ESSWE Thesis Workshop at the Warburg Institute (July 7, 2016)

Thesis Workshop Program 2016This summer, ESSWE organizes its fourth biannual Thesis Workshop – a one-day event where MA and PhD candidates get together with established scholars to discuss papers on a given topic as well as research strategies and career advice. (For a basic idea, check out what I’ve said about the 2010, 2012, and 2014 workshops) This year’s topic is “Magical Traditions and Medieval Religions of the Book”. Unlike earlier years, when this event took place in Amsterdam, this year’s workshop will be hosted by the Warburg Institute in London, on July 7.

As in previous years, the day has two main sessions: an “oratory” (lectures by specialists), and a “laboratory” (group-based discussions of MA/PhD research related issues, divided by period and/or thematic focus based on what people are working on). In addition, this year there will be a round table discussion following the oratory, and an “early career advice” session (which will be lead by Liana Saif and myself).

The oratory will feature papers by Siam Bhayro, Liana Saif, and Adelina Angusheva-Tihanov, with a keynote by Jean-Patrice Boudet. These scholars will be available to participants in the laboratory session, as will the chairs Yuri Stoyanov, Charles Burnett, organizer Sophie Page, and most of the board members of ESSWE.

Check out all the details in the programme. And, please note that this is a free event with a limited number of places. Questions and reservations should be addressed to the organizer Sophie Page (see the programme).

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“Materialization: Occult Research on the Soul” – an esoteric lecture with Andreas Kilcher at UCSB

Kilcher lecture

This summer, the President of ESSWE, Andreas Kilcher, has been located at Stanford University. With me being based at UC Santa Barbara, we found a great opportunity to arrange a small esotericism event at the UCSB Religious Studies Department and the Religion, Experience and Mind Lab group that I am working with. So if you are in the area, consider this event on August 6th: Andreas Kilcher lectures on “Materialization: Occult Research on the Soul”. Scroll down for the abstract (or download the flyer here):

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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!

 

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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.

 

 

 

Looking through the Occult – talks available as podcasts

Voices through the ether

Voices through the ether

Last November I took part in an interesting interdisciplinary conference at the Humboldt in Berlin, on “Looking through the Occult: Instrumentation, Esotericism, and Epistemology“. It moved in the landscape of media studies, history of science and technology, religious studies, art history, and esotericism, and was organized by a scholarly network interested in what they call “nonhegemonic knowledge”:

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Transhuman Visions – Heterodoxology goes to Silicon Valley

I haven’t been long in the vicinity of high tech’s ground zero, but here it is: my occasional work on transhumanism is getting a new spin. It appears I’m scheduled to speak at a transhumanist conference in the East Bay – with such profiles as Max More and Natasha Vita-More giving keynotes. The headline teaser promises a spectacular circus of speakers:

Transhuman Visions poster

BRAIN-HACKING CHEMIST / POWERLIFTING CRYONICIST / PSYCHEDELIC PHILOSOPHER / IMMORTAL CARTOONIST / SINGULARITY PROPHET / POLYGAMIST / MORMON / AI REVOLUTIONARY / TRANSCENDENCE HYPOTHESIZER / SCANDINAVIAN OCCULTIST/ + Much Much More

Guess which one is me.

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ContERN YouTube channel and lectures from 2012 conference

When Kennet Granholm and I organised the 2012 conference on Contemporary Esotericism in Stockholm, and established the ContERN website, we gave our promises that video material from the conference would appear online within a few months. I’m not sure if 14 months can be characterised as “a few”, but in any case: The first material has now been publicized. We started by releasing our own introductory lecture and welcome address. In the short lecture we discuss our reasons for establishing ContERN and organising the conference in the first place, and argue for the need of an interdisciplinary study of contemporary esotericism to take shape.

As explained on the ContERN website, the video is a lot more grainy and static than we had hoped for. We originally had two cameras, but the results from one of them unfortunately had to be discarded. Luckily, though, the audio is pretty clear, so we hope that the documentation value is still fair enough as far as the content is concerned.

Make sure to check it out if you’ve been curious what was said during the conference – and stay tuned for the keynote lectures, which will be released in the coming weeks! Also make sure to subscribe to the ContERN YouTube channel.

“2045, Rapture of the Nerds!” A public lecture in Trondheim, Norway

Singularity Is Near KurzweilIf you’re in Trondheim next week, I am giving a public lecture on some aspects of the transhumanist movement. It’s organized by the excellent club- and lecture initiative Forum Nidarosiae. The lecture will be in Norwegian, but I attach an English translation of title and  blurb below:

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Jakob Böhme Crash Course – BPH/HHP Webinar

There is another webinar out from the collaboration between the BPH and the HHP in Amsterdam. This time, Wouter Hanegraaff gives a one-hour crash course on the wonderfully obscure and fascinating German Silesian Christian theosophist/mystic/pietist (or however one wants to label him) Jakob Böhme (1575-1624). This cobbler from Görlitz was the author of some fairly heterodox theological texts, written in unsystematic, poetic, highly symbolic and mythologizing style. In this webinar, Hanegraaff focuses mostly on Böhme’s cosmogony – or rather, his theogony. In stark contrast to Christian orthodoxy, Böhme held that God was not eternal nor really transcendent, and certainly not immaterial or purely “spiritual”. To the contrary, he was obsessed with “the birth of God” from an original, primeval, unknowable chaos, the Ungrund (“un-ground”). Materiality and corporeality are always highlighted.

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Relocation

Welcome to the Greenhouse

The Greenhouse at night.

This weekend I have relocated to my old home town, Trondheim. In the coming few months I’m going to fill an associate professor position, temporarily, due to a set of complicated circumstances that I’ll not go into here. Having left the Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents in Amsterdam behind, I’ll now be found at the newly restructured Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). My office and all teaching happens at campus Dragvoll, which looks pretty much like a giant greenhouse, in a rural and woodlands area on the outskirts of town. Certainly a change of scenery from Amsterdam’s overcrowded streets!

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