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  • 2008-03-30 17:28 | 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 : June 15th, 2008.

  • 2008-02-25 17:29 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The Esoteric Studies Research and Teaching Group, in conjunction with the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics at the University of Queensland presents the 3rd Annual Alternative Expressions of the Numinous Conference Date: Friday 15 – Sunday 17 August 2008 Venue: School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus, Brisbane, Australia Conference Chairs: Dr Helen Farley, Julie Washington, and Håkan Sandgren Call for Papers: Abstracts (250 words) are invited for, but not limited to, the following strands: Esotericism Mysticism Alternative expressions of major religions Religions of re-enchantment Popular culture religions Indigenous religions Paganism and Neo-Paganism New Religious Movements Personalised religion Alternative methodologies The conference committee is open to proposals for workshops and panels. Deadlines: Abstracts: Monday 30 June 2008 For more information contact: Helen Farley Conference Co-Chair School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics St Lucia Q 4072 Australia Ph: + 617 3365 6324 (Outside Australia) 07 3365 6324 Fax: +617 3365 1968 (Outside Australia) 07 3365 1968 Email:  The School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics (HPRC) at the University of Queensland, houses the largest Studies in Religion department in Australia. The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s prestigious Go8 universities and is also a member of Universitas 21. For more information about the University of Queensland, go to: For more information about the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics go to: The University is readily accessible from the city by bus or Citycat. Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city. With an idyllic sub-tropical climate, it boasts beautiful, lush parks and gardens located on the Brisbane River. The city is just over an hour’s drive from either the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast. The mountainous hinterlands provide spectacular scenery and tropical rainforests. For more information about holidaying in South East Queensland, visit For more information about Brisbane, visit: Brisbane is serviced by the Brisbane International Airport with trains, buses and taxies to take you into the City.

  • 2008-02-11 17:32 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Im Juni 2007 haben wir Ihnen unseren ersten Newsletter zukommen lassen. Seither hat sich die Forschergruppenarbeit erfreulicherweise so weit entwickelt, dass wir Sie nun heute gerne über aktuelle Zwischenergebnisse und Planungen informieren möchten: - Tagungsband "Esoterik in der Aufklärung. Rezeption - Konfrontation - Integration" Inzwischen hat sich das Erscheinungsdatum des Tagungsbandes "Esoterik in der Aufklärung. Rezeption - Konfrontation - Integration" konkretisiert. Er wird im zweiten Halbjahr 2008 in den "Halleschen Beiträgen zur Europäischen Aufklärung" im Niemeyer-Verlag Tübingen erscheinen. - Tagungsband zum Workshop "Kant und Swedenborg" Auch der Tagungsband zum Kant-Swedenborg-Workshop, der von Michael Bergunder und Friedemann Stengel im Rahmen des Teilprojekts 3 "Emanuel Swedenborgs Stellung innerhalb der aufklärerischen und esoterischen Diskurse des 18. Jahrhunderts" im August 2006 veranstaltet wurde, steht vor der Veröffentlichung. Er wird noch 2008 unter dem Titel "Kant und Swedenborg. Zugänge zu einem umstrittenen Verhältnis" ebenfalls in den "Halleschen Beiträgen zur Europäischen Aufklärung" im Niemeyer-Verlag Tübingen erscheinen und insgesamt sieben Beiträge enthalten: 1. Inge Jonsson: Die Swedenborgforschung - ein persönlicher Überblick; 2. Reinhard Brandt: Überlegungen zur Umbruchsituation 1765-1766 in Kants philosophischer Biographie; 3. Gregory R. Johnson: Kants Träume eines Geistersehers - Polemik gegen die Metaphysik oder Parodie der Popularphilosophie?; 4. Monique David-Ménard: Swedenborg in der 'Kritik der reinen Vernunft'; 5. Friedemann Stengel: Kant - 'Zwillingsbruder' Swedenborgs?; 6. Paul Bishop: Schwärmerei und Geisterseherei, Aufklärung und analytische Psychologie - Kant und Swedenborg aus der Sicht von C.G. Jung; 7. Wouter J. Hanegraaff: Swedenborg aus der Sicht von Kant und der akademischen Kant-Forschung. - Tagungsbericht zum Workshop "Ordnungen des ,Wissens' - Ordnungen des Streitens. Gelehrte Debatten des 17./18. Jahrhunderts in diskursanalytischer Perspektive" Im Juni 2007 fand der von Markus Meumann im Rahmen des Teilprojekts 1 "Esoterik, Pietismus, Frühaufklärung. Halle um 1700" organisierte Workshop "Ordnungen des ,Wissens' - Ordnungen des Streitens. Gelehrte Debatten des 17./18. Jahrhunderts in diskursanalytischer Perspektive" statt. Über den Verlauf des Workshops informiert ein Tagungsbericht, den Sie unter folgendem Link einsehen können: Auch zu diesem Workshop ist ein Tagungsband in Vorbereitung, der unter dem Titel "Wissen, Glauben, Streiten. Gelehrte Debatten des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts in diskursgeschichtlicher Perspektive" voraussichtlich 2009 erscheinen wird. - Workshop "Der Monadenbegriff im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert", April 2008 Aktuell steht ein Workshop bevor, der von Hanns-Peter Neumann im Rahmen des Teilprojekts 2 "Esoterik im Wolffianismus. Tradierungen spekulativer Theoreme im Rahmen des Diskurses der physischen Monadologie" organisiert und am 3./4. April am IZEA stattfinden wird. (Näheres zum Programm unter: - Internationale Konferenz der DFG-Forschergruppe im März 2010 Bereits im Planungsstadium befindet sich die abschließende internationale Konferenz der Forscherguppe, die vom 9. bis 12. März 2010 am IZEA stattfinden wird. Sie knüpft unmittelbar an die Forschergruppentagung 2006 "Esoterik in der Aufklärung. Rezeption - Konfrontation - Integration" an und wird unter dem Thema "Aufklärung und Esoterik - Wege in die Moderne" stehen. Über die weitere Planung werden wir Sie gerne zu gegebener Zeit informieren. Für heute danken wir Ihnen für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit! Mit freundlichen Grüßen Ihre Forschergruppe "Die Aufklärung im Bezugsfeld neuzeitlicher Esoterik" Manfred Beetz, Michael Bergunder, Werner Nell, Monika Neugebauer-Wölk, Jürgen Stolzenberg (Projektleiter/in); Renko Geffarth, Annette Graczyk, Markus Meumann, Hanns-Peter Neumann, Andre Rudolph, Friedemann Stengel (Bearbeiter/in)

  • 2007-11-07 17:35 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    In addition to the News button on the ESSWE site, we have now opened an ESSWE blog. If you want to participate, please click the link! The rules are as follows: All visitors can read the posts. All members of the ESSWE can comment on posts. All members of the board of ESSWE may make posts to the blog for announcements of events, books, etc. Members of the ESSWE should submit announcements and articles to the editor, Mark Sedgwick.

  • 2007-09-18 17:36 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The topic of the 2008 CESNUR conference is "Twenty Years and More: Research into Minority Religions, New Religious Movements and 'the New Spirituality.'" This international conference is organized by INFORM and CESNUR in association with ISORECEA at the London School of Economics, 16-19th April 2008. 

  • 2007-09-03 17:37 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    Ph.D. VACANCY IN THE DOMAIN OF WESTERN ESOTERICISM Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2007 The Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) is a university with an excellent international reputation. It is located in Amsterdam, well-known as a center for culture, media, and research. The UvA is a member of the League of European Research Universities. The Faculty of Humanities offers teaching and research programs with a strong international profile, within a large number of disciplines in the domains of language and culture. The Faculty is located in the center of Amsterdam and maintains intensive contacts with many cultural organizations in the capital. The Faculty has almost a thousand employees, and its teaching programs are followed by ca. 6,500 students. The Research Institute for Culture and History (ICG) has programs for Archaeology, History, Literature, Art & Cultural Heritage, the Golden Age, and European Studies. The emphasis lies on studying European culture from a historical perspective. Important in that regard is that texts and artefacts are studied in the context in which they emerged and functioned. The program “Western Esotericism: Continuities and Discontinuities” focuses on critical historical and empirical research in the domain of History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, also referred to as Western Esotericism. For a description of the program, see (under “Research”). In the context of this research program, the Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents now has a vacancy for a PhD position (m/f) full-time, or part-time (75 %) vacancy number 07-3050 For both internal and external candidates The intention is that the research proposal will focus on a relevant topic in the period from the Enlightenment (18th century) to the present. The interrelation of esoteric religiosity with all aspects of Western culture (religion, philosophy, art, literature, music) means that the domain of research is strongly interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary in nature; the vacancy is therefore open to candidates from all disciplines in the humanities. ACTIVITIES The candidate is expected to write and complete a Ph.D. dissertation within a period of three years (or within four years in case of a part-time position). The dissertation should be written in English. The job interviews will be conducted in the English language as well. APPOINTMENT The appointment is expected to take effect as of January 1, 2008, on the basis of a temporary contract for one year. After having successfully completed this first year, the candidate will be employed for another two years. The gross monthly salary will be in accordance with the University regulations for academic personnel, and will range from a minimum of € 2,279 in the first year to a maximum of € 2,502 in the last year. INFORMATION For further information, candidates can contact Prof. Dr. W.J. Hanegraaff, Oude Turfmarkt 147, 1012 GC Amsterdam. Tel.: +20 5253570/3571. Email:  A standard format to be used in writing the research proposal can be downloaded from (under “Study Programs”, see “Ph.D. Opportunities”). APPLICATION Candidates should send their letters of application, along with their CV, list of grades, and research proposal in English (or in Dutch, with an English translation), before November 1, 2007 to the coordinator of the Institute for Culture and History, Drs. P.J. Koopman, Spuistraat 134, 1012 VB Amsterdam. E-mail . Applications received later than November 1 will not be taken into consideration.

  • 2007-06-06 17:40 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The CAMBRIDGE CENTRE for the study of WESTERN ESOTERICISM is independent of any academic or esoteric communities. The co-ordinators share an interest in the need for a wider dialogue between scholars and practitioners in the field of western esotericism and in the establishment of a secular space in which an interdisciplinary network can thrive. CCWE wishes to establish a secular space in which scholars and practitioners of Western Esotericism can meet with the aim of promoting a continuing dialogue. It is often difficult for scholars and those more generally interested in esoteric disciplines to meet practitioners, and for practitioners already involved in a group or teaching to gain access to a wide range of scholarly information about the teaching. CCWE aims to provide several spaces where these contacts can take place. Through: - information exchanged via an internet blog; - meetings held in a neutral public space in Cambridge; - through a conference in Cambridge in July 2007.

  • 2007-04-23 17:41 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The draft program of the inaugural conference of ESSWE, hold at Tübingen University, Germany, 20-22 July 2007.

    The draft program of the inaugural conference of ESSWE, hold at Tübingen University, Germany, 20-22 July 2007.
  • 2007-03-02 17:42 | 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.

  • 2006-12-16 17:45 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)
    The response to the Call for Papers for the inaugural conference of the ESSWE in Tübingen (Germany), 20-22 July 2007, has been enormous. The program committee and a selection committee have already begun to evaluate the more than 70 proposals and to work on a tentative program. The official deadline for submitting proposals is 31 December 2006. (See the Call for Papers under "Agenda".) The program committee is very glad about the overall good quality of proposals and the good mixture of accomplished scholars and graduate students. This conference will become a major event. Speakers in the main program will include Jan Assmann, Jean-Pierre Brach, Giulio Busi, Allison Coudert, Joscelyn Godwin, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Moshe Idel, Andreas Kilcher, Jean-Pierre Laurant, Christine Maillard, Martin Mulsow, Monika Neugebauer-Wölk, Marco Pasi, Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann, Mark Sedgwick, Michael Stausberg, Kocku von Stuckrad, Steve Wasserstrom.

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