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  • 2017-10-19 21:15 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Date and place: February 20, 2018, Stockholm University; Room U29, Geohust (Geology)

    Description: Western esotericism is usually encountered in texts and images and studied in its ideational and aesthetic aspects. We know a lot about esoteric ideas, worldviews, and aesthetic conventions; but what were the people engaged in esoteric ideas doing? From magic and alchemy to mediumship and channeling, esotericism is not only theoretical but practical in nature. Accessing and analyzing esoteric practice, however, invites challenges that are rarely addressed in the field.

    This year’s ESSWE Thesis Workshop will focus on the methodological and theoretical challenges of studying esoteric practice. What kinds of textual and non-textual sources can we use to address practices of the past? Can we access practice through philology? How do we do responsible ethnographic work with contemporary esoteric groups? Can we connect historical methods and social science methods? What sort of theoretical frameworks might help us grasp esoteric practices, both past and present? How does one write a thesis about esoteric practices? The workshop will address these and other questions through a combination of (I) masterclasses with three specialists focusing on different historical periods, and (II) thematic discussion groups where MA and PhD students get the opportunity to talk about their own work with leading scholars in the field. The workshop also includes a career advice session led by a panel of early-career esotericism researchers.

    Workshop organizer: Egil Asprem (

    Open for: MA and PhD students [note: membership of ESSWE required]. 35 slots available. Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. First come, first served!

    To reserve a spot: please fill in the online registration form and await confirmation.



    09.00-09.30: Registration and Coffee

    09.30-09.45: Welcome by ESSWE President + Workshop organizer

    PART ONE: ORATORY (Masterclass lectures by invited speakers)

    09.45-10.30: Masterclass 1: Dr. Emmanouela Grypeou (Stockholm University)

    Accessing Esoteric Practice in Late Antiquity

    10.45-11.30: Masterclass 2: Dr. Liana Saif (Oxford University; Warburg Institute)

    Accessing Esoteric Practice in the Middle Ages

    11.45-12.30: Masterclass 3: Dr. Kennet Granholm (independent scholar)

    Problems and Challenges with accessing Contemporary  Esoteric Groups

    12.30-13.30 Lunch break

    PART TWO: LABORATORY (Thematic discussions in expert groups w/board members)

    13.45-14.45: Group discussions in expert groups. Each student gets to present their research topic and formulate questions to the group. Experts from the ESSWE board anticipated to be present: Andreas Kilcher (ETH), Boaz Huss (Ben Gurion), Egil Asprem (Stockholm University), Henrik Bogdan (Gothenburg University), Wouter J. Hanegraaff (University of Amsterdam, Birgit Menzel (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz), Bernd-Christian Otto (University of Erfurt), Yuri Stoyanov (Warburg Institute), and Helmut Zander (University of Fribourg) [changes may occur!].

    14.45-15.15: Plenum Session: Each group summarizes the most important challenges and topics that surfaced during their discussions.

    15.15-15.45 Coffee break

    PART THREE: PhD and Early Career Advice

    15.45-16.30: Per Faxneld and Manon Hedenborg-White lead a discussion of job/career related issues (application processes, job opportunities, alternative career paths) relevant to early-career scholars.

    16.30-16.45: Wrapping up and formal end to workshop


    16.45-17.15: ESSWE Members’ Meeting

    18.00: Visit to the Swedenborg Library and the New Church, Tegnérlunden 7 [not confirmed]

    19.00: Dinner and drinks (at own expense)

  • 2017-10-16 19:44 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    We would like to turn your attention to a new podcast called SHWEP: The Secret History of Western Esotericism Podcast. Created and run by ESSWE member Dr Earl Fontainelle, it is described as:

    "a free, weekly podcast series exploring cutting-edge academic research in the study of Platonism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, the Kabbalah, alchemy, occultism, magic, and related currents of thought. ... The approach is roughly chronological, beginning with the earliest civilisations and moving forward in time until the present day, with the aim of leaving out nothing essential along the way. It will be a long and fascinating trip through the history of ideas, and one which is bound to challenge what you think you know about philosophy, science, religion, and western identities."

    You can access SHWEP from the website, or find it in iTunes.
  • 2017-10-10 17:44 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The MOOC (massive open online course) introduces basic concepts of Kabbalah, and discusses some of the major trends and texts of Kabbalah, from the late middle ages to our days. It is most suitable for undergraduate students, or people interested in Kabbalah, with no background in Jewish studies, who do not have the possibility of taking such a course in their universities. It is free and it takes only a few seconds to enroll.

    Click here to read more or join:

  • 2017-08-30 13:04 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE) is seeking paper and panel proposals for its seventh International North American Conference on Esotericism to be held at Rice University, in Houston, Texas, May 24-27, 2018.

    We are seeking proposals for papers exploring the theme “Eros, Sexuality, and Embodiment in Esoteric Traditions.” Esoteric writings offer a range of possibilities for investigating both literal and figurative erotic and sexual configurations, from the allegorical couplings of alchemy, to the practices of Valentinian Gnosticism, to descriptions of angelic sex in Ida Craddock. Connectedly, esoteric thinkers have described numerous unusual ways to embodiment, from phenomena of divine possession, to the making of magical children, to golems and animated statues.

    We are also interested in papers on Western esoteric practices, including theories, representations and methods of practice viewed from cultural, practical, religious and aesthetic fields of inquiry. We encourage papers that address the conference theme in terms of diverse types of representation, including arts and literature, as well as methods that reflect specific theories of esotericism, either historically or in a contemporary context. 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 relevant topics. We are interested in panels specifically on mysticism, contemplative practice, and other topics related to the conference theme. 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.

    Our deadline for panel or paper proposal submission is December 15th, 2017.

    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 email to

    Association for the Study of Esotericism

  • 2017-08-16 16:01 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Annual Association for Art History Conference 2018. 5-7 April 2018 at Courtauld Institute of Art & King's College London.

    Call for Papers: Seeing and Hearing the "Beyond'. Art Music, and Mysticism in the Long Nineteenth Century

    Please send your abstract (250 words maximum) to Dr. Corrinne Chong AND Dr. Michelle Foot

    Deadline: 6 November 2017

  • 2017-08-16 15:44 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Cátedra Institucional 2017 ‒ Manuel Calvillo Programa de Estudios Literarios – COLSAN. A Cargo del DR. José Ricardo Chaves, Profesor Investigador Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas (UNAM)

    Curso: Esoterismo en la Literatura de México y América Latina (1890-1930)

    Agosto-Octubre, 2017. 10-14 Hrs. Aula Magna (COLSAN)


    • Primera parte: 21 24 de agosto
    • Segunda parte: 18-21 de septiembre
    • Tercera parte: 16-17 de octubre

    El Dr. Chaves es Doctor en Literatura Comparada por la UNAM, profesor investigador en el Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas de la misma institución y miembro del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores. Actualmente, prepara una antología comentada de textos de reconocidos autores hispanoamericanos de fines del siglo XIX y el primer cuarto del XX. Tiene cuatro libros publicados: México heterodoxo. Diversidad religiosa en las letras del siglo XIX y comienzos del XX (UNAM/Bonilla-Artigas/Vervuert Iberoamericana, 2013), Andróginos. Eros y ocultismo en la literatura romántica (UNAM, 2005 y reimpresión, 2013), Los hijos de Cibeles. Cultura y Sexualidad en la literatura de fin del siglo XIX (UNAM, 1997, reeditado en 2007) y El castillo de lo inconsciente. Antología de literatura fantástica de Amado Nervo (Conaculta, México, 2000). Entre sus últimos artículos están "Uqbar rosacruz. Del personaje rosacruciano en la ficción romántica" en Acta Poetica 38-1, enero-junio 2017, pp. 67-81; "Monstruos fantásticos en la literatura costarricense" en Revista de Filología y Lingüística de la Universidad de Costa Rica, diciembre de 2015 y "El estudio académico de lo esotérico" en Revista de Estudios Históricos sobre la Masonería Latinoamericana y Caribeña, Vol. 7, No.2, mayo-noviembre 2015, pp. 120-127. Ha publicado las novelas Los susurros de Perseo (1994), Paisaje con tumbas pintadas de rosa (1998), Los susurros de Perseo (2008), Faustófeles (2009) y Espectros de Nueva York (2015). Como parte de la Cátedra"Manuel Calvillo"están programados el Curso "Esoterismo en la literatura de México y América Latina (1890-1930)"(21-24 de agosto, 18-21 de septiembre y 16 y 17 de octubre, la conferencia"La conexión esotérica en la conformación de la literatura fantástica hispanoamericana. Los casos de Rubén Darío, Leopoldo Lugones y Amado Nervo" (18 de octubre) y la publicación en libro de un ensayo relativo a los tópicos del curso.

    Coordinator de la Catedra: Dr. Israel Tamírez, Prof. Investigador COLSAN. Email: Web:

    El Colegio de San Luis

    Parque de Macul 155. Fracc.Colinas del Parque. C.P. 78299, San Luis Potosí, S.L.P. Tel.: (444)811-0101

  • 2017-08-16 11:01 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism ‒ Center for the Study of Religion, Russian State University for the Humanities ‒ Art Deco Museum (Moscow):  

    Second Call for Papers ‒ Ninth International Conference on Mystic and Esoteric Movements in Theory and Practice: Mysticism and Esotericism in Russia and Other Post-Soviet Countries. 9-11 November 2017, Moscow

    For hundreds of years, a wide variety of mystic and esoteric movements has been active in the large region which is currently home to a plethora of countries that have over the course of their history been part of Rus, Russia, and the Soviet Union. Some of these movements were part of the wider tradition of Western esotericism, interpreted through a local lens, others had an indigenous character, and yet others were influenced by Eastern teachings. Moreover, Russia and other post-Soviet countries produced a number of charismatic personalities who became the founders of particular esoteric traditions, which deeply influenced the esoteric makeup of the region. Contemporary Russia and other post-Soviet countries are also home to a plethora of esoteric communities, schools, and influential persons. Even though this wide spectrum of mystic and esoteric movements has been under study for quite some time now, there are many blank areas remaining which await their scholar.

    The conference invites scholars specializing in the study of esotericism, scholars of religion, philosophers, historians, scholars of culture, psychologists, sociologists, and all other interested scholars to discuss the following range of topics:

    • methodological and terminological problems of the scholarly study of esotericism in the region;
    • conceptual foundations of mystic and esoteric movements in the region;
    • languages of self-description used by mystic and esoteric movements in Russia and other countries in the region;
    • main periods of the history of esotericism in Russia and other post-Soviet countries;
    • mysticism and esotericism in literature and art of the region;
    • Soviet esotericism;
    • characteristic aspects of esotericism in Russia and other contemporary post-Soviet countries;
    • mystic aspects of philosophy in countries of the region;
    • the Western context of Russian esotericism in countries of the region;
    • Eastern influence on esotericism and mysticism in post-Soviet countries.

    Working languages: Russian, English

    Applications for the conference for participants from CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States, ex-USSR) countries are to be sent to the address of the organizing committee,, by 01.10.2017. Due to possible visa concerns, we request that applications from participants outside of the CIS are sent by 01.09.2017. We kindly request participants to provide the following information:

    1.  Full name:
    2. Date of birth:
    3. Academic degree (if applicable):
    4. Home address:
    5. Place of work/study (if applicable):
    6. Position:
    7. Telephone number:
    8. E-mail:
    9. Need of an official invitation to receive an entry visa to the Russian Federation (yes/no):
    10. Necessary equipment for your presentation (yes (specify)/no):
    11. Title of paper:
    12. Abstract:

    The applicant is also required to attach a photo of themselves, no more than 1Mb in size.

    Applications for panels are accepted until 01.10.2017. Panel applications need to follow the general application form outlined above. Additionally, the panel organizer needs to provide the approximate number of panel participants and a preliminary program.

    A completed application does not guarantee acceptance to the conference. The organizing committee reserves the right to ask for additional information from applicants to specify unclear applications. Decisions on applications are made by the organizing committee within a week after the application deadline. Applicants will be informed of the committee’s decision by e-mail.

    Remote participation in the conference is not provided for.

    A conference program including information about participants and their abstracts will be published and provided to the participants before the start of the conference. It will also be available on the ASEM website.

    The conference fee is differentiated according to ASEM membership and geographical location of the participant (see table below):

    Conference participants  ASEM members  ASEM non-members
    Residents of CIS countries 500 roubles 1000 roubles
    Residents of non-CIS countries 10 Euros 30 Euros

    The organizational fee will be used to cover the costs of organizing the conference as well as the publication of conference papers, which is planned after the conference takes place. The conference fee is paid at the time of registration.

    The organizational fee does not include transportation, lodging, food or possible additional services (tours, museums, and so on). The organizing committee does not provide lodging for conference participants; however, it will provide information on local options at the request of an accepted participant.

    Attending the conference without giving a paper is free for ASEM members, as well as the professors and students of the host university. All others must pay an organizational fee, the size of which will be announced later.

    The organizing committee is open to propositions of material and informational support from interested physical and legal persons.

    Organizing committee chairs:

    Sergey V. Pakhomov, Nikolai V. Shaburov

    Organizing committee:

    Evgeny L. Kuzmishin, Birgit Menzel, Stanislav A. Panin, Vladislav S. Razdyakonov, Yury F. Rodichenkov, Ludmila G. Zhukova.

    Conference address:

    Moscow, 6 Miusskaya Square (RSUH)


  • 2017-08-13 21:06 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The Summer 2017 issue of the ESSWE Newsletter is now available on our website. Please download the pdf from the newsletter page.

  • 2017-08-09 21:26 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The 2017 Meeting of Members of ESSWE was held on June 3 in Erfurt, Germany. The Minutes of the Meeting are available under the Governance section. Click here to view the pdf document.

  • 2017-02-12 19:48 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The deadline to apply for funding to travel to the ESSWE6 conference in Erfurt is April 1, 2017. Decisions will be announced on April 10, 2017. Please see the Bursaries page for application form and more information!

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