ESSWE home

  • 2009-03-02 16:17 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The Center for “History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents” (GHF) at the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities, is looking for An Assistant Professor (m/f) History of Western Esotericism in the Early Modern Period The Center for “History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents” (Geschiedenis van de Hermetische Filosofie en verwante stromingen; GHF) at the University of Amsterdam ( is a pioneering institution for research and teaching in the academic study of Western Esotericism. It concentrates in particular on the history of Renaissance Platonism and Hermetism, prisca theologia and occulta philosophia in the early modern period and their later developments; alchemical, magical, astrological, Paracelsian and Rosicrucian currents; Jewish and Christian kabbalah; Christian theosophy and Illuminism; and various occultist and related developments during the 19th and 20th centuries, including the New Age movement. GHF has currently a vacancy for the position of Assistant Professor (“Universitair Docent”) for the History of Western Esotericism in the Early Modern Period. A successful candidate will have a good record of high quality academic publications focused on one or more currents in this domain, and solid general knowledge of the domain as a whole. As a generalist in the study of Western Esotericism in the Early Modern Period s/he can teach all its main aspects on both undergraduate and graduate levels. - Research. The Assistant Professor will be expected to initiate personal research projects in the field of esoteric currents in Western culture since the Renaissance, focusing on the early modern period (15th-18th cent.), and to publish actively in the appropriate scholarly media. S/he will also be expected to collaborate in common research activities with the other staff members of the subdepartment, and with staff members of other departements of the Faculty if the occasion calls for it. - Teaching. GHF offers a “minor” Western esotericism in the context of the Bachelor program Religious Studies (in Dutch), and a full-time trajectory “Mysticism and Western Esotericism” in the context of the Master program Religious Studies (in English). The Assistant Professor will be expected to teach courses in both programs, both in lecture and in seminar settings. If necessary, s/he is expected to master the Dutch language during the first two years of the appointment. - Organization/Administration. Within reasonable limits the Assistant Professor may be asked to be active in one or more special committees of the Faculty. Candidates should fit the following profile: Ph.D. (or equivalent) in a discipline of the humanities. Specialization in, or relevant to, one or more areas of historical research belonging to the domain of “Western esotericism” in the early modern period (15th-18th century), having resulted in academic publications of high quality. Active interest in interdisciplinary research and teamwork in the context of the humanities and the social sciences. Good didactic qualities. Good command of Latin and English non-native Dutch speakers must achieve fluency in Dutch within two years. Willingness to develop in a multidisciplinary capacity in order to be able to participate in multiple areas of the Faculty's curriculum. Appointment This is a temporary appointment for two years, starting on 1 September 2009. Satisfactory performance is subject for a permanent appointment. The gross monthly salary will range from € 3195 (scale 11) to € 4970 (scale 12), based on a full-time appointment (38 hours a week). Letters of application, with C.V. and list of publications, should be sent to: Prof. Dr. W.J. Hanegraaff, Fac. Of Humanities/Department of Art, Religion and Cultural Studies, Oude Turfmarkt 147, NL-1012 GC Amsterdam, The Netherlands. e-mail:  For general information, contact Mrs. H. Nobach (secretary) at the same address. Email  Deadline for letters of application: 23 March 2009.

  • 2009-03-01 16:19 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Call for Papers for a panel, to be held at the EASR conference “Religion in the History of European Culture” Messina, 14-17 September 2009 Panel: ‘The presence of esoteric currents and ideas in Italy from the 18th century to our days’ Convenor: Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam) A significant amount of research has been done in Italy on the history of esoteric ideas, but this has been mainly focused on the late Middle Ages or the early modern period. From the presence of magic, alchemy, and astrology in medieval thought, to the revival of Hermetic and Neoplatonic ideas during the Renaissance up to the Scientific Revolution, the importance of this field of research for the history of Italian culture has been widely acknowledged. But the permanence of these ideas and cultural traditions in Italy in the period that begins with the Enlightenment, has perhaps received less attention from academic scholars, and still offers many interesting, potentially fruitful threads for research. These include for instance the influence in Italy of Swedenborgianism and of animal magnetism, the spreading of an esoterically oriented high-degree freemasonry, the impact of spiritualism, occultism, traditionalism, neopaganism, and, more recently, of New Age ideas. The announcement of the preparation of a volume devoted to the history of esotericism in Italy in the prestigious series of the Annali Einaudi is perhaps the occasion to focus on these different currents and ideas in the late modern period. Proposals focusing on historiographical aspects, i.e. in particular on the history of the study of esoteric currents and ideas in the 20th century in Italy will also be particularly welcome. Proposals can be submitted either in Italian or in English. Both languages will be accepted for the panel. Deadline for proposal submission is 31 March 2009 Proposals, together with a brief curriculum, should be sent to Marco Pasi: For more information on the conference and registration see:

  • 2008-12-17 16:21 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    "The Threat and Allure of the Magical in Literature, Language, Philosophy, History and the Arts" 17th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference at the University of California, Berkeley March 13-15, 2009 Dating back to the 9th Century Old High German Merseburg Incantations (die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) and their influence on the fairy-tale world of the Brothers Grimm, references to the magical boil forth from a wide range of cultural forms, from Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) in music to Werner Herzog’s Invincible in film. In silent film, modern literature and the arts, magic both heralded and haunted an artistic revolution in which the avant-garde and the occult recurrently intersected. In critical theory, ideology is often described in terms of a spell. Accordingly, this conference presents an opportunity to explore these cultural encounters with the magical and further inquire why this space of radical alterity carries such an allure and/or threat. Thus, we invite scholars from all disciplines to submit paper proposals in German or English on the questions of the magical and its role in the German-speaking world. Possible topics include but are not limited to: The magical in art, film, music, pop-culture and history The occult and the avant-garde Nazism and the occult The magical in the language of critical thought The mesmerizing, magical aspects of ideology The magical in courtly culture, Renaissance and the Early Modern Linguistic alchemy Sprachmagie The magical in philosophy (for example, the Veil of Maya in the works of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche) Magical Realism Astrology and Alchemy in literature Magic in fairy tales and folklore The weird, strange and the other The living dead/creatures of myth and magic in film and literature The language of incantations and spells.

  • 2008-10-26 16:23 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The 2nd International Conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism will be devoted to the theme "Capitals of European esotericism and transcultural dialogue." The conference will be organized by the University of Strasbourg (Equipe d’accueil d’Etudes germaniques, EA 1341/UDS) and the Maison interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme-Alsace (MISHA) in partnership with the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE). It will be hold between 2 and 4 July 2009 in Strasbourg, France, Maison interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme-Alsace. CALL FOR PAPERS During recent decades, the role and impact of esoteric currents within western culture has elicited a growing number of scholarly works. This study brings into play a complex pattern of intellectual discourses and historical phenomena, in close relationship not merely with political and religious spheres, but also with different fields of knowledge and their processes of elaboration. In 1998, an international conference on the theme “Mystics, Mysticism and Modernity” was organized by the Marc Bloch University of Strasbourg with the aim of studying the impact of esoteric currents on the construction of modernity in society, art and literature at the start of the twentieth century. Following on this research into the connections between esotericism and culture, the present conference aims to make a lasting contribution to the writing of a “ different” cultural history, integrating a detailed analysis of the part that esoteric currents have played in the building, development and interactions of national and of cross-national identities. Esotericism and Spatiality Scholarship in the field of esotericism has hitherto often been dominated by a “monographic” bias, a tendency to privilege the study of individual authors or specific currents considered particularly relevant to a given context or period, and therefore stressing the chronological dimension of the topic. Without forsaking historical methods, the conference on “Capitals of European Esotericism and transcultural dialogue” proposes a somewhat different approach, underlining the importance of geographical and intellectual patterns, networks, interactions and exchanges, with the purpose of illustrating the relevance of the “spatial” dimension of culture. The goal of this conference is, thus, to contribute to the delineation of a landscape of Western esoteric currents by sketching a transhistorical map of their places of emergence and their main centers of diffusion. Following the inaugural conference of the ESSWE held in Tübingen in July 2007 and devoted to “The Construction of Tradition”, it has been decided to dedicate the conference in Strasbourg–itself an important “capital of European esotericism”–to the complementary themes of locality and spatiality. The concept of “Capitals of European esotericism” finds support–inter alia–in research integrating the “spatial turn” in cultural sciences and history, as well as in geocritical approaches to the study of discourse, more particularly envisaged in their spatio-cultural rooting. The birth and development of a plurality of Western esoteric currents will accordingly be considered as essentially linked to certain privileged loci, where a number of diverse traditions, influences and activities have converged and crystallized, for complex historical and cultural reasons which it will be our task to investigate. Focus-point: the city as a crucible of cultural identity for European esoteric currents The various threads of Western esotericism have evolved from and around a number of intellectual centers linked, on the one hand, to local and/or national cultures and, on the other hand, also subject to cultural transfers and exchanges involving elements belonging to foreign horizons, notably oriental ones. Urban communities have been shown to play a major part in these processes of cultural interaction. Certain capitals or cities have acted–sometimes over prolonged periods of time–as diffusion centers for specific currents or disciplines, such as alchemy or Freemasonry (for example, Venice, Avignon, and Marseilles ). Of particular relevance in this perspective is the case of “border-towns”, bearing the stamp of a dual culture or acting as intercultural foyers, which appear for these reasons to qualify even better as places of emergence of such currents (for example, Trieste, Strasburg, Prague, and Cordoba). Interest may also focus on the common trajectories of economic centers and high places of esoteric thought and activity, and on their social imbrications, as well as on the related topic of patronage which, simultaneously attracting and stabilizing persons and activities in certain spots, nonetheless stimulates the circulation of people and ideas between them (the Medici in Florence, Gonzague in Mantua, Rudolf II in Prague, etc). In the same way, major printing and publishing centers (such as P. Perna’s office in Basel, the Beringos Brothers in Lyon, Diederichs in Munich), or the intellectual exchanges between rival cultural poles (such as Venice and Florence at the turn of the sixteenth century), also deserve attention. The study of such cultural phenomena may be conducted at different levels: - On a regional or national scale, emphasizing the many links existing between local cultures, prevailing political conditions, and the historical development of esoteric currents. - On a cross-cultural and supranational scale, taking into consideration the successive phases of the process of globalization of esotericism, notably relations between East and West. Another important issue is the literary activity fostered by these “capitals of European esotericism” throughout history, whether they have specifically given rise to a body of literature directly influenced by esoteric speculations and/or practices, or whether they are themselves the object of mythical/literary representation(s) in works of fiction dealing with, or influenced by, esotericism. Contributors to the conference are invited to use various scholarly methods and approaches from different disciplines: cultural history, art history, history of ideas and of Western esotericism, investigation of the socio-economic conditions of the production of fictional and literary works, etc. Examples of themes on which contributions will be welcome: - Mapping of Western Esotericism: identification of greater or lesser urban cultural centers linked with one or more specific currents of European esotericism: “masonic capitals”, centers for the diffusion of theosophical doctrines and writings (such as Amsterdam, Berleburg, London, Dornach), etc. - Economic and cultural exchanges, esoteric currents and the city: investigation of the interactions between commercial, intellectual, artistic and publishing activities as linked to the presence, development and productions of European esotericism (Lyon, Venice, Berlin, Florence, Paris). Some attention should also be given to the role and operation of esoteric periodicals or journals per se, as well as-more generally-to the presence of esoteric themes or events in cultural media. - Capitals of European esotericism and multi-cultural dialogue: Western esotericism and the reception of oriental literature and traditions (New York, Paris, Cairo, London). - Esotericism, fictional imagination and the City: artistic and literary works which display an intimate connection between esoteric themes and the (fictional or real) depiction of a given (or imaginary) city (such as Prague in G. Meyrink’s The Golem, or London in A. Machen’s The Three Impostors). Approaches combining several of these themes and/or perspectives are of course welcome. It should also be kept in mind that “Western esotericism” is by no means construed as limited to Christianity, but includes esoteric speculations and practices belonging to other religious cultures (such as Jewish Kabbalah and Neo-Sufism), whose complex (often long-standing and influential) interactions with Christian culture make them an integral part of “European esotericism”. Working languages: French, German & English. Conference Committee: Jean-Pierre Brach (Ecole pratique des Hautes-Etudes, Vème section, Paris, vice-president of ESSWE), Sylvain Briens (UDS), Aurélie Choné (UDS), Christine Maillard (UDS). Conference Chairman: Christine Maillard Proposals (title and short abstract) should be send to Christine Maillard, , with your name, academic position, and titles of major publications. Submission deadline : 30 November 2008.

  • 2008-10-14 16:25 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The DFG Research Group "The Enlightenment in the Referential Context of Modern Esotericism" (Die Aufklärung im Bezugsfeld neuzeitlicher Esoterik) hosts an International Conference devoted to the topic "Enlightenment and Esotericism – Ways into Modernity" The conference, organized by the Interdisciplinary Center for European Enlightenment Studies (Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für die Erforschung der Europäischen Aufklärung (IZEA)), will take place in Halle, Germany, March 9-12, 2010. Following the conferences “Enlightenment and Esotericism” (Aufklärung und Esoterik) in 1997 at the Herzog-August Library in Wolfenbüttel and “Esotericism in the Enlightenment” (Esoterik in der Aufklärung) in 2006 at the IZEA, now a third conference on this subject will pose the question: To what extent can the multi-faceted relationship between Enlightenment and Esotericism in the eighteenth century be considered as constitutive for Modernity?  The influence of the Enlightenment on Modernity has been much postulated and is an intrinsic constituent in the self-validation of Modernity. At the same time it is clear that Esotericism has also played an important role, right up to the present day. Yet what has been little known up to now is just what significance the mutual reciprocity between Enlightenment and Esotericism in the eighteenth century (and the resulting transformations from this relationship) have had.  Esotericism, as an aggregate of different historical streams of thought, can be identified through the reception of Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and Cabbala, as well as through the assimilation of the so-called old sciences of Alchemy, Magic and Astrology from the Renaissance on. During the course of the Early Modern period, related movements such as Paracelsianism, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy and Freemasonry developed out of these streams of thought. As the first two conferences have shown, these various esoteric currents continued to have an impact during the Enlightenment, whether they were negated, integrated or transformed.  What role then did the Enlightenment play in the rise of “modern” Esotericism? What about the Enlightenment itself, which developed its profile not least by engaging with esoteric streams of thought? Through which paths – whether through continual or interrupted transmission – did the resulting manifestations of the encounter between the Enlightenment and Esotericism arrive at the later Modern period? What accounts for the affinity between Modernity and the artistic-literary, philosophical, theological, scientific or historical-political expressions of the exchange between Enlightenment and Esotericism?  The conference Enlightenment and Esotericism – Ways into Modernity would like to dedicate itself to these questions. Contributions are encouraged from all history-oriented disciplines which investigate the major issues, which reflect on methodical approaches to answering the questions posed or which offer concrete case studies for discussion. The main focus will be on the “long eighteenth century,” that is, on topics dealing with the age of the Enlightenment itself as well as on topics addressing the transition into the first decades after 1800. Nonetheless contributions which treat the nineteenth or twentieth centuries exclusively are also welcome if they take the main theme of the conference into consideration.  Proposals are requested by March 31, 2009 and should include a lecture title, a short abstract of one-half to a full page and a brief vita. Please address all submissions to:  IZEA  Franckeplatz 1/54  D – 06110 Halle or, by e-mail, to:

  • 2008-09-26 16:26 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    RICE UNIVERSITY. The Department of Religious Studies invites applications and nominations for a professor in RELIGIOUS THOUGHT, starting in Fall 2009, at assistant rank, preferably in one or more of these areas: RELIGION AND SECULARISM or AMERICAN/EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION or METHOD AND THEORY or HISTORY OF WESTERN ESOTERICISM. Period open to: LATE ANTIQUITY, MEDIEVAL, MODERN, or POSTMODERN. Candidates must also demonstrate significant accomplishments in a particular Western cultural or religious complex. Please send letter of application, curriculum vitae, and names of at least three references to Prof. Jeffrey J. Kripal, Chair of Search Committee, Rice University, Department of Religious Studies-MS 15, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251-1892. Rice University is an equal employment/affirmative action employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to applications received before October 15.

  • 2008-09-10 16:27 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The Board of ESSWE has decided to introduce a PhD Thesis Prize. Nominations are invited for the first biennial ESSWE PhD Thesis prize, awarded by the board of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism. The prize will be given for an outstanding European PhD thesis completed between 1 January 2007 and 1 March 2009 on any aspect of Western Esotericism (broadly conceived). The thesis may be European in the sense of having been submitted at a university in Europe, or in the sense of having been submitted by a European citizen at a university anywhere in the world. The thesis must have been approved formally by the nominee's thesis committee, but the degree need not have been formally awarded. The prizewinner will be notified in May 2009 and will receive an award of €500 and a certificate, to be presented at the ESSWE conference in Strasbourg, 2-4 July 2009. The thesis will also be recommended for publication in the ARIES Book Series, though the final decision on publication will be taken by the ARIES Book Series editorial board, not the Prize Committee. If it deems that no thesis reaches an appropriate standard, the Prize Committee will not award a prize. Nominations must be made by electronic mail to the Chair of the Prize Committee, Mark Sedgwick (Aarhus University, Denmark, by 1 March 2009. The nominator must be a faculty member at the institution that awards the nominee’s PhD degree, or a member of the nominee’s thesis committee. Each nominator may make only one nomination. The applications should consist of pdf files of the following material: 1. A letter of nomination 2. The nominee's thesis 3. A separate summary of the thesis, written by the nominee, of no more than ten pages (double spaced) 4. A brief biographical sketch of the nominee 5. Documentation to show that the thesis has been approved Items 1, 3 and 4 must be in English. Item 2 may be in any one of the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish. Item 5 may be in any language, so long as a translation into English is provided if it is not in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish. The Prize Committee consists of: • Mark Sedgwick, Aarhus (Chair) • Andreas Kilcher, Zurich • Jean-Pierre Brach, Paris

  • 2008-07-03 16:28 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    "The Great Transformation - Art and Tactical Magic" The last decade has seen an increased interest in a new understanding of belief, community, and the possibility for social transformation using the tools and languages of transcendental forces. Dealing with reactionary forces – superstition, the occult, the obscure, magic – at the same time keeps possibilities alive for change and for promoting experimental attitudes. The group exhibition 'The Great Transformation' sets out to document a new interest that contemporary art production has taken in magic and the occult. The artists in this show stress magic as the trait that can help us to understand the role of the producer or artist and that of the viewer as a participant in a ritual. Address Frankfurter Kunstverein Markt 44 60311 Frankfurt am Main phone +49 69 219 31 40 Opening Hours Tuesday - Sunday 11a.m. - 7 p.

  • 2008-04-11 16:29 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut (KWI), in collaboration with the Arbeitskreis Geschichte + Theorie is organizing a conference on miracles in the twentieth century. The Titel is "Unbegreifliche Zeiten: Wunder im 20. Jahrhundert." The conference, organized by Alexander C.T. Geppert and Till Kössler, will be hold in Essen (Germany), from 19-21 March 2009. CALL FOR PAPERS Auf den ersten Blick scheinen Wunder nicht mehr in das 20. Jahrhundert zu passen. Als Folge der viel zitierten "Entzauberung" sind die überkommenen Wunderwelten aufgrund einer nie zuvor gesehenen Proliferation von Wissen und der Einbeziehung selbst entlegener Gebiete in immer dichter werdende Kommunikationsnetze vermeintlich an den Rand gedrängt worden. Und doch verwundert der anhaltende Gebrauch des Begriffs in höchst unterschiedlichen gesellschaftlichen Kontexten: Vom "Wunder von Bern" bis zum "Wirtschaftswunder", von "Wunderwaffen" bis zu "Wunderheilungen", von "Wundern der Technik" bis zu "wonder bras": Wunder sind aus der Moderne nicht wegzudenken. Ganz offenkundig stellt die Zuschreibung eines 'Wunders' noch immer eine zentrale Form der Verarbeitung und Aneignung ungewöhnlicher Ereignisse und außeralltäglicher Erfahrungen dar. Die Konferenz beruht auf der Annahme, dass die Beschäftigung mit Wundern neue Perspektiven auf die Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts erschließt. Der Begriff des Wunders erlaubt es, das Exzeptionelle in modernen Gesellschaften, ihre soziale Konstituierung, Normalitätsannahmen und Wissensgrenzen zu thematisieren. Die Tagung beabsichtigt, den in dem Begriff kristallisierten Ereignissen, Wahrnehmungen und Praktiken nachzuspüren. Dabei gilt es, einerseits vom deutlichen Innovationsvorsprung der Forschungen zu mittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Wunderwelten zu profitieren, andererseits den Fortgang kontroverser Debatten um die Wiederverzauberung der Welt, die Epistemologie des Übersinnlichen und die Geschichte westlicher Esoterik im 19. Jahrhundert in der Zeitgeschichte zu verfolgen. Zugleich knüpft die Konferenz an das aktuelle historische Interesse an Transformationen des Religiösen an, geht dabei über das Feld der Religionsgeschichte im engeren Sinne jedoch hinaus. Schon im Mittelalter waren Wunder keineswegs auf den Bereich des Religiösen (miracula) beschränkt, sondern umfassten ebenfalls Natur- und weltliche Wunder (prodigia bzw. mirabilia). Entsprechend steht hier nicht die Frage nach einer vermeintlichen Profanisierung des Wunders, sondern der Umgang mit wunderhaften Begebenheiten innerhalb der zugleich religiösen und säkularisierten Denk- und Wissenssysteme des 20. Jahrhunderts im Zentrum. Die Tagung findet vom 19. bis zum 21. März 2009 am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Institut (KWI) in Essen statt. Sie wird von Alexander Geppert (Cambridge, MA) und Till Kössler (Madrid) geleitet und in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Arbeitskreis Geschichte + Theorie (AG+T) veranstaltet. Ihre Teilnahme bereits zugesagt haben Martin Baumeister (München), Friedrich Jaeger (Essen), Paul Nolte (Berlin), Diethard Sawicki (Paderborn), Uwe Schellinger (Freiburg i.Br.), Gabriela Signori (Konstanz) und Bernd Weisbrod (Göttingen). Wir bitten, Bewerbungen für einen 20minütigen Vortrag (kurzer Lebenslauf und Abstract im Umfang von nicht mehr als 300 Wörtern) bis zum 30. Mai 2008 an beide Veranstalter zugleich zu senden. Voraussichtlich werden die Kosten der Tagungsteilnahme (Anreise, Unterkunft, Verpflegung) für Referenten übernommen werden können. Tagungsbeiträge im Umfang von etwa 10-15 Seiten sollen drei Wochen vor Beginn schriftlich vorliegen, damit sie vorab unter allen Teilnehmern zirkuliert werden können. Konferenzsprache ist Deutsch, englischsprachige Beiträge sind jedoch ebenfalls willkommen. Bei Rückfragen stehen wir selbstverständlich gern zur Verfügung. Alexander C.T. Geppert Harvard University  +1 (617) 495-4303 ext.218 Till Kössler Universidad Complutense de Madrid  +34 (91) 5064518

  • 2008-04-04 16:31 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    ESSWE has no conference in 2008. Instead, ESSWE is organizing two panels for the 2008 conference of the European Association for the Study of Religions EASR, which will be held in Brno, Czech Republic from 7 to 11 September 2008. Two calls for papers have been prepared for two panels: ‘Ex Oriente Lux: The Presence of Western Esotericism in Eastern Europe’ ‘The Political Temptations of Western Esotericism’

    Call for Papers 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 ( 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: For more information on the academic study of esotericism see: and

    Call for Papers 2: 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 ( 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: For more information on the academic study of esotericism see: and

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software