Gnosis & Alterations of Consciousness: ESSWE Thesis Workshop

Flammarion woodcut altered

Time for Thesis Workshop in Amsterdam: “Gnosis & Alterations of Consciousness”

It’s an odd-numbered year, and it’s spring (sort of, some places). And it’s soon time for a new ESSWE Thesis Workshop in Amsterdam, the third one in the line (after this and this). In years when there is no ESSWE conference, these open workshops designed for MA and PhD candidates who are involved with some independent research and thesis writing in the field of esotericism, are organised in conjunction with the annual ESSWE board meeting. We’ve had one on alchemy in 2010, and one on magic in 2012. This year’s workshop has just been announced: the topic is “Gnosis and Alterations of Consciousness”, the date is May 10 (a Saturday), and the place, as previous years, is Amsterdam. It is also completely free (although you should contact the HHP secretary to book a place – see the official call for details). A great excuse for spending a May weekend in Amsterdam!

 

(more…)

Correspondences – call for articles issue 3

The second issue of Correspondences is just around the corner. With that comes a reminder that the journal is happy to receive new submissions. If you submit by June 1, your article comes into consideration for the third issue, scheduled for Fall 2014. So if you have an article on esotericism you wanted to finish up and submit, now would be a good time! As usual, the journal has a broad interest in the field of Western esotericism and takes articles that span all historical periods (the first issue had an article on Valentinian gnosticism and another on contemporary Ritual Black Metal – both really excellent in my opinion), and come from different disciplinary perspectives. Manuscripts on theoretical and methodological issues in the field are also welcome. Usually those are a real treat for the hungry peer-review monster…

Peer-Review-Cartoon

 

As announced previously (I’ve got more here), I’m now the journal’s book review editor, and the third issue will be the first properly curated book review section.  So if you have any book review queries, books you’d like to see reviewed, books you’d like to review, or anything like that, don’t hesitate to write me.

 

Religion in the Age of Cyborgs. An essay and a lecture

metropolis-robotWhat happens to religion if the future belongs to the cyborgs? I’ve just written a weird essay addressing this topic, and am currently finishing up a lecture on the same topic for the Transhuman Visions conference in Piedmont on Saturday. The published piece is a response essay that I was asked to write for The Religious Studies Project, answering to an interview with the influential cognitive neuroscientist / evolutionary psychologist Merlin Donald. It’s a strange concoction of evolutionary theory, cultural history, futurist forecasting, transhumanism, distributed cognition, extended mind hypothesis, and cognitive science of religion. Pretty speculative all over, in fact, but fun to write. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing. The talk to the transhumanists is going to be even more speculative, so you’re warned!

New ESSWE network for Central- and Eastern Europe – conference launch event

Launching CEENASWE this summer

Central and Eastern European Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism.

Eastern and Central Europe has been an area of growth for ESSWE in recent years. Now a new regional network is joining the fold and representing ESSWE more firmly on the ground in the region: the Central and Eastern European Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism (CEENASWE) will be launched officially this summer. A Facebook page carries an invitation and call for papers for this event. For non-Facebook users (I hear they still exist), I attach the information below:

(more…)

Esotericism at the AAR in San Diego 2014? Urgent CfP

The deadline for submitting papers to this year’s American Academy of Religion (AAR), in sunny San Diego, is fast approaching. That means time is running out if you want to present a paper on Western esotericism, too. The Western Esotericism Group of the AAR has a pretty diverse call for papers out, and entertains possibilities of several panels including collaborative ones (with e.g. the Afro-American Religious History Group and the Queer Studies group). The ESSWE, now as an associated organisation of the AAR, is also opening up for separate panels. So if you want to take part in what is going to be one of the biggest conference events for esotericism scholarship this year (besides the ASE’s biannual conference), it’s time to finish up that paper proposal! I should also add that the Esotericism Group is up for review this year, so ensuring high quality and good turnout really does matter to the future of esotericism panels at the AAR. Worth keeping in mind.

Below is the full CfP:

(more…)

New Webinar: Marco Pasi on Gustav Meyrink & His Esoteric Novels

The latest in a long series of webinars created by the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica and the Centre for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents in Amsterdam has just been released. This time Marco Pasi talks about the Austrian author Gustav Meyrink (/Meyer), arguably the most important contributor to early 20th century esoteric fiction. The relation between modern esotericism and fiction is one of Pasi’s specialties (check out his work on Fernando Pessoa), and as he tells in this webinar, he’s also been a Meyrink fan since his late teens. For a solid contextualisation of Meyrink’s work, and the influence of his work (including quite a few personal anecdotes), do check out this video.

You might also want to check out the introductory interview with Marco, introducing his new contributions to the Infinite Fire Webinar series.

 

 

 

Esoteric summer course in Groningen, Netherlands

esotericism mysticism summer course University of Groningen 2014

Esoteric summer course – a unique opportunity in Groningen this summer.

For a few years now, and following the arrival of Kocku von Stuckrad at their religious studies department,  the University of Groningen in the Netherlands has offered an MA track on esotericism and related topics, called “Concealed Knowledge”. This has made Groningen one of the few places in the world where proper academic instruction in this field is available to MA and PhD-level students, alongside Amsterdam, Exeter, Rice in Houston, and the Sorbonne in Paris (by the way, the Amsterdam HHP website has a great list of these programs and related networks).

Now Groningen is making a new move, by launching a summer school program on “Mysticism and Esotericism in Pluralistic Perspective”. It is intended primarily for MA and PhD students, and will take place during an intensive week from June 29 to July 5 2014. It’s co-organized by the Universities of Groningen, Erfurt (Germany), Aarhus (Denmark), and Rice University (USA), and promises to “address fundamental questions of concepts and approaches” in the study of esotericism. Definitely worth keeping an eye out for. If you’re working on a dissertation in the field of esotericism or planning to get started on one, this seems like an important place to be.

(more…)

Defining Magic review in full (pdf)

As a couple hundred people apparently discovered already, I uploaded a pdf of the full review article on Defining Magic to my Academia page a few days ago. There are a few minor edits in it too. If you are looking for something citeable, I’d advise using the pdf instead of the three original blog posts.

End of communication.

Published in: on February 9, 2014 at 5:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Patterns of Magicity: A review of Defining Magic: A Reader (eds. Otto & Stausberg; Equinox, 2013) – part 3

[The third and final part of my review of Otto and Stausberg's Defining Magic. This part discusses the five final essays of the book, all of which are new contributions written by contemporary scholars of "magic". Follow hyperlinks to read part one (focusing on the selection of texts) and part two (focusing on the editors' introduction) of the review.]

Defining Magic cover Stausberg Otto

3. Contemporary voices

That we need a systematic approach along the lines of what Stausberg and Otto suggest (or alternatively along the lines of building blocks) is confirmed by looking at the five contemporary pieces representing the current state of the debate. The five authors represent anything but a consensus. Through a broader framework of “patterns of magicity” we might nevertheless be able to put them in a fruitful dialogue.

(more…)

Patterns of Magicity: A review of Defining Magic: A Reader (eds. Otto & Stausberg; Equinox, 2013) – part 2

[This is the second part of my longish review of Otto and Stausberg's Defining Magic: A Reader. This part focuses on the introductory chapter. For part one of the review, focusing on the selection of texts, please go here.]

Magicians?

Magicians?

Patterns of Magicity: A Review of Defining Magic (part 2)

(more…)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,148 other followers