Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

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Correspondences: an online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism

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Correspondences. An online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism.

Call for papers. Deadline: feb. 28, 2013.

About

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.

Editors

Jimmy Elwing, rMA student, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Aren Roukema, rMA student, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Editorial Board

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

submissions@correspondencesjournal.com

URL: http://correspondencesjournal.com/

Call for Abstracts: A ‘SUPERNATURAL’ HISTORY OF CENTRAL EUROPE – 1870 – PRESENT

Call for Abstracts: “A ‘Supernatural’ History of Central Europe, 1870-present”

Editors: Eric Kurlander (Stetson U.) and Monica Black (U. of Tenn., Knoxville)

Deadline: August 1, 2012

Despite the ostensible “disenchantment of the world” proclaimed by Max Weber at the beginning of the twentieth century, Central Europe has a rich modern history of occultism, folklore, paganism, and popular religion. Yet the “supernatural history” of this ethno- culturally diverse region, extending from the Rhine and Baltic in the North and West to the Vistula and Danube in the South and East, has yet to be written. To be sure, the last twenty years have witnessed a renaissance of interest in Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish religious practice since the late-nineteenth century. With the exception a few excellent monographs on occultism and parapsychology, however, historians have been slow to investigate less conventional aspects of the “supernatural” in Modern Central Europe.

We seek abstracts from scholars interested in exploring the new spiritualities, unique metaphysical experiences and practices, and novel explanations of the world that stood somewhere between natural scientific verifiability and the shopworn truths of traditional religion, and which flourished across Central Europe in the wake of the Second Industrial Revolution. We are keen to see submissions that integrate social, political, and cultural history with “supernatural” thinking and practice, broadly conceived. We are especially interested in submissions that will extend their analysis and explorations beyond national boundaries, connecting people, ideas, experiences, and movements interculturally and transnationally.

Obviously, profound complexities inhere in the term “supernatural”—and no less so in terms like “popular religion,” let alone “superstition.” All of these terms bristle with invidious distinctions and reifications imposed by those seeking to draw sharp contrasts between “orthodox” and “heterogeneous” manifestations of religion and between “science” and “popular belief”—which for our purposes might refer to various methods of explaining, knowing, and experiencing the world that somehow draw on the numinous or the metaphysical. Not only has the presence and broad scope of such practices and ideas not yet been fully explored, but they have also not been properly integrated into larger histories of Central European culture, society, and politics—despite the fact that they have from time to time been the cause of considerable friction.

By bringing together scholars from German, Austrian, Hapsburg, and Slavic Studies, we hope to address questions central to the study of Central European politics, culture, and identity in new ways. What meanings can we assign to the renewal of interest in occultism, “pseudo-science,” and folklore studies in the decades around the fin-de-siècle? How does the waxing or waning of these fields relate to questions of war and peace, revolution and reaction, crisis and stability? How have differences between “science” and “pseudo-science” been articulated in various moments and why? How did folklore, occultism, “pseudo-science” and other “supernatural” practices function as alternatives to organized religion at various moments in the Central European past? How was a fascination with the “supernatural” reflected in popular culture and the arts from the nineteenth century to today? What roles have popular superstition and everyday rituals played in Central European attempts to negotiate the trials of the twentieth century? What role did such rituals––“political religion” or otherwise––play in the legitimization of fascism, communism, and other forms of authoritarian politics before and after 1945? What influence did “supernatural” ideas and practices have in generating policies of ethnic cleansing, eugenics, and imperialism, or how can they been seen as a response to those policies? What were the differences East and West of the Iron Curtain after 1945? What are the implications in terms of class, gender, identity, and ethnicity?

Potential topics may include but are not limited to:

Occultism

Pseudo-science” and parapsychology

Séances, spirit media, and communication with the dead

Dowsing

Faith healing

Astrology

Palm reading

Clairvoyance and prophecy

Ghost stories and apparitions

Witchcraft

Homeopathy

New Age

Exorcism

Vampires, werewolves and other monsters

Pagan” religions

The horror genre, science fiction, and “fantastic” in film, art, and literature

If you are interested in contributing an abstract of not more than 500 words for consideration, please send it, along with your CV, to Monica Black (mblack9@utk.edu) and Eric Kurlander (ekurland@stetson.edu) by AUGUST 1, 2012.

TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE SACRED IN EUROPE AND BEYOND: Conference


ESA Research Network 34 – Sociology of Religion

Call for papers – Mid-term Conference

University of Potsdam, Germany

3-5 September 2012

 

The thesis of secularization, once sheer uncontested in the social sciences, is increasingly under fire. Secularization is nowadays often deconstructed as an ideology or mere wish dream that is intimately connected to the rationalist ambitions of modern Enlightenment. Such alleged blurring of morality and science, of what ‘is’ and what ‘ought’, informing sociological analysis obviously obscures clear sight on recent developments in the Western world. 

Countless empirical and theoretical studies convincingly demonstrate that religion is alive and well in Europe and beyond. Particularly after the attacks of 9/11 in 2001, religious identities have become salient in a situation of cultural polarization and religious pluralization. Moreover, we are witnessing a trend towards ‘believing without belonging’ (Davie, 1994) and – particularly in those European countries that are most secular – a shift from organized religion to ‘spiritualities of life’ (e.g., Heelas and Woodhead, 2005), paganism and ‘popular religion’ (Knoblauch, 2009). And although the thesis of secularization has always been highly problematic from a non-European or global perspective, the rapid globalization of Islam and the Evangelical upsurge – especially in Africa, Latin America and East Asia – fly in the face of the long-held expectation that religion is doomed to be a marginal or socially insignificant phenomenon.

Evidently, then, the focus of sociological analysis has shifted over the last decades from religious decline to religious change. More than that: it is theorized that we are living in a “post-secular society” (Habermas, 2005) where religion is re-vitalized, de-privatized and increasingly influences politics, voting behavior, matters of the state and ethical debates in the public domain (e.g., Casanova, 1994). Motivated by such observations, the mid-term conference calls for papers addressing changes in the field of religion and, more in particular, transformations of the sacred in Europe and beyond. Particularly we welcome studies covering the following topics:

&#61623 Studies on how and why conceptions of the sacred, religious beliefs, doctrines, rituals and organizations of long-standing religious traditions – such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or Hinduism – transform under the influence of processes of globalization, individualization, mediatization as well as changing gender relations.

&#61623 Studies dealing with trends of believing without belonging, i.e. non-institutionalized beliefs, personal ‘bricolage’ and privatized conceptions of the sacred outside the Churches, Chapels and Mosques. Encouraged are also studies addressing new, more informal ways of ‘belonging’, religious communication and collective effervescence, i.e. in loose social networks, discussion groups or virtual communities on the internet.

&#61623 Studies covering popular religion and post-traditional spirituality, i.e., New Age, esotericism, paganism, occultism, discussing for instance an epistemological turn from belief to experience and emotion; a shifting emphasis from transcendence to immanence; from seriousness to playfulness; or a transition from dualism to monism.

&#61623 Studies dealing with implicit religion, i.e. addressing a re-location of the sacred to seemingly secular domains in society such as self-identity, sports, modern science and technology. This avenue of research may also include the place and meaning of the sacred (i.e., religious narratives, symbols and images) in popular media texts – in novels, films, series on television or computer games.

These topics are rough guidelines; papers dealing with religious change and the transformation of the sacred in Europe and beyond other than these outlined above are also very welcome. Furthermore we invite PhD and post-doc candidates to contribute to a poster session, including work in progress; the best poster will get a – small, but nice – prize.

Dates & Deadlines in 2012

March 15 Submission of abstracts and online registration starts

April 20 Submission of abstracts ends

May 10 Acceptance of abstracts

June 30 Early-bird registration ends

September 3 – 5 Conference

For further information, please visit: http://www.esareligion.org

Contact: esa-religion@uni-potsdam.de

ASE: ESOTERICISM RELIGION & CULTURE

 

  

Association for the Study of Esotericism Fourth International Conference

Call for Papers: Esotericism, Religion, and Culture University of California,

Davis July 19-22, 2012

PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE

The Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE) is seeking paper and panel proposals for its fourth International North American Conference on Esotericism to be held at the University of California, Davis. Because of a scheduling conflict, we have had to change conference dates to July 19-22, 2012.

We are seeking proposals on topics in Western Esotericism, particularly related to themes exploring the relationships between esotericism, religion, and culture. Papers may focus on any one of these topics, or on a specific conjunction of topics, especially as it relates to esotericism, and we encourage papers that feature intellectual history or history of ideas. We invite proposals on magic, alchemy, astrology, ritual practice, mysticism, spiritualism, occultism, hermeticism, neo-paganism, contemporary esoteric movements and teachers, Asian influences on Western traditions, and other related topics.

In addition to the broad theme of culture-which includes literature, art, philosophy, and drama, as well as religion-we would like to feature a methodological discussion (Esotericism Across the Disciplines). We also are interested in panels specifically on mysticism. ASE regards esotericism as an interdisciplinary field of research and we invite scholars from all disciplines to share their research and writings in support of a cross-fertilization of perspectives. We welcome scholars from a wide range of areas, including anthropology, American studies, art history, history, intellectual history, religious studies, literature, philosophy, psychology, medieval studies, sociology-the full range of academic disciplines and fields.. In order to encourage graduate study in the field, we will offer a modest prize for the best graduate student paper presented.

Because of the schedule change for the conference dates, now July 19-22, our extended deadline for panel or paper proposal submission is 15 February 2012.

If you wish to submit a paper proposal or a thematically focused panel proposal (with three presenters and short descriptions

included) for review and possible presentation at the conference, please send it by regular email to ASE2012Conference@gmail.com

No attachments, please: simply copy and paste your abstract into plain text email. Individual abstracts should be limited to one or two paragraphs, and must indicate academic affiliation and/or other academic qualifications. Independent scholars are welcome to submit proposals. Please note that our previous conference was at maximum capacity, so it is best to submit your proposal sooner rather than later. We hope to post a preliminary list of accepted proposals early in 2012. Possible venues for the publication of conference papers include the book series Studies in Esotericism (this will be the fourth volume in the series).

For more information on the ASE, see our website at http://www.aseweb.org Additional announcements will be forthcoming on the 2012 ASE conference.

EASR conference Brno, 7-11. September 2008

brno-2.jpg

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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