Lux in Tenebris: ESSWE conference program published

This summer (6-10 July) the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism organises its third biannual conference, in Szeged, Hungary. The program, which is starting to take shape, promises four very interesting days in this historic city of southern Hungary. Among the plenary speakers are world-leading scholars in their fields, including Michael J. B. Allen (Renaissance studies), and Moshe Idel (Jewish thought / Jewish mysticism). More about the plenary speakers here. Scholars and students with an interest in anything esoteric, whether ancient, medieval, early modern or modern are also bound to find many intriguing titles among the eighty or so papers that have been accepted for panel sessions.

As membership secretary of the ESSWE I can also inform that pre-registrations for the conference are about to start. For information about the event, questions regarding payment,  registration, etc., you can check the official conference website, the ESSWE site (which lists anticipated costs, among other things), or  drop me an email.

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Published in: on February 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm  Comments (6)  
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  1. […] esoteric scholar Egil Asprem has announced today on his blog that the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) are having their third […]

  2. As I went through the program it stroke me that there are no cognitive scientists on the bill. Actually it’s all literature, philology and history. Is the descriptive cataloguing of historical data all there is to the esoteric studies? Where are the sociologists studying contemporary occult subcultures? Where are the linguists analyzing phonetic patterns in kabbalistic texts? Where are the neuroscientists flashing tarot cards to subjects in the scanner? Where are the biologists pursuing the analogy of myths as replicators? Where are the developmental psychologists tracing the parallels between the magical thinking in school-age children and the ideas in esoteric literature? Where are the vision scientists decomposing sigils into a grammar of visual primitives?
    Is this exclusivity the price of working in a young research field striving for independence and recognition?

    • Good questions, and I think you have one bit of the answer. It’s a young and small field, which has of course had to cull together resources from the fields in which knowledge and interest already existed. Which has meant Renaissance historians, historians of religion, intellectual historians, historians of science, historians of literature, art historians… The only existing counterweight has been within religious studies, where some sociologists and anthropologists have been interested in contemporary esoteric currents as part of understanding new religious movements, effects of secularisation, etc. When it comes to the ESSWE, it has presently a strong historical focus, but there is nothing in it precluding other disciplinary approaches – to the contrary, expansion across disciplines is something it wants to promote. But it is taking time.

      • (That said, I have to object to the judgment of historical research as simply “descriptive cataloguing of historical data”. That is quite a misrepresentation of what the various subdisciplines of history is about.)

      • I’m looking forward to that!
        I would also love to see you writing more stuff with a cognitive slant. For example, I found your comparison of Crowley’s scientific illuminism and Dennett’s heterophenomenology in Aries brilliant and thought provoking – but just way too short.

        As to the historian’s methodology, it certainly looks like that to folks from Sciences – just one damn fact after another and no reduction.

  3. […] of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) is fast approaching. As previously announced, “ESSWE3” will be held in Szeged, Hungary, on July 6-10. A detailed program of the […]


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