Magic and how to write about it – 2nd ESSWE thesis workshop, July 6, 2012

This summer the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism is hosting its second Thesis Workshop in Amsterdam. Participation is free, and the intention is to provide a one-day platform for people involved with academic research in western esotericism on the MA and PhD levels to get together, discuss ideas and research challenges, make connections with other students, and with established scholars in the field. The workshop coincides with the ESSWE board meeting, which means that a number of senior scholars will be present and approachable.

The theme of this year’s thesis workshop is “Magic”. As with the previous workshop (on alchemy, in 2010), the first half of the day will have lectures on the topic by specialists. This year, we have Dr. Bernd-Christian Otto (University of Erfurt) on magic in antiquity; Dr. György Szőnyi (University of Szeged) on magic in the early modern period; and Dr. Henrik Bogdan (University of Gothenburg) on magic in modernity. So whether you are researching hermetic theurgy, late-medieval grimoires, renaissance magia naturalis, Victorian ceremonial magic, or postmodern chaos magic, this would be an excellent opportunity to find fellow specialists to discuss with.

To get an impression of how these seminars run, and what to expect, check out my review of the alchemy workshop in 2010.

Here is what the ESSWE advert says:

“Throughout the day, international scholars from varying perspectives (cultural, intellectual, history of science) will present papers, discuss issues around framing research questions, and reflect on the importance of developing the skills necessary to successfully carry out research. This workshop will provide an opportunity for graduate and postgraduate students to engage with specialists in the history of ancient, early modern and modern magic, and other subjects more broadly based in the field of Western Esotericism.

It should be stressed that while the focus of our three specialist speakers is on magic, time will be available for students to interact with the scholars and discuss more general strategies for research, such as the issues of definitions, typologies, disciplinary boundaries and interdisciplinarity, questions of primary and secondary sources, publication, networking and other practical matters of a scholarly life. The chronological focus will not be restricted to the Early Modern period, but will range from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century.”

So after the lectures, the rest of the day will be dedicated to discussions and networking in smaller groups, and there will be ample time to sneak up on the specialist that you’d most like to discuss with. Whether it’s your favourite scholar, or someone you disagree intensely with and just can’t wait to argue face to face…

Either way, all the fun is for free. You just need to register, by sending an email to:

Doors open at 10.30, and the venue is the new lovely special collections building of the University of Amsterdam.

Check out the full programme at the ESSWE website here.

Creative Commons License
This blog post by Egil Asprem was first published on Heterodoxology. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] is holding a workshop for academics who want to learn how to write about magic. […]

  2. […] Angels, which deals with that obscure system of angel magic known as “Enochian”. I have also mentioned the forthcoming thesis workshop on magic, co-hosted by the ESSWE and the Chair for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents here […]

  3. […] ESSWE Thesis Workshop in Amsterdam. These workshops (read about the 2010 alchemy workshop and the 2012 magic workshop for details) are usually aligned with the ESSWE board meetings – those rare occasions when […]

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