ESSWE home

  • 2022-05-11 10:32 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The newly established Centre for Advanced Studies in Erlangen (CAS-E)
    "Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global
    Perspective" recently published calls for applications for one postdoc
    coordinator position and several junior and senior fellowships. Please see further details in the below pdf files.



  • 2022-05-11 10:09 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The ESSWE Board welcomes applications for organising the ninth International ESSWE Conference, to be held in 2023. The application should include a description of the host institution, a preliminary budget, a suggested theme for the conference, and CV of the applicant. The application should be sent to the ESSWE Secretary Henrik Bogdan ( no later than June 16, 2022.

  • 2022-03-21 19:10 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    In the 17th century Amsterdam became a hotbed of religious exchange, as religious exiles from all over the continent flocked to the Netherlands and especially its capital city because of relatively lax laws on religious expression and publishing. One center of such exchange was the so-called House with the Heads on Keizersgracht, the home of Louis de Gheer and later his son Laurens. Both men acted as patrons to a variety of religious free thinkers and reformers. Figures such as Jan Comenius, Friedrich Breckling and Christian Hoburg gathered in the de Gheer home to discuss their ideas. Today, the House with the Heads is home to the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica and its associated museum, the Embassy of the Free Mind. In the Autumn of 2022, we will present an exhibition on the history of the House with the Heads. In conjunction with this exhibition, we are hosting a conference 11-12 November 2022 on the role of Amsterdam as a haven for religious refugees.

    We invite proposals (by 22 April 2022) of up to 500 words for papers exploring different groups’ or individuals’ experiences (Quakers, Radical Pietists, Huguenots, etc.), the role of publishing in the city, patronage, conflicts between groups, urban versus rural strategies for survival, the role of war in the era and other related topics. The conference is planned to take place on-site, but can accommodate speakers from afar through digital connection. Speakers without institutional support may apply for a travel subsidy. A conference publication is planned.

    Proposals should be sent to Dr. Lucinda Martin, Director of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica and Ritman Research Institute:

  • 2022-03-10 20:56 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    A travel bursary will be available for the ESSWE8 conference, up to €300 per bursary. Priority is given to student members and members from economically disadvantaged countries. The deadline to apply for burasaries is May 2, 2022. Please read here for more information on how to apply.

  • 2022-03-07 13:21 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The Eranos circle originated from the meetings organized by Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn (1881-1962) on Lake Maggiore in Ascona, Switzerland, from 1933 on. These meetings focused on spirituality, mysticism, myth, symbolism, and brought together some of the greatest scholars of the time. The influence of Eranos has been pervasive on twentieth-century culture, and it has gone beyond the boundaries of academic scholarship in a strict sense. This conference has two main purposes. The first is to understand how the legacy of Eranos has had an impact on the humanities and the social sciences: we will discuss the question of universals in religious phenomena, the value and usefulness of comparative approaches, the importance given to myths and symbols, the role of historicism, and the similarities between Eranos and contemporary developments such as the ontological turn in anthropology. The second goal is to explore the influence or the echoes of Eranos on the performing and figurative arts, in particular on music, dance, theatre, and painting.

    Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities

    Detailed information:


    Person in charge:

    Francesco Piraino


    Tel : +39 041 2710228

  • 2022-01-22 13:08 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Arcana Naturae is an annual journal published by Agorà & Co (Italy), that follows a double-blind peer review process. It deals with all “secret” disciplines, namely magic, astrology, alchemy, illusionism, divination, etc. In particular, the journal welcomes papers devoted to the historical study of fundamental notions of those disciplines, such as “secret”, “occult” or “wonder”. Arcana Naturae publishes original research contributions, as well as documented essays on specific points. The journal also publishes editions and critical commented translations, critical reviews, and book reviews ; the official working languages are French, English and Italian. Arcana Naturae is directed by Donato Verardi (University of London) assisted by Thibault Rioult (École Nationale Supérieure of Paris), with the support of the Association Francophone pour l'Étude Universitaire des Courants Ésotériques (FRÉSO).

  • 2021-12-14 12:42 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    New esotericism-related Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Kollegforschungsgruppe) at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany): call for applications

    The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) has recently approved the foundation of a Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Kollegforschungsgruppe) on the topic ‘Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global Perspective’ at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. The Centre’s main goal is to compare the interpretation, rationalisation and legimitisation strategies of esoteric practices from a global perspective, and to carve out why they are successful in different cultural and regional contexts. A mid-term goal is the development of a cultural theory of esoteric practices, which seeks to explain their resilience, their typological similarities across a large number of cases, and their different, culture-bound evaluations. The research group adopts a heuristic working definition of ‘esoteric practices’, which includes a variety of aspects such as contingency management, specialisation, opaque efficacy as well as social dynamics of inclusion and exclusion.

    DFG-funded Centres for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences are interdisciplinary research groups with an excellent international reputation. They have a funding period of four years, with the possibility of prolongation for a second funding period, and combine an international fellowship programme with local high-profile research, whereby a large number of leading experts have the possibility to convene and explore an innovative research topic over a long period of time. With a local staff of at least eight employees, and available funding for up to seven fellowships per year, the Centre will be one of the biggest esotericism-focused research projects in the world in the years to come.

    Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) is seeking to appoint a postdoctoral researcher for the scientific coordination of this research group. The salary is based on the German collective agreement for public servants (TVL), level E14 (100 %). The duration of the position is bound to the approved funding period of four years. The preferred starting date is 1 April 2022. One of the main requirements for the position is fieldwork experience with a focus on esoteric practices in African contexts.

    More details on this call for applications can be found here:

    For further details about the position, please contact Dr. Bernd-Christian Otto:

  • 2021-10-13 19:02 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The 2021 Summer Newsletter (Vol.12/Summer) is out. Please download it from here:

  • 2021-10-12 21:10 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Deadline October 31, 2021

    Place: Tagungszentrum Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland

    Organisation: Andreas Kilcher, Jonas Stähelin, Chloe Sugden; (ETH Zürich)

    We invite applications for a PhD Workshop from January 20 – 23, 2022 in Ascona, Switzerland. Since the early twentieth century, Ascona has inspired and fostered a variety of alternative cultures of knowledge, art, and living, such as Monte Verità and the Eranos Circle.

    This workshop is an interdisciplinary event that brings together graduate students from the fields of history of science and technology, anthropology, history of religions, and art history. The workshop seeks to explore scientific and aesthetic approaches to the occult through manifold lenses, working against familiar disenchantment narratives that scientific reasoning and Enlightenment worldviews alienated modernity from occult practices, the natural world and the divine. For this workshop, the terms "occultism" or "the occult" are viewed in an expanded manner, as an effort to produce and interrogate knowledge of “invisible” realities. Analyses of occultism are thus not restricted to religious traditions, practices and phenomena; they also concern the wider aesthetic and scientific formation and transformation of modernity.

    Proposals by PhD students are encouraged to investigate the epistemic tensions and uncertainties arising from scientific and aesthetic explorations of such invisible realities. We also welcome extra- European, global perspectives, and approaches that consider occultism in relation to the gendered nature of scientific and artistic practices in previous centuries.

    During the workshop, participants will have the chance to discuss these questions with renowned senior scholars. Excursions to Monte Verità and the Eranos Foundation will also be included in the workshop.

    The following keynote speakers will be present:

    Professor Christine Ferguson, Chair in English Studies, University of Stirling

    Professor Beate Fricke, Chair of Pre- Modern Art History, Institute of Art History, University of Bern

    Professor Yossef Schwartz, Professor of Medieval and Early Modern Intellectual History, Tel Aviv University; currently Visiting Professor, LMU München


    Proposals (approx. 300 words) and CV must be submitted by October 31, 2021 to: We will accept up to 20 proposals. Accommodation, including breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks will be financed. Participants must fund their own travel expenses to Ascona and dinners (resp. their universities). Please note that there is an option to apply for travel bursaries provided by ESSWE.

    Please visit our website for further information.

    Organized by:

    ESSWE – The European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism
    ZGW – Zentrum für Geschichte des Wissens (ETH / UZH)
    Chair for Literature and Cultural Studies of ETH Zurich as
    part of the SNSF project “Scientification and Aestheticization
    of ‘Esotericism’ in the long 19th century”.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software