Beth Wilson * Andrei A. Znamenski
Lifting the veil: an emic approach to magical practice LYNNE HUME
The visual and the numinous: material expressions of the sacred in contemporary paganism DOMINIQUE BETH WILSON
Encountering the Universal Triple Goddess in Wicca NIKKI BADO
Away from the light – dark aspects of the Goddess MARGUERITE JOHNSON
Neo-shamanism in the United States ANDREI A. ZNAMENSKI
Neo-shamanism in Europe ROBERT J. WALLIS
Seidr oracles JENNY BLAIN
Magical practices in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn NEVILL DRURY
The Thelemic sex magick of Aleister Crowley NEVILL DRURY
The Draconian Tradition: Dragon Rouge and the Left-Hand Path THOMAS KARLSSON
Claiming hellish hegemony: Anton LaVey, The Church of Satan and the Satanic Bible JAMES R. LEWIS
Modern black magic: initiation, sorcery and the Temple of Set DON WEBB
The magical life of Ithell Colquhoun AMY HALE
Two chthonic magical artists: Austin Osman Spare and Rosaleen Norton NEVILL DRURY
Nothing is true, everything is permitted: Chaos magics in Britain DAVE EVANS
The computer mediated religious life of technoshamans and cybershamans Libuše Martínková
The magic wonderland of the senses: reflections on a hybridised Tantra practice PHIL HINE
Published by Concrescent Scholars
Contact publisher directly for quantity and book-trade discounts: firstname.lastname@example.org
6×9 in., Paperback, 484 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9843729-9-7 *
THE SUBSTANCE OF SACRED PLACE:
organised by Laura Veneskey and Annette Hoffmann
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
Call for Papers
The study of holy places has long been a central concern of not only the humanities, but also the social sciences. Much of this body of scholarship has focused on pilgrimage and sacred centers, either as theoretical constructions or as concrete places, such as Jerusalem, Mecca or Benares. These subjects have been explored, on the one hand, through the study of ritual and liturgy, and on the other, through various modes of representation, be they architectural, cartographic, iconic, or textual. Complementary to these lines of inquiry, we invite papers that explore the material and tactile dimensions of locative sacrality across religious traditions. How is a sense of place communicable through physical means? What can a consideration of matter tell us about the often fraught relationship between the tangible world and its representation?
- Sacred landscapes (deserts, mountains, caves, etc.)
- The material dimensions of topographic representation (iconic or textual)
- Earthen, geographic, and locative relics
- Transportable versus site-specific sanctity – The physicality of built environments and places of worship
Proposals must be received by date 30th November 2012.
The 2013 CESNUR Conference co-organized by Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR) Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University Finyar (The Nordic Network for the Study of New Religiosity) Dalarna University
CHANGING RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS
IN A CHANGING WORLD
Dalarna University Falun (Sweden),
21-24 June 2013
CALL FOR PAPERS
2013 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first CESNUR conference, held in Southern Italy in 1988, and the opening of INFORM (Information Network Focus on Religious Movements) in the UK.
How has the religious scenario evolved within the context of a changing world over the past 25 years? How are religious movements different today? How does society react differently to religious pluralism?
These will be the themes of the 2013 conference, with special attention being paid to the Nordic countries, contemporary spiritual and esoteric movements in a globalized and transnational perspective, and the reactions of the media, the mainline churches, the law and society in general to the new religious pluralism.
The conference will start on Midsummer Night’s Eve, Friday 21 June 2013, when participants will congregate in Stockholm in the morning and board a bus for a field trip that will take them to culturally significant locations throughout the Swedish region of Dalarna.
Dalarna is famous for its small and picturesque villages, beautiful nature, traditional culture and handicraft. We will first visit Falun’s World Heritage Site and the 17th century part of the town. At that time, Falun was one of the most important towns in Sweden because of its copper mine.
Then we will continue to the old traditional villages around Lake Siljan, stopping on our way at some other places of traditional and cultural importance. The journey will culminate with a traditional Swedish Midsummer Feast in the village of Leksand, before our arrival in Falun late that evening.
The sessions of the conference will run from the morning of Saturday 22 June to the morning of Monday 24 June. On Monday 24 June buses will leave Falun at lunchtime (box lunches will be provided), taking participants either directly to Arlanda Airport in Stockholm or to a visit to Kalle Runristare, a neo-Pagan rune-carver on an island outside Stockholm. This island, Adelsö, is a World Heritage Site with historical importance, where the king lived in the Viking era. The journey ends in Stockholm in the evening.
In this package is included the field trip (including meals) on Friday, lunches from Saturday to Monday, the reception on Saturday night, and the journey back to Arlanda/Stockholm on Monday. Price: 220 euro.
An option will be offered for those who only want to participate in the conference, have the lunches on Saturday and Sunday and attend the banquet on Sunday evening as well as the reception on Saturday night. Participants opting for this package will not be included in any of the field trips and these participants will have to make their own arrangements to reach and leave Falun by train and plan their transfers privately. Price: 120 euro.
Full package, including transportation from Arlanda airport, Stockholm, the field trip on Friday (including meals); lunches; the reception on Saturday evening and the banquet on Sunday evening and either transportation back to Arlanda only or the field trip with arrival in Stockholm on Monday evening: Euro 220.
Conference attendance only, including lunch on Saturday and Sunday, the Saturday reception and the Sunday banquet (but no field trips or transportation) at: Euro 120.
Papers and sessions proposals should be submitted by email before the close of business on 10 January 2013 to email@example.com, accompanied by an abstract of no more than 300 words and a CV of no more than 200 words. Proposals may be submitted either in English or in French.
We urge you to make your travelling and lodging arrangements as early as possible, as midsummer is a very important holiday in Sweden. Journeys will be cheaper and more available if you book early. For those who arrange their own train journey between Arlanda and Falun, please observe that it is possible to buy train tickets from about three months before the journey, and that the tickets from that time on becomes increasingly expensive. See www.sj.se .
Scandic Hotel, just beside the university, is offering special prices for our conference guests. The price, inclusive of a generous breakfast, is 700 SEK for a single room (en suite), 800 SEK for a double room (en suite). To get this price, please write the code “Changing Religious Movements”. See
Hotels/Countries/Sweden/Falun/ Hotels/Scandic-Lugnet/ . Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
A cheaper option is an old prison which has been converted into a youth hostel. Three nights, inclusive of breakfast, in a single room, costs 1250 SEK (sharing a common bathroom). Rooms with several beds cost 950 SEK per person for three nights. To get this price, write the code “Changing Religious Movements”. See
Write to email@example.com
The youth hostel is situated about a 20-minute walk from the university, but is, on the other hand, closer to the town center.
Registration for the conference will open on 15 February 2013.
For full details see
Running with the Fairies: Towards a Transpersonal Anthropology of Religion is a unique account of the living spirituality and mysticism of fairyfolk in Ireland. Fairyfolk are fairyminded people who have had direct experiences with the divine energy and appearance of fairies, and fairypeople, who additionally know that they have been reincarnated from the Fairy Realm. While fairies have been folklore, superstition, or fantasy for most children and adults, now for the first time in a scholarly work, highly educated persons speak frankly about their religious/spiritual experiences, journeys, and transformations in connection with these angel-like spirit beings. Set in academic and popular historical perspectives, this first scholarly account of the Fairy Faith for over a hundred years, since believer Evans-Wentz’s 1911 published doctoral dissertation The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, integrates a participatory, going native anthropology with transpersonal psychology. Providing extensive verbatim interviews and discussions, this path-breaking work recognizes the reality of nature spirit beings in a Western context. Through intensive on-site fieldwork, the PhD cultural anthropologist author discovers, describes and interviews authentic mystics aligned with these intermediary deific beings. With an extensive introduction placing fairies in the context of the anthropology of religion, animism, mysticism, and consciousness, this daring ethnography considers notions of belief , perception , and spiritual experience , and with intricate detail extends the focus of anthropological research on spirit beings which previously have been considered as locally real only in indigenous and Eastern cultures.
The book is published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2012) in hard cover with 295 pages.
Dennis Gaffin, PhD, is a Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Gaffin s earlier fieldwork was on the Faeroe Islands. In recent years he has traveled and conducted research primarily in Ireland and India. He teaches comparative religion, cultural ecology, and medical anthropology. In addition to the ethnography In Place: Spatial and Social Order in a Faeroe Islands Community, he has published articles in academic and popular journals.
Most portrayals of astrologers at work are satirical. This project takes seriously the encounters between the astrologer and his clients. ‘Credulous lady & astrologer’, a colour stipple-engraving by Pierre Simon after John Raphael Smith, c. 1800.
Wellcome Library, London
Simon Forman, the notorious London astrologer, recorded 10,000
consultations between 1596 and 1603. Most of these are medical.
Forman’s casebooks can now be searched by name (of any party
involved), date, sex, age, topic of consultation and many other
criteria. The edition includes images of all the manuscript pages of
Forman’s first volume, and more will follow soon at:
Please send feedback to Dr Lauren Kassell
Department of History & Philosophy of Science
about how you are using the site–and about
how you would like to be able to use it.
This sad news has just come to me in a forwarded email:
It is with great sadness and regret that we must inform our ESSWE colleagues of the death of Professor Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke after a brief illness. Nicholas was the director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism at the University of Exeter, where together with his wife Clare he had built a world-class distance learning institute for postgraduate research in our field. He will also be well known to you all as the author of a number of insightful works on the history of Western esotericism, most notably his books concerning the relation of esotericism to fascist and far-right ideologies. Through his work Nicholas expressed his great love for the history, culture and peoples of both England and Germany, and in the course of a distinguished academic career he brought his considerable intellect to bear upon their respective esoteric traditions. With his passing we have lost a wise and much-loved teacher, an incisive scholarly mind and a jovial and kind-hearted friend.
Hereward Tilton (University of Exeter)
Wouter Hanegraaff (President of ESSWE)
[ link for ESSWE www.esswe.0rg/ ]
The link below is to Professor Goodrick-Clarke’s Exeter University page
Call for Papers:
University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Vol. 17 no 1: Literature and the Stars
We are inviting submissions for Vol. 17 no 1 (Spring/Summer 2013) on Literature and the Stars. Papers may focus on any time period or culture, and should deal either with representations of astronomy or astrology in fiction, or studies of astronomical or astrological texts as literature. Contributions may focus on western or non-western culture, and on the ancient, medieval or modern worlds.
Papers should be submitted by NOVEMBER 15, 2012. They should typically not exceed 8000 words length and should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Shorter submissions and research notes are welcome.
Contributors should follow the style guide at
Please include an abstract of c. 100-200 words.
All submissions will peer-reviewed for originality, timeliness, relevance, and readability. Authors will be notified as soon as possible of the acceptability of their submissions.
Culture and Cosmos is published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales, SA48 7ED, UK.
As from Vol. 17 no 1 Culture and Cosmos will be published open-access, on-line, in the interests of open scholarship. Hard copy will be available via print-on-demand.
Published in: Demons and Spirits in Egyptian Magic
Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BC
Academic Supervisor: Dr Kasia Szpakowska
Two fully-funded PhD studentships form part of a three-year research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust entitled Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BC.
Demons abound in the media today-from tales of possession to the labelling of political policies as demonic, to the channelling of spirits for healing.
Some of the most prevalent rituals in the ancient and modern world are those designed to target demons and those that call upon their superhuman power for benefit. But thus far, there has been no comprehensive systematic study of benevolent and malevolent demonic entities in Ancient Egypt. This project, Demonology 2K, applies Second Millennium AD technology to create a classification and ontology of those supernatural entities we will call demons, and the means used to harness their powers in Ancient Egypt during the Second Millennium BC. The approach combines archaeological, iconographic, and philological analysis of specific material, representational, and textual evidence. The research is data-driven, and includes the development of an interactive collaborative database and website.
This project illuminates the darker and more private side of Ancient Egyptian religion that impacted daily lives, driving individuals to perform rituals and to access divine beings, with or without priestly assistance.
The PhD studentships are available from 2 January 2013.
Applicants must have:
demonstrated Egyptological expertise
ability to work with both texts and artefacts familiarity with and desire to study Middle to New Kingdom religion reading knowledge of German and French Digital expertise will be integral to one of the studentships detailed below.
Please provide details in your statement of interest of experience of working with:
Web 2.0 (interactive websites, blogs, virtual spaces) multimedia
The PhD studentships differ in expertise as follows:
PhD 1 should have a particular interest in working with artefacts and have a solid archaeological background both in terms of theory and post-excavation analysis. The successful student/candidate will focus on the material evidence, in particular types identified as primary targets for the project: apotropaia, inscribed headrests, and figurines. The student should have demonstrated aptitude for working with excavation reports (recent and dated) as well as museum and collections searching; be familiar with materials and technology; have a background in the archaeology of religion; and a dedicated attention to detail.
PhD 2 must be fluent in reading Middle Egyptian and have a background in reading religious compositions (ideally Coffin Texts and magical papyri).
The successful student/candidate will be responsible for a relational examination of hostile and demonic entities encountered in the texts. The investigation must be contextual, and take into account associated imagery, findspots, the location of imagery and text in relation to each other and on each individual coffin, time period, and status, gender and identity of the owner. Because most of the Coffin Texts have different versions, the candidate must be skilled in reading the texts to spot differences and similarities. The student must also have a thorough rounding in Egyptian religion in general in order to be able to achieve a nuanced understanding of the texts, as well as being able to undertake literal translation.
Both Ph.D.’s are based in the Department of History and Classics, College of Arts and Humanities. The successful candidate will join a vigorous and friendly postgraduate community supported by theGraduate Centre for Arts and Humanities at Swansea University.
The Academic Supervisor will be Dr. Kasia Szpakowska, a specialist in Ancient Egyptian private religious practice and co-founder of the international Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project.
Applicants must have an MA or equivalent qualification, obtained or due to be obtained by October 2012, in any relevant discipline.
Preliminary application materials consist of:
1-2 page expression of interest (include why you are interested, a bit about your background and how you fulfil the brief) research proposal (no more than 1200 words or 5 pages) focussing on one of the areas (or both if you have no preference) referee information (names, contact details, and emails of 2 referees)
Both Ph.D.’s are based in the Department of History and Classics, College of Arts and Humanities. The successful candidate will join a vigorous and friendly postgraduate community supported by the Graduate Centre for Arts and Humanities at Swansea University. The Academic Supervisor will be Dr. Kasia Szpakowska, a specialist in Ancient Egyptian private religious practice and co-founder of the international Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project.
Applicants must have an MA or equivalent qualification, obtained or due to be obtained by October 2012, in any relevant discipline.
Preliminary application materials consist of:
1-2 page expression of interest (include why you are interested, a bit about your background and how you fulfil the brief) research proposal (no more than 1200 words or 5 pages) focussing on one of the areas (or both if you have no preference) referee information (names, contact details, and emails of 2 referees)
INFORM Seminar XLIX
CHANGING BELIEFS AND SCHISMS
IN NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building,
London School of Economics, Saturday 1 December 2012
To register: WE ARE NOW TAKING PAYPAL BOOKINGS: http://www.inform.ac/seminar-payment
Or post a booking form (attached) and a cheque payable to ‘Inform’ to Inform, Houghton St., London WC2A 2AE.
(Inform@lse.ac.uk; 020 7955 7677).
Tickets (including buffet lunch, coffee and tea) paid by 12 November 2012 cost £38 each (£18 students/unwaged).
NB. Tickets booked after 12 November 2012 will cost £48 each (£28 students/unwaged).
A limited number of seats will be made available to A-Level students at £10 before 12 November 2012 (£20 after 12 November). A party of 5 or more A-Level students from one school can include one member of staff at the same price.
The presence of speakers on an Inform programme does not mean that Inform endorses their position.
The aim of Inform Seminars is to help participants to understand, or at least recognise, different perspectives.
For Inform’s codes of practice see http://www.Inform.ac
9.30-9.50 Registration and coffee
9.50-10.00 Welcome and Introduction
10.00-10.25 Eileen Barker (Professor Emeritus, LSE; Chair & Honorary Director, Inform)
“Re-vision and Division in New Religions: Some Introductory Remarks”
10.25-10.50 Claire Borowik (Co-Director of the Worldwide Religious News Service, and member of The Family International)
“The Family International: Rebooting for the Future”
10.50-11.15 J. Gordon Melton (Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at Baylor University)
“When Science Intervenes—Revising Claims in the New Age”
11.45-12.10 Pat Ryan and Joe Kelly (International Cultic Studies Association; ex-members of TM and Society of Divine Love)
“Transcendental Meditation and Swami Prakashananda Saraswati”
12.10-12.35 Susan Palmer (Lecturer in Religious Studies, Dawson College / Concordia University)
“Dr. Malach Z. York’s Spiritual Divagations”
12.35-13.00 Masoud Banisadr (PhD in chemical engineering and engineering mathematics, and former member of MEK)
“The Metamorphism of MEK (Mujahedin e Khalgh) and its Schism”
14.00-14.25 James Tong (Professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles)
“The Re-Invented Wheel: Revisioning and Diversification in the Falun Gong, 1992-2012”
14.25-14.50 Mike Mickler (Professor of Church History, Unification Theological Seminary)
“The Post-Sun Myung Moon Unification Church”
14.50-15.15 Eugene Clay (Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Arizona State University)
“Mother of God Derjavnaja / The New Cathar Church”
15.45-16.10 Eugene Gallagher (Rosemary Park Professor of Religious Studies, Connecticut College)
“The Branch Davidians”
16.10-16.35 Massimo Introvigne (Lawyer and Managing Director of CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions), Turin
“Mormon Origins – Revisionism or Re-Interpretation?”
16.35-17.15 Panel Discussion
Call for papers Societas Magica sessions IMC Kalamazoo
Sat Jul 7, 2012 7:34 pm (PDT)
The Societas Magica invites abstracts for four sessions to be held at
the next International Congress on Medieval Studies Kalamazoo, MI, 9-13
May 2013. The four sponsored sessions are:
Session I – Astrology and Magic (co-sponsored with the Research Group on
Contact: Dr. David Porreca (University of Waterloo) email@example.com
Session II – Magic, Material Culture and Technology (co-sponsored with
the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)
Contact: László Sándor Chardonnens (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Session III – Water as Symbol, Sign and Trial: Aquatic Semantics in the
Middle Ages (co-sponsored with the Reseach Group on Manuscript Evidence)
Contact: Mihai-D. Grigore (University of Erfurt) firstname.lastname@example.org
Session IV – Magical Practices in Pre-Modern China
Contact: Dimitri Drettas (Collège de France) email@example.com
If you have material suitable to one of these topics, please send an
abstract (ca. 250 words) electronically to the contact person listed for
that session by 15 September 2012 along with the Participant Information
More detailed information about the sessions and a link to the
participant information form may be found at www.societasmagica.org
48TH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON MEDIEVAL STUDIES
CFP: Technical Communication in the Middle Ages
48th International Congress on Medieval Studies
May 9-12, 2013
Western Michigan University
Scholars have long recognized Chaucer’s “Treatise on the Astrolabe” as an early technical document, yet few similar medieval texts have been discussed as specimens of technical communication. This session seeks to consider the traditions and conventions of medieval technical communication, as well as the connections between medieval and contemporary technical writing.
Possible texts for consideration might include (but are not limited to)
penitential and conduct manuals,
scientific and pseudo-scientific manuals (including alchemical and astrological ones),
government and military documents.
Papers should consider the texts as technical communication, but may focus either on any aspect, including writing, layout, design, etc.
Please submit abstracts of about 300 words to
Wendy Hennequin: firstname.lastname@example.org
by September 15, 2012.
Call For Papers, Presentations, Workshops, Rituals and Performances
Mapping the Occult City: Exploring Magick and Esotericism in the Urban Utopia
A pre-conference for the Annual Meeting of the
American Academy of Religions in Chicago,
Friday November 16, 2012,
presented by Phoenix Rising Academy and DePaul University.
In his classic essay, “Walking in the City,” ethnologist and historian Michel de Certeau distinguished between the “exaltation of a scopic and gnostic drive” that comes from viewing the city from a high vantage point and the quotidian negotiations of the walker at street level, who creates his or her own map, takes shortcuts and resists the strategies of typical urban planning. One perspective is totalizing and distancing, constructing an illusory, unified view of the metropolis, while the other seeks out hidden avenues of knowledge and intersections of stories, myths, and happenings. The occultist tends to shift between both views, sometimes spinning grand narratives of the city as a New Atlantis, a utopian civilization of knowledge and wonder, other times imagining a secret world of dark mysteries, unknown to most passersby, that lay just beyond the twilight of the streetlamps. Many esotericists, conspiracy theorists, and urban fantasy authors have speculated on the occult meaning of symbols, monuments, and architecture in major cities, from Cleopatra’s Needle in London to the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. Or they see powerful sigils in the neon signs, building facades and billboards. Some speak of urban ley lines and “energy centers” that bubble with occult power ready to be tapped into by those with the right sense and ability. These energy centers are focused on geometric street patterns or the lines created by the placement of sacred sites in the city, such as churches, temples, and cemeteries. Others speak of haunted places, charged with story and legend, often full of the sense of violence, trauma and the urgency of events that occurred there.
Historically, cities have been home to countless esoteric groups who have met, planned, and conducted ritual within the towering buildings that glitter the metropolitan skyline. For instance, Chicago, the location of this year’s AAR conference, was once the home of the 32 floor Masonic Building, owned by the Illinois Freemasons, and the tallest building in the world in 1892. Prominent figures in the esoteric world have spoken, performed and offered their wisdom to the masses through the many salons, lectures, performances, congregations, conferences, and world’s fairs that have been either publicly advertised or available only to those with the right password and invitation.
Cities are where the ideas of Western esotericism spread to the masses through these public events and the many urban publishing houses. Cities are also home to public events and happenings that connect the esoteric, the theatrical and the political world through protest and public actions and happenings, such as the W.I.T.C.H. protests at Chicago’s Federal Building on Halloween 1969. Finally, cities are centers of diversity and diaspora and often become hothouses for the development of hybrid traditions based on immigrant cultures, such as Santeria and Vodun.
For scholars of magick and esotericism, cities like Chicago can offer up rich resources for tracking group activities and events through library archives and public records. Understanding occult life in the city, in both its historical and contemporary contexts, is crucial in mapping the proliferation of ideas and connections between practitioners and traditions. Popular practical texts have addressed how the practice of magick changes in an urban setting, especially when the magician or witch must adapt a nature-centered practice to a city-based practice. Investigating esoteric actions in the city can reveal the ways in which the practitioner is caught up and complicit with strategic structures of power while also offering possibilities for the occultist to resist those structures through the kind of tactical, magical moves described by de Certeau. As the Occupy movement and other political protests proliferate, especially in America’s election year, what are the possibilities for harnessing and directing the energy of the occult city?
Phoenix Rising Academy would like to explore these intersections of the esoteric and the urban, focusing on the city as a locus for power and knowledge, both hidden and revealed. Are cities oppressive entities that stifle creative and esoteric drives or do they hold in their structures the otential for powerful action? To this end, we invite scholars and practitioners to submit proposals for papers, presentations, rituals and performances that address these questions pertaining to the occult city. Though our focus is primarily on American cities, particularly Chicago, we welcome explorations in other prominent global metropolitan centers.
For this pre-conference, we plan on creating 2-3 panels of papers,
presentations, performances, rituals, workshops, roundtables, or
discussion groups. Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):
· The activities of certain groups, traditions, and communities, both historical and contemporary, in particular cities.
· The city life of prominent esoteric figures and how that city life shaped their ideas and practices.
· Particular events, meetings, lectures, performances, happenings, protests whose urban setting featured prominently in their execution and influence.
· The mythology of the occult city, based on legend, occult symbolism, and esoteric symbolism of architecture and urban planning.
· A practical approach to working magick and ritual in the city, perhaps based on Urban Shamanism or Chaos Magick.
· Interpretations of the city and its occult power by urban fantasy authors.
· The intersections of the occult and the political through the use of ritualized protest actions, focusing on setting and urban scene.
· Though not focusing on hauntings per se, an investigation of spiritualism, mysticism and psychic practices prominent in urban settings.
· A study of how hereditary or hybridized indigenous practices survive, evolve and adapt in an urban setting.
With your submission, please include the following:
Presenter information (name, mailing and email addresses, phone number)
Type of presentation (paper, non-paper presentation, workshop,
Note: if you are proposing a roundtable discussion, please submit info for all participants.
Title and affiliation (institution, organization, independent scholar,
Proposal or abstract (not to exceed 250 words). Should include title of presentation and a clear description of the presentation’s intent, plus
any audio/visual needs. Biographical data (not to exceed 200 words).
Contact and submissions:
Please email all submissions by August 20th to:
Dr. Jason L. Winslade
Please include “PRA Pre-Conference” in the subject line. All submissions
will be reviewed and you will be notified of a decision one week after
This two-day graduate conference will investigate the intersections between visual culture and the occult tradition, ranging from the material culture of ‘primitive’ animism, through medieval and Renaissance depictions of witchcraft and demonology, to the contemporary fascination with the supernatural in popular culture.
The conference aims to provide a stimulating arena for the presentation of innovative research in this field as well as to offer a vibrant and thought-provoking forum for scholarly discussion and exchange. We welcome papers from current and recent graduate students from all disciplines, provided their research engages with material, visual or symbolic aspects of magic and occultism.
Acceptable topics include, but are by no means limited to, the following areas:
* The sacred and the profane;
* The material culture of magic, ritual and sacrifice;
* Objects of totemic, apotropaeic or fetishistic character;
* Aspects of mysticism in Jewish, Christian and Islamic art and architecture;
* Satanism, witchcraft and demonology; * Sacred geometry, numerology and cosmology;
* The arcane sciences (including astrology, alchemy and the tarot game);
* Art-theoretical discussions of the spiritual, the sublime, the marvellous, the numinous and the uncanny;
* Artistic investigations of myth, fantasy and utopia;
* Visual aspects of occult movements such as Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Theosophy, Mesmerism, Spiritism and New Age Spirituality;
* The supernatural and the spiritual in modern and contemporary art; * Occultism and magic in contemporary popular culture.
N.B.: Presentations should not exceed a maximum of 20 minutes and will be followed by a 10-minute Q&A session. The sessions will be chaired by senior scholars within the University of Cambridge’s History of Art Department. We also hope to publish selected conference papers in a book of proceedings.
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to:
alongside a CV of 1-2 pages.
Deadline for submission is the 30th of September 2012.
All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and successful applicants will be notified about acceptance of their papers before the 15th of October 2012.
Early applications are strongly encouraged.
The Conference Committee
Josefine Baark, PhD Candidate, Homerton College Gabriel Byng, PhD Candidate, Clare College Imma Ramos, PhD Candidate, Pembroke College Daniel Zamani, PhD Candidate, Trinity College.
Day 1: Monday, 3 December 2012
09.30 – 10.00 Registration at
History of Art Department’s Graduate Centre on 4A Trumpington Street
10.00 – 10.05 Welcome address (Daniel Zamani & Dr Alexander Marr)
10.05 – 11.00 Keynote Lecture
Dr Urszula Szulakowska (University of Leeds)
The Sexualisation of the Virgin Mary: Hieratic Religious Art in an Alchemical Context
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break
11.30 – 1.00 Panel 1: The Christian Middle Ages Convenor: Dr Anna Gannon
Emily Goetsch (University of Edinburgh)
“Demonising the Other”: Spanish Apocalyptic Images of Evil as a Way of Promoting Christianity in Tenth-Century Beatus Manuscripts
Orsolya Mednyanzky (Tufts University, Medford)
Protecting the Sacred Script: A Cross in Glory in a Late Medieval Armenian Gospel Book
Monika Winiarczyk (University of Glasgow)
‘Homo Signorum’: Looking to God or Looking to the Stars? The Role of Astrology in Medieval Christianity
1.00 – 2.00 Lunch Break
2.00 – 3.30 Panel 2: Islam and Hinduism Convenor: Rachel Parikh
Anja R. Dreiser (University of Bamberg)
Magic Mirrors from the Islamic World
Alexandra Plesa (Leiden University)
Pots That Bless: Pious Inscriptions on Samanid Pottery in Dutch Collections
Shandra E. Lamaute (University of Edinburgh)
A Printed Islamic Amulet
Imma Ramos (University of Cambridge)
Impurity, Auspiciousness and Power: The Tantric Transformations of Lajja Gauri at Kamakhya
3.30 – 4.00 Coffee Break
4.00 – 5.00 Panel 3: Early Modern Europe I Convenor: Prof. Jean Michel Massing
Liliana Leopardi (Hobert and William Smith Colleges, NY)
Renaissance Magic Precious and Semi-Precious Stones: the Fetish as a
path to Pyschological Integrity
Nikola Piperkov (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Et procul in tenuem ex oculis euanuit auram: Natural Magic and Divine Word in Giambologna’s Statue of Mercury
Day 2: Tuesday, 4 December 2012
10.00 – 11.00 Panel 4: Early Modern Europe II Convenor: Dr Alexander Marr
Alexandra Marraccini (University of Chicago)
Open Secrets: Alchemical-Hermetic Iconography in the Ripley Scrolls
Marthe Kretzschmar (Technische Universitaet Hamburg)
Waxwork. Aby Warburg’s “Bildzauber” between materiality and resemblance
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee Break
11.30 – 1.00 Panel 5: Great Britain Convenor: Josefine Baark
Stephanie Churms (Aberystwyth University)
“Drawn by the Magician’s Wand”: The Occult Culture of Revolutionary Caricature
Lauren Greer (University of Saint-Thomas, MN)
Glamour: A Dissection of John Anster Fitzgerald’s Fairyland
Heather Carroll (University of Edinburgh)
‘Art not without ambition’: Lady Melbourne, the Duchess of Devonshire and Mrs. Damer as The Three Witches from Macbeth
1.00 – 2.00 Lunch Break
2.00 – 3.30 Panel 6: Surrealism Convenor: Dr Karolina Watras
Daniel Zamani (University of Cambridge)
Alchemy & Empowerment in Victor Brauner’s Appropriation of the Tarot Magician
Kristina Rapacki (Courtauld Institute, London)
Deicide, Regicide, Suicide: Bataille, Acephale and the Sovereign
Victoria Camblin (University of Cambridge)
Ritual and the Wagnerism of Acéphale (1936-1939)
3.30 – 4.00 Coffee Break
4.00 – 5.30 Panel 7: The 20 th Century Convenor: Elizabeth Upper
Adele Gardener (University of Bristol)
Art, Invocation and Alchemy: The Tarot Paintings of Lady Frieda Harris
Lisa Hanstein (Art-Historical Institute, Florence)
Unseen Spirits? Occult Aspects of Italian Futurist Art & Theory
Judith Noble (Arts University College, Bournemouth)
Ritual and Invocation: Occultism in the Films of Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger
5.30 – 5.35 Closing Remarks (Gabriel Byng)
5.35 – 7.00 Wine reception
Close of conference
Conference University of Aberdeen
14-16 June 2013
Conference organised by the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, and the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen; sponsored by the Folklore Society
This interdisciplinary conference welcomes participants from a range of academic disciplines including History, Folklore, Anthropology, Divinity and Sociology whose research interests cover a wide range of topics exploring varying methods used by different cultures (both now and in the past) to look into the future and the rationale for so doing. The future has always held a fascination for humankind especially in times of tribulation and this is worthy of academic discussion in light of the changes affecting so many of us in our current global context. The role in culture of seers and prophets, by whatever name they are known, and the use of rituals, drugs and sacred sites, etc. will be examined.
Abstracts of 300 words are invited on any of the following or related topics.
These should be submitted by 15 November 2012 to the conference convenor, Dr Alex Sutherland, History Department, University of Aberdeen;
Papers might address:
Astrology and its rationale(s) for predicting the future.
Biblical prophecy as depicted in the arts.
Divination in any form.
English attitudes to second sight.
How modern scientists have appropriated the persona of the prophet or visionary seer.
Landscape and prophecy in art.
Old Norse and later Scandinavian sources on prophecy.
Popular Catholic belief in prophecy before and after the Reformation.
Prophecy in Native American tribes.
Prophetic utterances by the courts, commoners, and the church.
Reading the future in the landscape of settlements.
Renaissance science and astrology.
Second sight and prophecy in Scottish Gaeldom.
Second sight and prophecy in the Viking world.
Second sight in Gaelic traditions as they survived and evolved in Nova Scotian communities.
Seers and seeresses in medieval Icelandic saga literature.
The early Islamic world & its connections with astrology.
The role of prophecies, visions and dreams in poetry and allegorical tales.
The role of prophecy in the origins of Islam, in the pre-Islamic Arabian environment
The use of sites, dreams and ancestors for prophecies by indigenous peoples.
Visual and verbal imagery of natural objects as coded language for the use of entheogens to attain divine / prophetic knowledge.
Welsh prophetic poetry.
When prophecy fails.
THE NEW AGE OF RUSSIA: OCCULT AND ESOTERIC DIMENSIONS
edited Birgit Menzel, Michael Hageneister and Bernice Glazzeer Rosenthatl
SLCCEE, Volume17, – Berlin,Verlag Otto Sagner 2011
Hardcover, 451 pages,
Select Bibliography Michael Hagemeister
This volume is divided into four sections:
Prerevolutionary Roots and Early Soviet Manifestations (five chapters)
Manifestations in the Soviet Period (1930 – 1985) (four chapters)
The Occult Revival in Late and Post Soviet Russia (1985 to the Present) (seven chapters)
Comparative Aspects, Continuity and Change (two chapters)
Birgit Menzel provides a comprehensive introduction. Especially useful in addition to her summaries of individual chapters are some of the reasons she gives why the borders between science, religion and the occult in Russia have differed from those in the West, along with other difficulties for researchers in these fields. Some, as may be imagined, are due to the search for scattered material, some arise from language and translation differences between scholars. Others which must pose considerable problems are due to differences in terminology:
The terms Occult and New Age have been rejected by most Russian members of, what I will call here the occult underground,(p 18).
Terms defined in Western scholarship need modification, or further explanation when applied to Russian material, (p 19).
Specialist and General Readers
My own reading of The New Age in Russia is from the perspectives of both the specialist and general reader. I fit into both categories, having some specialist knowledge of G. I. Gurdjieff and Fourth Way teachings, but little background in Russian studies.
Although primarily a book for the specialist reader in Russian 20th century studies in relation to occultism and esotericism, this collection of essays which examines the origins and influences that formed the kaleidoscope of changing networks of esoteric and occult teachings, their interaction with changing political establishments, together with the prevailing political and international geo-political conditions, will also be of value to the general reader.
There are two factors which, without in any way lessening the value of individual essays, may cause the non-specialist reader to take things slowly. The first is because the time indicated in the first three sections starts in the late eighteenth century and ends in ‘the present’, that is 2012, however; the essays could not be expected to form a sequential series. Most of the scholars need to establish what is happening before the period they focus on, and as the author of the introduction tells us some overlapping is inevitable. The effect of this on a reader who starts at the beginning and continues on sequentially is a kind of dizzy slippage as time seems to moves forwards, backwards and then forward once more. This displacement of the reader is intensified by the change in focus from essay to essay. Some offer a wide lens view of their subject matter whilst others present more of a close up.
The second factor is that much of the subject matter, the influence of esoteric and occult teachings, their sources and backgrounds, the lineages of esoteric and occult teachings together with their relation to cultural influence, political actions and reactions, occur throughout most of the essays, and some of the same people occur in one, two or more essays albeit from differing perspectives and emphasis. For example, my own area of interest as mentioned above, is in Gurdjieff studies and the accounts given here have usefully expanded and repositioned my own understanding, placing him and his ideas in a common context relating to life in Russia before the flight to Europe and America. But these references occur in a number of different essays. Although there are some useful pointers within essays to related chapters, an index would have helped me to navigate this and other subject matters.
New Age and New Identity
The overall impression given by these essays is that Russia was seeking a ‘New Age’ and a new identity for itself during the whole of the period covering at least the century from the 1880s to the 1980s, which saw almost continual turmoil, revolt, and repression manifesting in ways which often ran counter to uninformed Western assumptions. Russians faced a continuing need for redefinitions of interrelated forms of identity: at individual, local, national, and international levels, together with the simultaneous and contradictory need to preserve, hide or obliterate these identities. All of which makes for a tendency towards multiple, separate, blurred, ambiguous or contradictory personal and ideological identities in Russia.
For example Jeffrey Kripal in his On Reading Russian Mystical Literature Upside Down (pp 421 – 431) reminds us of:
‘the multiple censorship of the mystical,‘ [citing the] ‘almost total annihilation‘ of members of the secret society the United Workers’ Brotherhood shot during the Great Terror 1937 – 38, (p 427).
This might accord with stereotyped Western expectations. However: we learn from Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal that:
In the 1920s and early ’30s, the secret police worked with the occultist Barchenko [of the United Worker's Brotherhood] and the government funded Roerch’s search for Shamhala. In the 1960s and ’70s, the government denounced yoga as spiritual contraband, even while studying yogic breathing techniques, that could help astronauts, and it supported research on parapsychology, (Occultism as a Response to a Spiritual Crisis,p 400).
The activities of Barchenko and Roerich are each the subject of essays. Barchenko in Oleg Shishkin’s The Occultist Aleksandr Barchenko and the Soviet Secret Police (1923-1938)(pp 81-100), and Nicholas Roerich in Markus Osterrieder’sFrom Synarchy to Shambhala: The Role of Political Occultism and Social Messianism in the Activities of Nicholas Roerich(pp 101-134)
The illustrations are a welcome and instructive addition to the text. Two of the images in colour are Married by Satan (1917) p 47, and KonstantineTsiolkovskii. A Polish lacquer miniature, ca. (1980) p 150. Both suggest a close association between the erotic and the occult/esoteric.
The first, a poster for the film looks more like the sexual assault of a naked helpless woman by demons than a marriage, and appears in Julia Mannherz’s The Occult and Popular Entetainment in late Imperial Russia (pp 29-51). She explores ambivalent attitudes to the supernatural which nevertheless appeared as commercial attractions in newspapers.
Even instruction manuals and occult journals mirrored the same ambivalent attitudes … the boundaries were even more blurred in the circus arena, on stage or on the silver screen. In the performing arts, the rational and the mysterious merged within single productions, (p 38).
[Artist Kukulieva Kaleriya Vasillievna b 1937]
The portrait of Tsiolkovskii (1857-1935), regarded as the father of space travel, was made forty-five years after his death when ‘he had been made into a hero by Soviet propoganda‘. See see Michael Hagemeister’s essay Konstantine Tsiolkovskii and the Occult Roots of Soviet Space Travel (pp 135-150) which shows that Tsiolkovskii ‘s scientific resaerch into space travel was but a means to his esoteric ends which while they aimed for cosmic evolution leading to imortality demaded the horrifying notion of the destruction of all imperfect human beings, animals and most plants. Hagemeister writes that ‘The magical-esoteric understanding of science and technology is still prevalent in today’s Russia‘ p 148).
The image shows him sitting with his feet on plans for space rockets, behind him a table of scientific equiment, and behind that again a dark sky with a suggestion of constellations and of the zodiac. His male sexual power has been emphasised by the use of phalic imagery (the rocket, his leg, the drapery), which here unites his career in both rocket science and esotericism, although, as we learn from the essay referred above, he ‘condemned sexual reproduction as ‘humiliating‘, p 139).
Two black and white portraits emit extremes that express the times they belong in. The first on page 23 showing Gleb Ivanovich Bokii (1897-1937) in 1918, so thirty-nine or forty years old, looks more like a painting than a photograph and seen on the page it combines extreme contrasts between black and white to show the left side of the image with a dark face against a light halo shaped background and the right side of the face bright against a dark background, the ear seems to be pointed, the eyes glance upward showing white rims underneath in a way that, for those familiar with them, are remeniscent of images of Gurdjieff. This seems a staged image of occult/esoteric power but is of a member of the OGPU (the principal secret police agency responsible for the detection, arrest, and liquidation of anarchists [...] in the early Soviet Union, (see note below) who was nevertheless attracted by esotericim. This image suggests the crossover, and/or interconnections between notions of political and occult power .
The second striking image on p 178, is that of “Tosha” (Vladimir Shuktomv (1957-1987)), this is most probably a photograph which has a degenerating grainy surface quality that is also clearly of the time when dissidents transfered their allegence from political ideology to the rock music of Boris Brebenshikov and the couter-culture (see p 178).
I’ve given attention here to some of the illustrations because in my view though valuable additions, these are mostly underused and undervalued in academic texts.
Russian culture was influenced both by esotericism and occultism, and by politics throughout the periods examined in The New Age of Russia, and I have not attempted a summary of what are in effect a series of summaries of the complex inter-relation of these influences. In brief, areas looked at include medicine, academic institutions and classifications, science, space travel, interplanetary travel, utopia, technology, science fiction, novels, popular culture, theatre, cinema, Shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism, Neo-Hinduism, Eastern mysticism, Theosophy, parapsychology, and Transpersonal Psychology, amongst others.
Occult and New Age Movements in Russia from the 1960 s to the 1980s (pp151-185)
Birgit’ Menzel’s essay enables us to trace the complex paths taken from the first of these dates to the second, to acknowledge Russian connections with the East. and on the way to revise general Western assumptions about the New Age in Russia.
Although there were some similarities with the New Age in Western countries: an interest in changing states of consciousness, experimentation with psychedelic mushrooms, (Castaneda’s writings arrived in Russia) and a love of rock music, this overview shows that there were also major differences and that these are worth understanding. She writes that the state system supported research into the occult or paranormal which would not have been regarded as science in the West, that the Russian New Age was mostly a province of the predominantly male intelligentsia, while in the West it was transmitted via popular culture. Western interest in sexuality and in perfecting the body, via diet, yoga, homoeopathy, and sexual expression. did not occur in Russia where the occult underground was more cerebral, with a stronger emphasis on theory than practice, ‘the ultimate goal was ridding oneself of the body rather than unifying, body mind and soul‘ ( p 185).
Comparative Aspects, Continuity and Change.
In the first essay of the fourth section of the book Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal writes about Occultism as a Response to a Spiritual Crisis, (pp 391-420), covering a series of spiritual crises causes by the loss of faith in specific ‘myths’, or ‘all encompassing ideas’ to live by during the period from prerevoutionary and early Soviet Russia, through to Late and Post-Soviet Russia. When agrarian socialism, Marxism, Symbolism, and Futurism each failed in turn interest in occultism surged, in Theosophy and Theosophically influenced teachers amongst others.
The United States has seen a similar series of crises aroused by ‘the fading appeal of the American civil religion, also known as the American Dream’ p 403). War, fears of nuclear war, the revelation of Nazi death camps, and a recognition of social injustice induced a refusal to accept the restrictions of prevailing cultural norms and were some of the factors that contributed to the counter-culture of ‘hippies’ and ‘beats’. This became an unprecedented surge in occultism from the 1960s to the present. She concludes that the uncertainties current in Russia and the USA that are likely to encourage a continued interest in occultism
In the second essay of this section Jeffrey J. Kripal’s On Reading Russian Mystical Literature Upside Down (pp 421 – 431), observes the globalisation of esoteric movements which unlike religions are usually ‘very bad at maintaining stable communities, p 421). He wonders if:
a mystical event may not only be culturally or politically dissident: it may also be cognitively and epistemologically dissonant, (p 424).
and raises a number of issues that face the scholar of esotericism. These include the ‘censoring and suppressing ideologies of the modern-day academy, p 425), and he goes on to write that in this volume only Natalia Zhukovskaia in her Shamanism in the Russian Intelligentsia (Post Soviet Space and Time) (pp 328-3470, has been willing to recount her first hand experience as researcher-scholar, and in doing so shows the reader:
Russian anthropologists and intellectuals taking on the practices and roles of the shaman themselves, in essence, going native, (p 430 431) emphasis added.
Kripal’s use of the poetic and archaic phrase, ‘going native’ is a telling one. With it he refers to notions of an abandonment of ‘civilised values’, a descent into an irrational and inferior way of life. These are familiar nineteenth, if not eighteenth century attitudes, all of which we must assume are not his own attitudes but those of the ‘suppressing ideologies of the modern-day academy‘ (p 431 ).
These are almost the final words in The New Age of Russia, and bring this intricate and detailed overview of a century and more of academic study firmly into one of the major contemporary academic debates.
Acknowledgements and thanks are due to the editors who brought this valuable contribution to esoteric and occult studies to publication. It offers evidence of the human refusal to obey or stay within defined boundaries, while simultaneously longing for security. In Russia during the 20th century these conflicting desires were expressed by politically repressive boundries, serially accompanied by a refusal to accept or to be bound by fixed, enprisoning ideologies. The two unbounded areas that continued to defy definition and which remained open for exploration during the whole century were those of the inner life, and outer space.
This photograph of Gleb Ivanovich Bokii (1897-1937) found in Google images, is clearly the source for the image described above.
As a post script to the above here are a couple of definitions of terms and initials used in the text which may be of use to fellow non-Russianists, (retreived from Wikipedia (5.6.2012).
Samizdat(Russian: самизда́т; IPA: ) was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader.
refers to literature published abroad (там, tam, “there”), often from smuggled manuscripts.
The OGPU (1922-1934) was responsible for the creation of the Gulag system. It also became the Soviet government’s arm for the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Catholics, the Latin Catholics, Islam and other religious organisations [...] The OGPU was also the principal secret police agency responsible for the detection, arrest, and liquidation of anarchists and other dissident left-wing factions in the early Soviet Union.
NKVD stands for The People’s Commissariatfor Internal Affairs, Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del), abbreviated NKVD (1934 – 1954).
from the entry for State Political Directorate Wikipedia retrieved 29.5. 2012
Demons and Illness: Theory and Practice from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period
Call for Papers
Centre for Medical History: University of Exeter
22 – 24th April 2013
In many near eastern traditions, demons appear as a cause of illness: most famously in the stories of possessed people cured by Christ. These traditions influenced perceptions of illness in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in later centuries but the ways in which these cultures viewed demons and illness have received comparatively little attention. For example, who were these demons? How did they cause illness? Why did they want to? How did demons fit into other explanations for illness? How could demonic illnesses be cured and how did this relate to other kinds of cure? How far did medical or philosophical theory affect how people responded to demonic illnesses in practice?
This conference will take a comparative approach, taking a wide geographical and chronological sweep but confining itself to this relatively specific set of questions. Because Jewish, Christian and Islamic ideas about demons and illness drew on a similar heritage of ancient religious texts from New Testament times to the early modern period there is real scope to draw meaningful comparisons between the different periods and cultures. What were the common assumptions made by different societies? When and why did they differ? What was the relationship between theory and practice? We would welcome papers which address these issues for any period between antiquity and the early modern period, and which discuss Christian, Jewish or Islamic traditions.
The conference is hosted by the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter, on April 22nd-24th, 2013.
Please send abstracts by 15th September 2012 to the conference organizers,
Catherine Rider and Siam Bhayro, Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter:
email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNIVERSITY OF WALES TRINITY SAINT DAVID
SCHOOL OF ARCHAEOLOGY, HISTORY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
THE SOPHIA CENTRE
ASTROLOGY IN TIME AND PLACE
Saturday 23-Sunday 24 June 2012
Bath Royal Literary and ScientificInstitute, 16-19 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN
PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
SATURDAY 24 JUNE
8.30 Registration and Refreshments
9.30 Bernadette Brady (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)
Aristotle’s idea of ‘place’ within contemporary astrology.
10.00 Gustav-Adolf Schoener (Leibniz University ofHanover)
The Difference between Methods of Natural Sciences and Methods of Religious Studies on Modern Astrology.
10.30 Johann Hasler (Departamento deMúsica, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia)
The sounding zodiacs in Westernmusical theory: an overview of proposals for musical interpretation ofastrological data from Ptolemy to the late 20th century.
11.00 TEA AND COFFEE
11.30 Charles Burnett
(Professor of the History of Islamic Influences at the Warburg Institute of the University of London)
Johannes Borotin as student and teacher of the science of the stars in fifteenth-century Prague.
12.30 LUNCH (OWN ARRANGEMENTS)
2.00 David Pankenier (Department of Modern Languages & Literature,Lehigh University)
On Chinese Astrology’s Impermeability to Western Influences.
3.00 Kristina Buhrman (University of Southern California)
Ptolemy and Sima Qian in 11thCentury Japan:Combining Disparate Astrologies in Practice.
3.30 TEA AND COFFEE
4.00 Ulla Koch (Carsten NiebuhrInstitute, University of Copenhagen)
The Meaning of Time: Calendar Divination.
4.30 Michael Grofe (Maya Exploration Centre)
Eternity in an Hour: the astronomical symbolism of the Era as the Maya agricultural year.
5.00 Christel Mattheeuws (Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen)
The Journey of Calendars, Wind and Life in the Indian Ocean.
SUNDAY 25 JUNE
9.30 Micah Ross and DorianGieseler Greenbaum (Kyōto Sangyō University; University of WalesTrinity Saint David)
Various renderings of pinaxin Greek and Demotic in the Medînet Mâdi ostraca.
10.00 Helen R. Jacobus (University College London)
The Zodiac Calendar in the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q318) in relation to Babylonian Horoscopes.
10.30 David W. Kim (University of Edinburgh)
A Sethian Iconography: The Astrology of Tchacos Judas.
11.00 TEA AND COFFEE
11.30 Micah Ross (Kyōto Sangyō University)
A Study in the Early Iconography of Gemini.
12.00 Matthew Kosuta (College of Religious Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand)
The relationship between Theravada Buddhism and astrology with an emphasis on the modern period and Thailand.
2.00 Mario Friscia (University of LaSapienza, Rome)
Astrology and its ritual applications:Propitiation of the planet Saturn within the Sun temple at Suriyanar Koyil (Tamil Nadu, India). A case-study from contemporary Tamil Shaivism.
2.30 Audrius Benorius (Director of the Center of Oriental Studies,Vilnius University, Lithuania)
Transformations of theSocial and Religious Status of the Indian Astrologer at the Royal Court.
3.00 Michael York (Former Professor of Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, Bath Spa University)
Religion versus Science: Science versus Religion:Whither Astrology: Whithersoever?
Depiction of a fetish in South Africa by the London Missionary Society, circa 1900. [Wikipedia]
8-9 June 2012
University of Glamorgan, UK
The Conference will be hosted by the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff Campus
Please contact Lucinda Matthews-Jones [email@example.com] or Tim Jones [firstname.lastname@example.org] to book.
Material Religion in Modern Britain and its Worlds
This two-day symposium will explore material cultures of religious belief and faith in modern Britain. As Birgit Meyer, David Morgan, Crispin Paine and S. Brent Plate have recently pointed out, studying material objects provides us with an alternative evidence base in the study of modern religious belief (Birgit Meyer et al; 2011). Yet few attempts have yet been made to do so. While many scholars now concede that Britain’s religious landscape is more varied and rich than the narrative of secularisation allows, a tendency remains in the historiography of religion to privilege written sources over material manifestations of religion. This means that all sorts of belief practices have been overlooked. Analysing the material past, we propose, will provide scholars with new and exciting ways of understanding the apparently fraught relationship between modernity and religion.
As Jane Bennett points out, objects are culture constructions and lead active lives in our social and cultural landscape. Religious historians have too often been guilty of adopting an implicitly Protestant binary (set up in opposition to Catholicism) in which words are privileged over objects. Yet everyday cultures of Protestant belief in Britain relied on all kinds of material cultures which sustained religion in an age of uncertainty.
Despite Britain’s ‘official’ Protestant past, we are nonetheless keen to encourage papers which explore religious denominations or groups beyond the official canon and which made up Britain’s multi-faith landscape in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Papers are welcome which consider either formal or informal aspects of religious materiality. We would especially like to encourage papers that consider ‘Britain’s worlds’, including investigations of religious objects in the Empire or commonwealth or geographical locations inhabited by British people.
Steam Engine, University of Glamorgan
UK’s Science and Religion Forum: 2012 Conference: ‘The soul – can the concept of the soul still have meaning?’
Regent’s Park College, Oxford
from late afternoon on Thursday 6 September to lunchtime on Saturday 8 September 2012.
The programme will follow the usual pattern and includes the Annual Gowland Lecture, a number of plenary lectures on the conference theme, and a short-paper session of 15-minute presentations by Forum members. The programme will also include a conference dinner, and there will be an early morning service of worship for those who are interested. The Forum’s AGM will take place during the Conference.
The conference fees (for full board) will be as follows:
SRF members £230
Bursaries will be offered for those who have been members of the Forum for at least six months and have no financial assistance from employers or sponsors (bursaries will probably be worth £60 which would reduce the fee to £170.
Further details: http://www.srforum.org/
Revd Dr Arthur Peacocke
The Peacocke Student Essay Prize
In memory of its founding President and former Chairman, the Revd Dr Arthur Peacocke, the Science and Religion Forum offers a prize for an essay directly relevant to the theme of its annual conference.
Congratulations to George H. Medley III, winner of the 2011 Peacocke Prize.
The competition is open to all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and the closing date is July 31st 2012.
Details of 2012 prize to follow soon at UK’s Science and Religion Forum http://www.srforum.org/
The Lady of Shalott 1888: John William Waterhouse 1849-1917
OCTOBER 14-17, 2012 – VENTURA, CALIFORNIA
A CONFERENCE FOR ACADEMICS AND PROFESSIONALS
There has been a neglect of critical appreciation of representational art well out of proportion to its quality and significance; it is that neglect that this conference seeks to address. By its nature, 21st century representational art is not to be thought of as simply a return to 19th century realism, but as an open-ended exploration of possible new directions. The conference is planned as a focused but non-doctrinaire event, of serious academic standards. What is the role of representational art in the twenty-first century? What are its sources and directions? How might it shape the art world?
TRAC2012 keynote speakers are: Jed Perl and John Nava.
CALL FOR PAPERS
CLU invites artists, critics and academics to join us to celebrate and explore the direction of representational art in the 21st century. We are particularly interested in papers that explore the positive possibilities of representational art. We encourage inclusivity and diverse perspectives. We welcome papers that explore a variety of topics, including the following:
Meaning in 21st Century Representational art
Representation and imagination
The roots of the 21st century representational art movement
Approaches to beauty in contemporary representation
Politics, artists and collectors
Understanding emotional responses to representational art
Breaking the boundaries of style
Gender and sexuality in 21st Century representational art
The place of representational art in a postmodern world
Tradition and revolution – the avant garde atelier
Representational art and new technology
Papers investigating the role of esotericism in representational art of the present and in its roots.
The influence of tarot and alchemical imagery in particular
Paper presentations are limited to forty-five minutes, with ten minutes for questions and answers.
First consideration will be given to abstracts received before May 21st, 2012.
TRAC2012 includes keynote speakers and panel discussions about the major issues, foundation narratives, and philosophical underpinning of representational art in the 21st Century. Studio demonstrations of painting, drawing, sculpture and mosaic techniques will also be presented.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
Academic Studio Artists
Professional Studio Artists
image from ryanwhitchurch.wordpress.com
Friday, February 15, 2013
at San José State University
(semi-concurrent with PantheaCon, February 15-18, 2013, DoubleTree Hotel, San Jose, CA)
Sponsored by San José State University, Humanities Dept., Comparative Religious Studies Program
Organizers: Lee Gilmore (SJSU) & Amy Hale (St. Petersburg College)
Contemporary Paganism, in all its varieties, stands at a unique cultural and religious intersection that can provide insights for a wide range of global, social, and political subjects, beyond its own inward facing concerns. For this symposium, we are calling for scholarly submissions that focus on Paganism’s contributions to and engagements with broader cultural and religious dialogues in an increasingly pluralist world. These could include, but are not limited to, explorations of Paganisms’ endeavors in community, economic, media, health, legal, social justice, and institutional development work, as well as activist, applied, interdisciplinary, and interfaith work.
More generally, all submissions that critically examine Paganism(s) in relationship to categories such as religion, culture, gender, identity, authenticity, power, and ritual–among other possible frameworks–are welcome. In addition, all papers presented at the symposium will be considered for publication in a special issue of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies.
All proposals & queries should be sent to:
Deadline: September 15, 2012
More info (including submission requirements & a pdf of this call):
eSharp, an established peer-reviewed journal publishing high-quality research by postgraduate students invites papers for the forthcoming themed issue. For Issue 19, Reality/Illusion, we invite articles which consider the differences between fact and fiction, truth and perception, or simulation and the real world from the realms of the social sciences, education, and the arts and humanities. We encourage submissions from postgraduate students at any stage of their research.
Ideas of Reality and Illusion are at the forefront of so much of our society and culture, even when we don’t really think about them. From increasingly immersive computer simulations to the rise of dramatized Reality TV Shows, the line between what is real and what only appears to be so has become progressively blurred in recent years. In light of this, it is essential for academia to seek to understand the use and abuse of something so fundamental as the perception and understanding of the world. Whether this analysis occurs within a single field or engages in an interdisciplinary study, there is plenty of opportunity to initiate wide-reaching lines of research.
Subjects may include, but are not limited to:
• Representation and ideology
• Mystic Visions in Hagiography
• Perceptions of reality
• Magic Realism
• Measuring reality/measuring illusion
• Illusory texts and/or contexts
• The Reality of the “Occupy” worldview
• Truthfulness and actuality
• The Anthropology of Magic and Illusion
• Visual aspects of reality and/or illusion
• The use of Alternate Reality Games in viral marketing
Submissions to eSharp must be based on original research and should be between 4,000 and 6,000 words in length. These should be made in Word document or RTF format. Please ensure that you accompany your article with an abstract of 200 to 250 words and a list of three to five keywords to indicate the subject area of your article. A full list of guidelines and our style sheet is available here.
Submissions and enquiries should be sent to email@example.com.
The deadline for submission of articles is Friday 29 June 2012
Glasgow University in 1650
eSharp is an international online journal for postgraduate research in the arts, humanities, social sciences and education. Based at the University of Glasgow and run entirely by graduate students, it aims to provide a critical but supportive entry into the realm of academic publishing for emerging academics, including postgraduates and recent postdoctoral students.
One of our aims is to encourage the publication of high quality postgraduate research; therefore all submitted articles are anonymously double-blind peer reviewed as part of the acceptance and feedback process. This rigorous and constructive process is designed to enhance the worth of postgraduate and postdoctoral work. eSharp also engages in training postgraduate students in the various tasks that running an academic journal requires. Enhancing both employability and the graduate experience is a key aspect of its aims and objectives.
“Gods are real.
And these gods are everywhere, in all aspects of
existence, all aspects of human life.”
- James Hillman
Call for Submissions
Minneapolis writer is compiling an anthology of modern, polytheistic experiences, tentatively titled Return of the Gods: The Varieties of Polytheistic Experience.
Seeking thoughtful, original, and previously unpublished non-fiction essays recounting first-hand encounters with Gods, ancestors, spirits, disembodied intelligences, and sacred presences in nature.
You may hail from a Hindu tradition, an indigenous tradition, a Pagan tradition, an African-based tradition, another tradition, or no tradition at all.
Electronic submissions only. Please submit only final, proofread copy, double-spaced, maximum 5,000 words. Please send your story as an MS Word attachment to williammcgillis [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject line: Return of the Gods. Please refrain from submitting if you are not open to edits.
Please ensure that your story file includes your (less than 75 word) bio along with contact details, including postal address and email address.
Compensation: All selected contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the book upon publication.
Deadline for submissions: June 21, 2012
Image, place, source: unknown
Image from Reflections: Sixties Counterculture in Cambridge. Filmmaker: Kameron Stroud, Alexandros Papathanasiou
The Counterculture Research Group is an interdisciplinary series of seminars, lectures and associated events that focuses the multiple artistic, historical and social manifestations of the countercultural impetus.
for more information please contact:
Yvonne Salmon FRSA firstname.lastname@example.org
LENT TERM 2012
5 pm - 17TH FEBRUARY, GATSBY ROOM, WOLFSON COLLEGE
Josie Gill (University of Cambridge)
Francis Crick, Race, and The Poetry of Richard Nixon
Francis Crick 1954
Amongst the hundreds of files which make up the Francis Crick archive is a file dedicated to Crick’s correspondence with Arthur Jensen, an American educational psychologist whose work focuses on proving a link between race and intelligence. The letters, which date from the early 1970s, provide an insight into Crick’s views on this controversial topic, and his role in galvanising support for a statement on academic freedom in the face of calls for the study of racial differences to be halted. However the file also contains two literary documents; a photocopy of The Poetry of Richard Nixon, a satirical collection of found poetry based on the Watergate tapes, and an essay on feminism by the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. What do these documents tell us about Crick’s thinking about race and why are they included in a file of his professional correspondence on the matter? In this paper I will suggest that the poems and essay reflect Crick’s ambivalent relationship to the political culture of the early 1970s which his participation in the debate over race exposes. Crick felt threatened by the questioning of traditional sources of authority such as science, yet embraced the more liberal movements of the time through an interest in beat poetry and drugs. Examining the authorship, production and content of the texts reveals a complex web of connections between Crick and the politically conservative, as well as countercultural, figures of the period, providing an alternative view of the relationship between literature and science in the second half of the twentieth century.
Josie Gill is a PhD student in the Faculty of English. Her thesis is on race, genetics and contemporary British fiction.
5 pm - 15TH MARCH, SEMINAR ROOM, WOLFSON COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
James Purdon (University of Cambridge)
‘A Nation-Wide Intelligence Service’: Mass-Observation, Hermeneutic Paranoia and the Invasion of Cambridge
Mass -observation (1943)
In the summer of 1940, a loose-knit coterie of Cambridge fellows submitted a file to Mass-Observation, the well-known social research organisation which since the spring of that year had been preparing reports for the Ministry of Information. The file consisted of a spectacularly paranoid collection of readings of graffiti, chalk-marks and ‘litter trails’ in the Cambridge countryside, pointing, it was suggested, to German invasion targets. Taking the Cambridge invasion file as a starting point, this paper explores English paranoia at the beginning of the Second World War, beginning with a survey of public reactions to Mass-Observation before and after its annexation by the wartime government, and moving on to consider literary responses both to the information-gathering methods of Mass-Observation itself, and to the wider wartime matters of surveillance and information restriction.
James Purdon is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on British writing from Joseph Conrad to Elizabeth Bowen and the rise of the information society.
For further information contact:
Yvonne Salmon FRSA email@example.com
JOURNAL OF THE WESTERN MYSTERY TRADITION
July 14-15, Milwaukee, WI
Call for Abstracts:
Since 2001, the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition (JWMT) has worked to publish diverse perspectives on the occultisms, magical practices, mysticisms and esotericisms commonly known as the “Western Mystery Tradition.” The JWMT is expanding the work of the web journal through its first conference.
The JWMT conference is a two-day event open to scholars, students, practitioners, and the public. The keynote speaker is the Journal’s founder and publisher, Dr. Jeffrey S. Kupperman.
The study of western esoteric practices has risen greatly over the last decade, focusing on Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Modern magical practices and beliefs, outside of the realm of modern Paganisms and the New Age, have received little attention. Further, practitioners have had little opportunity to present their work, either as papers or in the form of ritual practice, outside of the internet or small groups. The focus of this conference is the movement of contemporary western esotericisms, loosely construed as the “western mysteries,” and their transition from the 20th to the 21st century. The Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition Conference 2012 is seeking abstracts for presentations, panels and practices centered on this broad subject.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Esoteric traditions such as Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Martinism and chivalric organizations,
Ritual magical practices from organizations such as the Golden Dawn and the Aurum Solis and modern initiatory Paganisms,
Esotericisms from earlier periods, such as alchemy, Gnosticism and Neoplatonism, the magical work of John Dee or the medieval grimoire traditions, and their re-emergence and relevancy to modern praxes,
Theoretical, paedogogical, and methodological approaches to the study of the western mysteries,
The relation of the esotericisms to orthodox and mainstream practices and society at large.
We welcome presentations, panels and practices focusing on methodological and theoretical issues in relation to the contemporary study and practice of the various western esoteric currents. The conference encourages an interdisciplinary approach and welcomes perspectives from the disciplines of religious studies, theology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, history, political science, as well as active practitioners. Papers should last 20 minutes, with time for questions and answers. Panels and practices will be scheduled for up to an hour, with time for questions and answers afterwards as necessary.
Please submit abstracts (approx. 200 words), proposals for a themed panel (with three presenters, moderator as necessary, and short description) or proposals for a ritual practice and discussion to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for submissions is April 15, 2012.
No attachments please; copy and paste your abstract or proposal in plain text into the body of the e-mail. Submissions are not limited to academics or professional scholars. Include a brief (no more than one page) CV listing any qualifications, academic or otherwise, relevant to your proposal.
The conference will be held at the Best Western Plus Milwaukee Airport Hotel and Conference Center.
More information on the conference, registration, fees, accommodation, etc. is available at
THE PROMETHEUS TRUST CONFERENCE 2012
Friday, 29 June to Sunday, 1 July
Ivy House, Warminster, Wiltshire, UK
Logos, Mythos, Sophos: Reason and Myth in the Search for Wisdom
The Platonic tradition has always embraced both reason and myth in its cultivation of wisdom – but what is their relationship? Are they in opposition or complementary? How should we understand Socrates’ views on Homer and his fellow poets as stated in the second and third books of the Republic, and Proclus’ response in his Scholia on that dialogue? As philosophers within our own time and culture, are we still able to balance the two approaches and take from each the insights available to those of ancient times? What kinds of reasoning and what kinds of myths contribute to our own cultivation of wisdom?
Papers are invited from those interested in these areas for presentation at the seventh Prometheus Trust conference. We hope that the subject will attract speakers from both academic and non-academic backgrounds who share a common love of wisdom.
Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should be with us at the latest by Friday, 30 March 2012. Acceptance of these will be confirmed as quickly as possible.
Papers should be around 2500-3000 words or 20 minutes’ presentation (we usually allow a further 20 minutes for a question and answer session after each presentation).
Bookings should be received by us not later than Monday, 30 April 2012.
We are delighted that Professor John F Finamore has agreed to be our keynote speaker. John is a professor of Classics at The University of Iowa, where he has taught since 1983 and was chair from 2002-2007. He teaches courses in Greek and Roman Philosophy, Word Power, Greek, and Latin.
Professor Finamore is the author of Iamblichus and the Theory of the Vehicle of the Soul (1985), Iamblichus’ De Anima: Text, Translation, and Commentary (with J.M. Dillon, 2002) and co-editor (with R. Berchman) of both Plato Redivivus: History of Platonism (New Orleans, 2005) and Metaphysical Patterns in Platonism: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern Times (New Orleans, 2007), and he has written numerous articles on philosophy and literature.
He is editor of The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition and president of the U.S. section of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. His research interests include ancient philosophy, the Platonic Tradition, and Latin poetry. Professor Finamore holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, an M.A. in Philosophy from Tufts, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from Rutgers.
The conference will take place at Ivy House, a retreat centre in Warminster, which is comfortable and well appointed. Residential prices are for full board for the weekend (from Friday supper to Sunday tea) and are £130 (£95 for students). Students are requested to share a bedroom if there are no single rooms available when they book. Please contact the Treasurer if you cannot afford these fees as it may be possible to offer you a bursary.
For those who wish to attend the conference but who do not wish to stay or eat at Ivy House, there are inexpensive residential pubs in Warminster and several take-aways/cafes/restaurants. It would be your responsibility to arrange accommodation and food; attendance at Ivy House on a non-residential basis costs £20 per day (to include refreshments and lunch) plus the conference fee. We can forward a list of local accommodation.
Conference fee: This charge is £40 and is payable with your booking. It is non-refundable in the event of cancellation.
Accommodation fees are payable by end of May. Ivy House has its own cancellation policy – details if required from the Conference Secretary.
Booking forms are available from the Conference Secretary at the above address, phone or email. Completed forms with your deposit of £40 should be returned by MONDAY, 30 APRIL at the very latest.
Travel: Warminster is on the main train line from South Wales and the South Coast and is easily reached from London via Bath or Salisbury. Buses run from Bath, Bristol and Salisbury and coaches from London.
Contact the conference secretary for further information.
Averil Addey, The Prometheus Trust, Eastview Cottage,
28 Petticoat Lane,
Westbury, Wilts, BA13 4DG, UK.
01373 825808 (or, from outside the UK 0044 1373 825808) for full details
Trustees: Mr T J Addey (Chairman), Mr S Wade, LLB (Secretary), Mrs BAF Addey (Treasurer), Dr Crystal Addey, Mr Jeremy A Best,Ms M Lyn, and Ms A V Wallace
Patrons: Mr D C Skilling and Mrs M A Skilling
A medieval deer park was an enclosed area containing deer.
Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies Special Call For Papers for Issue on Medieval Space and Place
SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR VOLUME 7, Issue 1: 1 March 2012
Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies is a refereed journal devoted to the literature, history, and culture of the medieval world. Published electronically twice a year, its mission is to present a forum in which graduate students from around the globe may share their ideas. Article submissions on the selected theme are welcome in any discipline and period of Medieval Studies. We are also interested in book reviews on recent works of interest to a broad audience of Medieval Studies scholars. Recently, place and space theories have manifested themselves in Medieval Studies in a number of ways, from analysis of specific spaces and places, such as gardens, forests, cities, and the court, to spatially theorized topics such as travel narratives, nationalism, and the open- or closedness of specific medieval cultural areas. Over an array of subjects, the spatial turn challenges scholars to re-think how humans create the world around them, through both physical and mental processes. Articles should explore the meaning of space/place in the past by situating it in its precise historical context.
Possible article topics include, but are not limited to:
Medieval representations of spatial order
The sense of place in the construction of social identities
Mapping and spatial imagination
Topographies of meaningful places
Beyond the binary of center/periphery
Spatial policies of separation: ethnicity, religion, or gender
Travel and the sense of place
The idea of place in medieval religious culture
Intimate space, public place
Liminality and proximity as social categories
The 2011 issue of Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies will be published in May of 2012.
All graduate students are welcome to submit their articles and book reviews, or to send their queries, via email to:
email@example.com by March 1, 2012.
For further information please visit our website at www.hortulus.net
Hortulus: The Online Graduate Journal of Medieval Studies, www.hortulus.net
Esotericism and the Academy
Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture
Wouter J. Hanegraaff, University of Amsterdam
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:January 2012
Dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
Academics tend to look on ‘esoteric’, ‘occult’ or ‘magical’ beliefs with contempt, but are usually ignorant about the religious and philosophical traditions to which these terms refer, or their relevance to intellectual history. Wouter Hanegraaff tells the neglected story of how intellectuals since the Renaissance have tried to come to terms with a cluster of ‘pagan’ ideas from late antiquity that challenged the foundations of biblical religion and Greek rationality. Expelled from the academy on the basis of Protestant and Enlightenment polemics, these traditions have come to be perceived as the Other by which academics define their identity to the present day. Hanegraaff grounds his discussion in a meticulous study of primary and secondary sources, taking the reader on an exciting intellectual voyage from the fifteenth century to the present day and asking what implications the forgotten history of exclusion has for established textbook narratives of religion, philosophy and science.
Table of Contents
Introduction: hic sunt dracones
1. The history of truth: recovering ancient wisdom
2. The history of error: exorcizing Paganism
3. The error of history: imagining the Occult
4. The truth of history: entering the Academy
Conclusions: restoring memory.
• The argument is presented as a historical narrative, taking the reader on an intellectual voyage from the early Renaissance to the present day
• Discusses currents of thought which have played an important role in intellectual history, but have never before been sufficiently identified
• Demonstrates patterns of intellectual prejudice that have distorted views of the history of religion, philosophy and science
Wouter Jacobus Hanegraaff (born 1961) is full professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is also President of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE).
(Above info thanks to Wikipedia Hanegraaff page)
NATURE & THE POPULAR IMAGINATION: International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture
Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
Nature & the Popular Imagination’
The Fifth International Conference of the
International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture
8-11 August 2012, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California (USA)
pleased to announce its next conference in Malibu, California at Pepperdine University in August 2012. The conference theme will be “Nature and the Popular Imagination.”
Malibu is located on the Pacific Ocean, just minutes from Hollywood, that archetypal place of imagination and dreams, the backyard and playground for practitioners of the cinematic arts. For generations, the interconnections between religion and nature have been expressed, promoted, and contested through the incubator of popular culture, and sometimes even in films produced in Malibu itself or the Santa Monica Mountains above it. As a global, symbolic center, both reflecting and inventing nature/religion representations, Malibu and its environs provide an ideal venue for critical reflection on the religion/nature nexus in the popular imagination.
The ISSRNC cordially invites creative proposals including but not limited to papers, panels, film screenings, and forums with “cultural creatives” from this region and beyond, to illuminate the conference theme.
Specific proposals, for example, might explore:
• Apocalypticism (Abrahamic, Mayan, Scientific, etc.).
• Documentary film: nature faking and realism
• Theatrical film and nature spiritualities
• Nature in cartoons and animated films
• Malibu (and/or California) as sacred, imperiled, and desecrated places.
• The spiritualities of celebrities, including as animal and/or environmental activists
As always, while we encourage proposals focused on the conference’s theme, we welcome proposals from all areas (regional and historical) and from all disciplinary perspectives that explore the complex relationships between religious beliefs and practices (however defined and understood), cultural traditions and productions, and the earth’s diverse ecological systems. We encourage proposals that emphasize dialogue and discussion, promote collaborative research, and are unusual in terms of format and structure. Individual paper and session proposals, as are typical with most scholarly associations, are also welcome.
Presenters will be encouraged to submit their work for possible publication in the peer reviewed Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, which is the official journal of the ISSRNC, and has been published quarterly since 2007.
Given the ISSRNC’s commitment to internationality financial assistance will be available for a number of scholars from outside of North America. We anticipate being able to provide travel grants to at least ten international scholars.
Proposals for individual paper presentations, sessions, panels, and posters should be submitted directly to Sarah Pike at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is not necessary to be an ISSRNC member to submit a proposal. Individual paper proposals should include, in a single, attached word or rich text document, the name and email of the presenter(s), title, a 250-300 word abstract, and a brief, 150 word biography (including highest degree earned and current institutional affiliation, if any). Proposals for entire sessions must include a title and abstract for the session as a whole as well as for each individual paper. Proposers should also provide information about ideal and acceptable lengths for proposed sessions, and whether any technology, such as data projectors, are desired.
Most paper presentations will be scheduled at 15-20 minutes and a premium will be placed on discussion in all sessions. Proposals will be evaluated anonymously by the Scientific Committee, but conference directors will be aware of proposers’ identities in order to select for diversity in terms of geographical area and career stage. Student proposals are welcome.
Requests for assistance with invitations to assist with visa processes must be included with proposals.
Requests for financial aid from scholars outside of North America must also be included with proposals, and provide a clear statement as to whether such aid is essential for attendance, the needed amount, and an explanation of supplemental travel resources that will be available to the proposer. Decisions on travel grants will be made by the ISSRNC Board of Directors based on recommendations from the conference directors and scientific committee.
The deadline for proposals is 1 April 2012.
for full details see:
THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGION, NATURE AND CULTURE (ISSRNC)
Call For Papers/ Presentations/ Performance:
Hosting 6: “Absence – Haunted Landscapes”
Hosting 7: “Presence – Manifesting Ghosts”
GHost invites proposals for papers, presentations, or performances of 30 minutes exploring the desire and attempt to materialise what is absent via the medium of haunted landscapes or through the manifestation of a ghost. We would like to hear from researchers within all fields – anthropology, art history, cultural studies, film studies, history, science, law, literary studies, parapsychology, psychology, philosophy etc. as well as practising artists.
The Hostings will take place in the Court Room, University of London, Senate House between 6.30 – 9.00pm on the 29th February and 14th March.
Please send a (working) title and an abstract of approximately 300 words, also include which Hosting you are submitting to and, if applicable, one or two pictures.
Send these to Sarah Sparkes at: email@example.com
More about GHost:
Deadline for submissions of proposals: 13th January 2012
Hostings 6: Absence – Haunted Landscapes
The Key Of Solomon, a medieval grimoire instructs magicians to seek out “places that lie concealed, distant and removed from the haunts of men. Wherefore desolate and uninhabited regions are most appropriate, such as the borders of lakes, forests, dark and obscure places, old and deserted houses, whither rarely and scarce ever men do come, mountains, caves, caverns, grottos, gardens, orchards…”
Could it be that this instruction suggests a common topography of the haunted landscape that such venues operate as amplifiers for achieving rapport with the dead? Perhaps it is the absence of life and the nature of our own loneliness that in fact haunts the landscape? Are places of tragedy imbued with spirits of their victims or is this just a romantic engagement, an imaginative association with a past event? Is it possible to use a particular landscapes to facilitate the experience of paranormal phenomena – in this respect can landscape serve like the séance room for the natural channelling of the spirit of place, or the dead souls of its past? Moreover, have artists and writers intuitively apprehended these landscapes to manifest a haunted aesthetic?
GHost invites submissions exploring these or other ideas associated with the Haunted Landscape.
Hostings 7: Presence – Manifesting Ghosts
“Ghost Seance has the potential to summon spirits at any given location and time although 3:00 a.m. usually produces the best results.” (Taken from a website advertising a séance app. for smart phones)
Writers, psychical investigators, mediums, parapsychologists, illusionists, artists all have manifested ghosts in their own way. The writers mind conjures up ghostly apparitions, pinning down their fleeting forms with words. In the darkened séance room both psychical investigator and audience witness phenomena produced by the medium. Whether witnessed by believer or sceptic, the spirit announces itself, with a common ghostly language: wraps, moving furniture, unexplained scents, temperature changes, phosphorescent lights etc. In more recent times visual and auditory ephemera has been described and captured by paranormal investigators with the help of technological devices. This new language of the ghostly reappears in the haunted aesthetics of films such as Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape and in the work of contemporary artists such as Susan Hiller. When attempting to document ghosts, is it us or the ghosts who are controlling the means by which we describe and measure their presence?
GHost invites submissions exploring ghost-makers; their means, methods and their reasons for manifesting ghosts.
GHost is a visual arts and creative research project which explores the various roles ghosts play in contemporary culture by bringing artists, writers, curators, researchers and others together. In homage to Duchamp’s wordplay “A guest + a host = a ghost”, we take on and explore the various roles of ghosts, guests and hosts in our activities. The project has been running since 2008 and we have organised exhibitions, performance nights and so-called Hostings, seminar-style workshops which serve as a forum for exchange between thinkers and makers, audience and practitioners. As a research project, GHost blurs the boundaries between the diverse research groups and audiences that exist for the paranormal and hosts events in which these groups can explore their various beliefs. As a visual arts project, GHost explores the illusionary power of art and artists to create what could be seen as a ‘haunted aesthetic’. Visual art exhibitions have been hosted by a John Soane church in East London, at the London Art Fair and the Folkestone Triennial Fringe while the Hostings have been held at Senate House, University of London.
GHost has been organising Hostings in association with the IGRS, School of Advanced Study, University of London since 2009.
MONSTROPHY: THE ACADEMIC STUDY OF MONSTERS: PRETERNATURE call for papers
“Preternature is a rigorously peer-reviewed interdisciplinary forum for original research that touches on the appearance of magic, prophecy, demonology, monstrophy, the occult, and related topics that stand in the liminal space between the natural world and the preternatural.
Preternature publishes scholarly articles, notes, and reviews covering all time periods and geographies, from a variety of academic approaches. As an English language publication, the Western tradition is inevitably an important focus, but the journal strongly encourages submissions covering cultural traditions worldwide.”
— Praeter paginam
Call for papers for Preternature, vol. 2, issue 2
Monstrophy: The Academic Study of Monster
Monsters have been widely catalogued in their historical and ethnographic contexts, and have been commonly included in cultural products such as epic, folktale, fiction, and film, but have only begun to be studied seriously as semiological markers indicating the seams of internal cultural tension. Interpreters commonly note the “monstrous” as occupying space at the borders of a society’s conceptual categories, such as those relating to sexual and behavioral transgression, or to inherent prejudice and internal conflict (for instance, in race, gender, politics, and religion). Monsters are rarely fully distinct from the “human,” but are often comprised of hybrid features of the human and non-human. This issue of Preternature invites contributions that explore how the category of “monster” is used to define and articulate what a certain group of people articulates to itself to be properly human.
Contributions are welcome from any discipline, time period, or geographic provenance, so long as the discussion highlights the cultural, literary, religious, or historical significance of the topic.
Contributions should be roughly 8,000 – 12,000 words (with the possibility of longer submissions in exceptional cases), including all documentation and critical apparatus. If accepted for publication, manuscripts will be required to adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (style 1, employing footnotes).
Preternature also welcomes original editions or translations of texts related to the topic that have not otherwise been made available in recent editions or in English.
Submissions are made online at:
Final Papers are due February 15, 2012
Queries about submissions, queries concerning books to be reviewed, or requests to review individual titles may be made to the Editor:
Kirsten C. Uszkalo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiries about book reviews should be sent to the Book Review Editor:
Richard Raiswell: email@example.com
For more on the journal, please consult <www.preternature.org>