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Conference "Visions of Utopia: Masonic, Religious and Esoteric"

  • 2007-11-03
  • 2007-11-04
  • London, UK
CMRC Ninth International Conference Saturday & Sunday, 3rd & 4th November 2007. VISIONS OF UTOPIA: MASONIC, RELIGIOUS & ESOTERIC CALL FOR PAPERS Papers are invited from scholars of all disciplines, whether Freemasons or not. Papers should contain original, hitherto unpublished research, and be fully documented and illustrated. They need not be narrowly focussed and may be wide-ranging as to the content, chronology, and treatment of Visions of Utopia: Masonic, Religious & Esoteric. The idea that a perfect society could be planned, created and sustained can be traced back to Plato’s description of Atlantis, but it entered the popular imagination during the religious and cultural upheavals of Renaissance and Reformation when, in the early sixteenth century, Sir Thomas More published Utopia, his speculative vision of an ideal society. Since that time speculative philosophers, enthusiasts, dreamers, visionaries and reformers – of every shade of religious, political and philosophical opinion – have presented countless other visions of the ideal society to the world at large, ranging from Sir Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. These visions represented an optimistic view of human society, offering innovative ideas and espousing such values as religious and political tolerance, mutual aid and openness to philosophical and spiritual speculation. Their value to us lies not only in their historical interest and in the intriguing nature of individual utopian visionaries, but also in the significance of their ideas for the improvement of a world in a state of uncertainty and flux. This conference aims to consider the many aspects - historical, biographical, literary, artistic and speculative - of these visions of Utopia, to explore their sources and the variety of interactions between them, including the contribution of Freemasonry as a speculative system to the articulation of utopian visions and the involvement of individual freemasons in utopian projects. Topics for papers may include, for example, real or imaginary societies, such as the Rosicrucians, the Shakers, and idealist monastic and other religious or esoteric communities; such messianic movements as those of Sabbatai Zevi or Hoëne Wronski; established Utopias as with the Jesuit settlements in Paraguay; literary creators of Utopias or Dystopias (Swift, Campanella, Andrea, Bellamy, Orwell and others); socio-religious innovators (Fourier, Thomas Lake Harris, Kropotkin); biographical and critical studies of personalities who have exercised a significant influence or contributed to utopian visions within or upon the masonic community; and the question of hierarchical versus non-hierarchical systems in relation to masonic views of the ideal society. Deadline for papers is 30th April 2007 – synopsis approximately 300 words Enquiries: Carole McGilvery 020 7226 6256


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