Correspondences third issue and statement on publishing strategy

Game of Thrones addict? No new series yet, but you can read about its representation of paganism in the latest Correspondences.

Game of Thrones addict? No new series yet, but you can read about its representation of paganism in the latest Correspondences.

Those who follow esotericism scholarship online will already know that Correspondences Vol. 2.2 has now been published, and is available for download at the journal’s website. It’s a healthy third issue from the young journal, with three research articles on topics ranging from representations of European paganism in the popular TV shows Game of Thrones and Vikings (Robert A. Saunders), to the question of how modern “modern ritual magic” really is (Christopher Plaisance), to a look at esoteric ideas forged in the context of Fascist Italy (Roberto Bacci). This selection makes it the most distinctly “modern and contemporary” issue to date – although there is certainly stuff in there for those interested in the broad historical lines as well, especially in Plaisance’s article on the continuities in European magical ritual practice.

Besides, there are five substantial book reviews this time, on some important recent volumes that span topics from Gnosticism and Theurgy to Aleister Crowley, Anthroposophy, and modern Satanism.  For a couple of these books, this may even be their first published review.

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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.

 

Book review editor of Correspondences

As was just announced at the Correspondences website, the journal has a new book review editor. It’s me. As is well known, I’ve been enthusiastic about this new journal from the start. Taking on a more active role in developing it further is going to be a great pleasure. I hope to build a strong review section that fully exploits the speed in online publication and the open-access format. We can publish reviews of the very latest literature, and we can make this available to a large population that goes beyond those who happen to be employed at privileged institutions with subscriptions to the existing journals. For book reviews, this is a very attractive feature. I think that authors, publishers, students, researchers and independent readers will all appreciate this fact. So keep an eye on this, but give me a few issues to get it going!

Oh, and I should add: if you are an author or a publisher looking to get a book reviewed, you may email me at egil.asprem@correspondencesjournal.com. Review copies can be sent to my office address: Egil Asprem, Department of Religious Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences Building, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3130, USA.

If you are a student or otherwise have been working on a book review that you would like to see published, I’d love to hear from you as well. We are very interested in considering independent initiatives like that. Just drop me an email.

By the way: I hear issue 2.1 is soon ready. Remember to consider article submissions for 2.2! There will be an official call for submissions later, but here’s an extra early reminder. Have a look at the first issue, 1.1, for an idea.

Published in: on January 16, 2014 at 8:48 pm  Comments (5)  
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Meet the editors of Correspondences

Editors in chief

Editors in chief

Chances are you have seen the new open access journal Correspondences, which publishes peer-reviewed research on  esotericism (if you haven’t, check out the first issue here). In case you were wondering who’s behind this initiative and what compelled them to start this journal, Ethan Doyle White of Albion Calling has published an interview with the two editors, Jimmy Elwing and Aren Roukema. The accompanying rock star image leaves little doubt that the editors and the journal are part of the emerging “next generation”, defining “Esotericism 3.0”. Read about how they got involved with the academic study of esotericism, what kind of research they’re into, and their views on open access publishing and the way forward.

The interviewer also had an article published in the first issue of Correspondences, focusing on witchcraft and Luciferianism. Oh, and while the deadline for the second issue has just passed, I’m sure Aren and Jimmy  would appreciate new submissions!

Open-access publishing and Western esotericism: Greeting Correspondences Vol. 1.1

Correspondences journal header

The first issue of a new peer-reviewed journal for the study of Western esotericism has just been released. There aren’t too many of those around to begin with, so Correspondences is (as announced previously) a welcome newcomer to a small field. The first issue already shows much promise with four articles covering a broad span, even breaking some new ground (read them here). But what makes this journal a particularly important newcomer is that it is entirely open-access. Everything is published openly online (after editorial selection, peer review, copy-editing and typesetting, of course), and shared through social media under a Creative Commons license. Without compromising anything on the side of peer-review (a broad editorial board has helped the editors-in-chief find competent reviewers), and with typesetting that completely matches what the paywall-protected publishers typically can muster (let’s face it: it was never anything too fancy to begin with), the result is fully fledged, quality-approved academic articles that are completely free, open to everyone, and published without the often considerable lag of subscription journals.

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Correspondences journal – deadline fast approaching!

As previously mentioned, a new online journal for the academic study of esotericism was launched recently, with the very fitting name Correspondences. If you are a scholar working on esoteric topics, whether you are already established, aspiring, a student, or new to this particular field, and if you happen to have a manuscript that is more or less ready, don’t forget to finish it and have it submitted to the Correspondences editors before February 28! The deadline for the first issue is fast approaching. Please find the call for papers here.

Published in: on February 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Correspondences” – Launching a new journal for esotericism research

The rumour already broke yesterday on Twitter and Facebook (a bit earlier than planned, I think), that a new journal is being launched: Correspondences: An Online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism.

This is an innovative initiative in several respects. By being all online and open access, it aims to provide “a wider forum of debate regarding issues and currents in Western esotericism than has previously been possible”. Furthermore, however, it also aims to mobilize a currently unused demographic potential in the study of esotericism:

Correspondences is committed to publishing work of a high academic standard as determined by a peer-review process, but does not require academic credentials as prerequisite for publication. Students and non-affiliated academics are encouraged to join established scholars in submitting insightful, well-researched articles that offer new ideas, positions, or information to the field.

In other words, it is a refreshing initiative that aims to be true to some of the most basic ideals of academic/scientific scholarship: that knowledge is available to everyone (thus must also be free), and that it is produced by a rigid application of “organized scepticism”, a communal, critical practice that is embodied by the peer-review process and otherwise blind to social, institutional, geographic, or political background. (Yes, I am echoing old Merton’s CUDOS here). In the the field of esotericism, I think these are very good norms to hold on to, and I am hopeful that this journal may establish itself as a nice and fresh competitor to already existing journals (e.g. Aries), catering to a somewhat different, expanded demographic, and allowing for a much more flexible and up-to-date exchange by being web-based, open, and free.

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Esotericism and Cognitive Science: Aries special issue published (vol. 17:1)

Aries

Aries 17:1 (2017)

The latest issue of Aries has just been published: A special issue on Esotericism and the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR), edited by Markus Altena Davidsen and myself. As we explain in our editorial, “What Cognitive Scienece Offers the Study of Esotericism”, Western esotericism and CSR have developed in parallel over the past couple of decades, each, in their own ways, pushing the academic study of religion into new territory. Given that esotericism is full of psychologically rich sources (from visions and trances to hidden correspondences and esoteric hermeneutic techniques), it seems that much could be gained from bringing these two fields together. My Occult Minds project has already been taking steps in this direction. The intention behind the Aries special issue, however, is to push this agenda in a collaborative way, by publishing articles on esoteric subject matter informed by a range recent theories of cognition, together with a response article by someone in the field of CSR. We were happy to get Jesper Sørensen in this role, a central figure in the “Aarhus school” who has worked on problems that are  directly relevant to esotericism.

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Published in: on February 11, 2017 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Reform among the (people who study) Pagans

Journal of "Pagan Studies" In need of a new name?

Journal of “Pagan Studies” In need of a new name?

For some time now, a debate has been rolling about the status of “pagan studies” as a field of academic research. It’s not that there’s been any doubt about the importance of studying contemporary paganisms; on the contrary, academic as well as mainstream interest in reconstructionist pagan groups as well as magical groups along the lines of Wicca and Thelema, still appears (anecdotally) on the increase. The problem has rather been with the aims and goals of pagan studies as a prospective discipline, as well as the approaches advocated for studying it. In an article just published in The Pomegranate – the foremost (or, rather, the only) peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to this field – the up-and-coming (and highly productive) scholar, Ethan Doyle White (known from the Albion Calling blog), argues that the time has come for reform.

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New ESSWE website – and conference program available

New website, new look and feel.

New website, new look and feel. Breathing new fire into the field.

The European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism has just launched its new website. The old one dated from the foundation of the society ten years ago, and a new, cleaner, more functional website was certainly long overdue. Hopefully this does the trick!

We are also now only a few days away from the biannual ESSWE conference, which this year takes place in Riga, Latvia. The program has now been available, and can be downloaded from the website. The topic is “Western Esotericism and the East”, which should be an excellent opportunity for continuing the discussion on the “Western” in esotericism, and issues of comparison. In addition to keynotes by Wouter Hanegraaff, Charles Burnett, and Alison Caudert, it is a program packed full with a lot of interesting talks and topics, which should make for a stimulating (if exhausting) few days in the Baltic.

Finally, I’ll put on my membership secretary hat and take the opportunity to bring a message to members: you will need to reset your passwords to be able to use it. Luckily, this is a very easy automatic process now (before, I had to do this manually for every single person, so at least there is one person who is quite happy with this new arrangement!): simply follow this link, enter your email address, and take it from there.