Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

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Visions of Enchantment: Occultism: Spirituality & Visual Culture



An International Conference

at the University of Cambridge,

17-18 March 2014









May 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Folk Knowledge: Institute of Ethnology Slovak Academy of Sciences: Call for Papers

AAA bratislava

Folk Knowledge:  Models and Concepts

Institute of Ethnology Slovak Academy of Sciences

March 26th to 28th 2013 

The problem of human knowledge – what a person employs to interpret and act on the world – has been in the centre of scholarly attention for a long time. Knowledge is shaped by culture and distributed in population in certain ways; anthropological research has been directed to the distribution of knowledge – its presence or absence in particular persons – and the social processes influencing these distributions.

Attention has been paid in particular to so-called folk knowledge consisting of beliefs and socially accepted rules corresponding to various spheres of life: social relations, natural environment, reasoning and emotions, economic relations, oral tradition, etc. These beliefs and rules are shared and adapted to the particular local settings. Theoretical debates focused on the models of natural and cultural environment in particular social and cultural conditions, and the impact that those models have on human behaviour. The aim of this conference is to contribute to this focus by bringing together scholars doing research in different cultural settings.

A comparative perspective on human knowledge allows us to unravel a number of aspects of the cultural worlds which people construct. Empirical research can demonstrate how established thoughts, representations, and social relations to a considerable extent configure and filter individual human experience of the world around us and thereby generate culturally diverse worldviews which might include feelings and attitudes as well as information, embodied skills, verbal taxonomies and concepts: all the ways of understanding that humans use to make up a reality.

We invite interested scholars and students to submit proposals for papers which will explore:

• Folk knowledge and expert knowledge

• Material culture: material objects and their cultural meanings

• Religious beliefs and rituals

• Concepts of ethnicity and race

• Social learning: acquisition of knowledge by children and adults

• Children and their concepts

• Verbal concepts and models

• Taxonomy of concepts

• Representations of morality

• Gender relationships and representations

• Representations of economic relations and processes

• Visual representations: construction of meanings

Key lectures:

Prof. Anthony Good

Anthony Good is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the School of Social & Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Great Britain. The lecture: Folk Knowledge and the Law

Prof. John Eade

John Eade is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Roehampton and former Executive Director of CRONEM (Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism) which links Roehampton and the University of Surrey. He is also Visiting Professor at the Migration Research Unit, the University College London, Great Britain.

The lecture: Contested Knowledges: The Politics of Pilgrimage in a Changing Europe

Dr. William (Lee) W. McCorkle

William McCorkle is

Director of Experimental Research at the LEVYNA (Laboratory for the Experimental Research of Religion and Ritual). He is Associate Professor and Research Specialist at the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Czech Republic.

The lecture: From Compulsion to Script: The Evolution of Ritual and the Rise of Religions

Submission details:

The language of the conference will be English only. The papers should last no more than 20 minutes.

Abstracts (up to 350-words in Word doc.), with contact details and affiliation, should be sent to:

the conference e-mail address: by 31st January 2013.

You will be informed about acceptance or non-acceptance of your proposal by 15th February 2013.

Conference participation fee:

• scholars who will present their papers: € 50;

• PhD students who will present their papers: € 25;

• participants who will not present papers: free. The participation fee includes all conference proceedings and daytime refreshments. Accommodation is not included in the conference fee.

Organizational team: Tatiana Bužeková, Institute of Ethnology SAS, email: Miroslava Hlinčíková, Institute of Ethnology SAS, email: Danijela Jerotijević, Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, Comenius University, email: Soňa G. Lutherová, Institute of Ethnology SAS, email:

They look forward to seeing you in Bratislava in March 2013!

AFTERLIFE: University of Bristol: 18th Postgraduate Religion and Theology Conference


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


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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).

Please send proposals to Dr John Maiden ( by 25 January 2013. To book, please contact Taj Bilkhu ( by 23 March 2013.

Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – Belgium: call for papers

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Deadline: 1 December 2012


Esthetics and Spirituality: Places of Interiority

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

16 – 17 – 18 May 2013

In the contemporary Western European world traditional, institutionalized religions are losing ground, while alternative religions, literature and the arts, film and media, as well as commercial enterprises are offering alternatives. Old concepts, symbols and rituals are translated into new forms. This is a recurrent phenomenon: as sensitivities change throughout the ages, the ways to express this changed “interiority” change and result in new manifestations of spirituality.

This multi- and interdisciplinary Conference on Aesthetics and Spirituality looks at how, both in the past and the present, people devise(d) new ways of conceiving and manifesting interiority. In order to look at the forms “interiority” has received throughout the ages we use different approaches: literature, cultural studies, theology, art (iconography/iconology), history (of ideas) and architecture, anthropology, political sciences/sociology, psychology, philosophy…

How do exteriority and interiority relate? What does it mean to be in a place, to be at home in the world or with oneself (cf Pierre Nora,Les lieux de mémoire)? How can urban planning, public and private buildings, furniture and other material things, clothes, prescribed attitudes, etc. be conducive to interiorization (conscious or unconscious reflections, contemplation)? Or, conversely, how can material factors repress interiority (cf repressive political systems)? In order to imagine a topology of interiority that would draw on an inter-disciplinary field of studies and research we invite papers on the different kinds of language which translate outside to inside and vice versa.

If interiority is a question of presence and orientation we need to look at

(a) Bodily expressions: a religious community prescribed a certain body language which could bring about a spirituality (cf. nineteenth-century feminine congregations focusing on nursing, weaving and embroidering); manifold forms of biblical spirituality (Schneider et al) inspire the body, while psychology of religion and psychoanalysis develop ways of reading religious bodies (Vergote, Lacan, Vasse, Moyaert et al).

(b) Expressions through things, images (iconology), words:

-changes in the attitude to relics, books, icons, devotional cards, rosaries, …

-different links between theology, art and literature produce different forms: the “bondieuserie” in France (1850s) differed from Pre-Raphaelite depictions of the divine (criticized by Dickens), or from the Pilgrim’s Movement in Flanders; after the Great War Benedictine spirituality was revived, while Franciscan spirituality brought a new attention for nature and animals in literature; 21st-century ecocriticism brings a new attitude to representations of nature, as do gender studies to aspects of spirituality …

(c) Changes in Ritual, as a means to link physical and metaphysical aspects of experience: which forms of ritual are depicted, developed, in contemporaryl iterature, to mark forgiveness, reconciliation, or other transitions (to adulthood, married life, divorce, healing from sickness, death,…) Which theories of performativity are used in liturgy these days? Which kind of poetics are used in contemporary prayer? How do contemporary political symbols (fail to) develop? (Cf. prevalence of Christian symbols in commemorations of British army casualties et al). Can ritual help in conflict situations, and how are new rituals validated? How do religious institutions relate to the secularization?

(d) Contributions relating to or focusing on Irish topics will be especially welcomed.

Are Celtic symbols still known, used, adapted? How does Irish urbanization, architecture, make space for interiority? How is “interiority” conceived at all in contemporary art and philosophy? Which places, moments, figures, phenomena, concepts, does contemporary film, drama, poetry, fiction, art, hold in special reverence? Does nature (stone, plant, animal) still harbour something sacred, and if so, how? Do angels still figure?

Are there still references to the Jewish, Greek, Christian stories? Is twentiethcentury and contemporary art, literature and film reacting or indifferent to this tradition, does it translate archaic symbols (animals and trees, food and drink, textile and books, home and travel, …) into new forms, or does it divest these old icons of their symbolism?

The conference is hosted by the KU Leuven, the Faculties of the Arts, Theology and KADOC (Interfaculty Institute of the KU Leuven for Documentation and Research for Religion, Culture and Society) in cooperation with the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies (LCIS).

It will take place in the newly refurbished Irish college in Leuven (the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe). The Scientific Committee consists of Barbara Baert (KU Leuven, Arts), Reimund Bieringer (KU Leuven, Theology), Ralph De Koninck (Université Catholique de Louvain, Arts), Jan De Maeyer (KADOC, KU Leuven, History/Heritage), Borbala Farago (Central European University Budapest, Gender Studies), Veerle Fraeters (U Antwerpen, Literature), Christine Göttler (Universität Bern, Arts), Hedwig Schwall (KU Leuven/Kortrijk, Literature), Paul Vandenbroeck (KU Leuven/ Anthropology/Social sciences), Henrik von Aachen (University of Bergen, Norway, Arts)

Papers should not exceed 2500-3000 words (20 minutes’ delivery). Proposals for papers (250 words) and a short biography should be sent by e-mail to

Hedwig Schwall ,

You will be notified by 20 December.

More information about the conference will be posted on

THE SUBSTANCE OF SACRED PLACE: Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz: Call for Papers

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organised by Laura Veneskey and Annette Hoffmann
20th/21st June 2013

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?


We seek analyses of all materials evocative of a particular sacred milieu, not only earth, dust, stone, but also wood, metal, pigments, oil, or water. Presentations exploring either the substances and places themselves or textual and iconic depictions thereof are equally welcome. We invite papers from all disciplines on any locale conceived of as sacred, whether scriptural, pilgrim, monastic, ascetic, or cultic, between antiquity and the early modern period. The workshop is aimed at young researchers, and is intended to bring together graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and those in the early stages of their teaching or professional careers.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:


– 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

Interested applicants should send a current c.v. and an abstract of no more than 250 words (for presentations of twenty minutes) to

Proposals must be received by date 30th November 2012.


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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




Dalarna University Falun (Sweden),

21-24 June 2013


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.


Option 1
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.

Option 2:
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, 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 .


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


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


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

Shakespeare and the Mysteries: Conference: Shakespearean Authorship Trust & Brunel University


Sunday 18 November 2012

The Shakespearean Authorship Trust,

in collaboration with Brunel University, presents

Shakespeare and the Mysteries The are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy

What are the implications for the Authorship Question of Shakespeare’s profound knowledge of Renaissance Neoplatonic and Hermetic traditions? These are present not only in passing allusions but also in the deep structure of his dramas, open to interpretation as allegories of initiation, transformation and regeneration.



Ros Barber (The Marlowe Papers)

Julia Cleave (Trustee of the SAT)

Peter Dawkins (The Shakespeare Enigma)

Mark Rylance (Chairman of the SAT)

Susan Sheridan (The Merry Wife of Wilton)

Earl Showerman (President of the Shakespeare Fellowship)

Claire van Kampen (Shakespeare’s Globe Special Advisor on Early Modern Music)


Date: Sunday 18 November 2012

Time: 11:00 – 18:00 (Tea and coffee available from 10:30) Venue: Shakespeare’s Globe, The Sackler Studios*, on the corner of Bear Gardens and Park Street, Bankside, London, SE1.

Tickets: £35 (including tea and coffee) Booking: Shakespeare’s Globe


Box Office Booking opens: 22 October**

*Note change of venue in 2012 due to building of the new indoor Jacobean theatre at the Globe.

**Early booking advised as places are limited


Draft Programme Schedule


10:30 Arrivals & Coffee


11:00 Introduction by Mark Rylance

Shakespeare’s Globe as Sacred Theatre and Cosmic Stage


11:30 Peter Dawkins

The Lost Word and Swan Song: Rosicrucian and Baconian Themes in Shakespeare’s comedies and romances.


12:15 Julia Cleave

Initiations, Transmutations and Resurrection Fables: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antony & Cleopatra and All’s Well that Ends Well


13:00 Lunch


14:15 Earl Showerman

Shakespeare’s Physic: Hermetic and Alchemical Magic in The Winter’s Tale, Pericles and All’s Well that Ends Well.


15:00 Susan Sheridan

Shaking the Spear: The Hermetic interests of the Sidney/Pembroke Circle with special reference to Cymbeline.


15:35 Ros Barber

Death’s A Great Disguiser: Resurrecting Shakespeare.


16:15 Tea & Cake



16:45 Claire van Kampen

Shakespeare & Divine Proportion: The Tempest & the Music of the Spheres


17:30 Forum/Q&A


18:00 Ends


Call for papers: Societas Magica sessions IMC Kalamazoo

Societas Magica

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

Manuscript Evidence)

Contact: Dr. David Porreca (University of Waterloo)

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)

Session IV – Magical Practices in Pre-Modern China

Contact: Dimitri Drettas (Collège de France)

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



CFP: Technical Communication in the Middle Ages

48th International Congress on Medieval Studies

May 9-12, 2013

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo MI

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,

monastic rules,

business correspondence,

medical treatises,

scientific and pseudo-scientific manuals (including alchemical and astrological ones),

cookery books,

law codes,

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:

by September 15, 2012.

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