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spcr Scholarly organisations, ESSWE

Scholarly organisations


The Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE) was founded in 2002. Its mission is to promote excellence in scholarship and teaching in the study of esotericism and mysticism, by means of conferences and meetings, publications, programs, and membership services. Within a context of free inquiry and critical examination, the ASE welcomes all disciplined reflection on esotericism in its various manifestations from antiquity to the present - including perspectives ranging from historiographic to phenomenological - and seeks to enhance the broad public understanding of this emerging field.

For full information about the ASE and its activities, see Association for the Study of Esotericism

NB. The ESSWE was founded in 2005 as the European counterpart of the ASE. Membership in both organizations is open to scholars from all over the world, but whereas the ASE organizes its conferences in North America, the ESSWE does so in Europe. Both ASE and ESSWE organize a conference every two years, so that one conference on esotericism takes place every year either in North America or in Europe.

ASE dues for current members of ESSWE are reduced to $28.00 per year and include a 20% discount on an electronic edition of the journal ESOTERICA.


The Societas Magica is an organization dedicated to furthering communication and exchange among scholars interested in the study of magic, both in the positive contexts of its expression as an area of necessary knowledge or religious practice (as in early modern occultism and contemporary paganism), and in its negative contexts as the substance of an accusation or condemnation (as in sorcery trials, and many philosophical and theological accounts, both early and late). The interests of members include, but are not limited to, the history and sociology of magic; theological, and intellectual apprehensions of magic; practices and theories of magic; and objects, artifacts and texts either qualified as magical by their creators, or forming the substance of an accusation of magic by others.

The Societas Magica was originally established in 1994 by Richard Kieckhefer, Claire Fanger, and Robert Mathiesen for the purpose of sponsoring sessions on the history of magic in the middle ages at the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, Michigan. However the activities of the Societas have expanded with its increasingly diverse membership, and its interests are not limited to the medieval period. The Societas continues to sponsor sessions both at the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo and also at other academic conferences as proposed and organized by members. It also publishes a newsletter twice yearly, and has other affiliated publications. An email list is available to those who meet the membership criteria and wish to join.

For detailed information, see the homepage of the Societas Magica.


CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions, established in 1988 and headquartered in Torino, Italy, is an international network of scholars whose fields of study include new religious movements, contemporary esoteric groups, and religious pluralism in general. Since 1988, it has organized a yearly conference (each year in a different academic location throughout the world), has published some fifty books, and keeps regularly updated an online encyclopedia of religious and spiritual groups active in Italy, within the framework of one of the largest European Web sites devoted to religion.

homepage of CESNUR


The Research Center "The Enlightenment in the Referential Context of Modern Esotericism" of the German Research Foundation DFG is carrying out interdisciplinary research into the dynamics of esotericism and Enlightenment, particularly in the 18th century. The research center, located at the University of Halle (Germany), combines individual projects with conferences, workshops, and lectures. Several volumes have already been published.

See the homepage for details.

The Association for the Study of Esoctericism
Societas Magica
Cesnur: The Center for Studies on New Religions
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