Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

Research, Reviews, Conferences

EASR conference Brno, 7-11. September 2008

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Brno, Czech Republic

Call for Papers

EASR conference Brno, 7.-11. September 2008

1.
Panel: ‘Ex Oriente Lux: The Presence of Western Esotericism in Eastern Europe’

Convenors: Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam) and Osvald Vasicek (University of Amsterdam), on behalf of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE)

In recent decades the academic study of esotericism in the west (particularly France, the Netherlands, Germany and the Anglo-Saxon world) has experienced a rapid growth. In academic institutions in Paris, Amsterdam and Exeter, specific chairs have been created, while increasing attention is given to this area of research also from other fields of religious, cultural, historic, and sociological studies.

Due to several difficulties – mainly linguistic, but also political until 1989 – the status of research of esotericism in Eastern Europe is for the greater part unknown. For this particular panel we are therefore looking for papers that will discuss the development of the study of western esotericism in Eastern Europe and/or single topics related to the presence of western esotericism in the same geographical area. We would especially like to encourage Eastern European students and academics to share their research, knowledge and insight.

The academic study of esotericism has developed mainly in a historical perspective, but we will also consider proposals from others perspectives, such as sociology, psychology, and anthropology. Topics may likewise vary from alchemy, astrology, magic, hermetism, theosophy, spiritualism, occultism, and range from medieval sources to contemporary esoteric movements.

If you are interested to propose a paper for this panel, please send an e-mail with abstract to: Osvald Vasicek, MA (o.vasicek@uva.nl). Abstracts should be limited to 200 words and should be accompanied by a short personal description of the author with academic affiliation and/ or other academic qualifications. PhD, and exceptionally MA, students are also encouraged to submit a proposal.

Deadline for proposal submission is 24 April 2008.

For more information on the conference and registration see: http://www.phil.muni.cz/relig/easr2008
For more information on the academic study of esotericism see: http://www.esswe.org and http://www.amsterdamhermetica.nl.

2.
Call for Papers

EASR conference Brno, 7.-11. September 2008
Panel: ‘The Political Temptations of Western Esotericism’Convenors: Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam) and Osvald Vasicek (University of Amsterdam), on behalf of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE)

The relationship between Western esotericism and politics is certainly not virgin territory. Just to mention two examples, Auguste Viatte in his classic work on illuminism (Les sources occultes du romantisme, 1928) had discussed the political significance of esoteric ideas in the period preceding the French revolution; and James Webb explored the interplay of esotericism and politics in the 19th and 20th centuries in two important books (The Occult Underground, 1974; and The Occult Establishment, 1976). Furthermore, since the mid-1980s the French academic journal Politica Hermetica has devoted its annual issues to this complex relationship. However, there is still much that academic research can say on this topic. One of the avenues which still have to be explored is the relationship that the research field itself may have with politics in the formation and the discussion of its object. How political is the study of esotericism? Which political assumptions may lead scholars to define esotericism in a certain way instead of another? How political is the choice of defining esotericism as specifically ‘western’, as opposed to ‘non-western’ in a cultural climate impregnated by discourses on the ‘clash of civilizations’? During the 20th century esotericism has been often associated to radical politics, both left- and right-wing, revolutionary and reactionary. If esotericism has been for a long time a suspect and sensitive field of research in the academia, its relationship with politics has often created an explosive mixture. Is it possible to study this relationship while avoiding the Scylla of apology and the Charibdis of sensationalist condemnation?
For this panel, we are looking for papers that will explore the politics of studying esotericism in all its possible aspects. Papers dealing with historical instances of the relationship between politics and esotericism will also be considered. Possible areas of interest may be, for instance, the use of esoterical themes in the construction of national identities in the 19th and 20th centuries or political theories of social regeneration based on esoteric thought.

If you are interested to propose a paper for this panel, please send an e-mail with abstract to: Osvald Vasicek, MA (o.vasicek@uva.nl). Abstracts should be limited to 200 words and should be accompanied by a short personal description of the author with academic affiliation and/ or other academic qualifications. PhD, and exceptionally MA, students are also encouraged to submit a proposal.

Deadline for proposal submission is 24 April 2008.

For more information on the conference and registration see: http://www.phil.muni.cz/relig/easr2008
For more information on the academic study of esotericism see: http://www.esswe.org and http://www.amsterdamhermetica.nl.

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