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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2013 in review: Ten notable esotericism related publications

With only a few hours left of 2013, I feel relatively safe that no new earth-shattering breakthroughs in the field of esotericism will be published this year. With that certainty in mind, I want to share with you a list of my favourite esotericism related publications that have appeared this year. The list is obviously biased in many ways, and I am even going to be obnoxious enough to put some personal darlings on the list. Judge this as you may; in any case I think you will agree that 2013 has been a good year for the academic study of esotericism. So here goes, my personal highlights of 2013 – ordered by subjective level of excitement:

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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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