Occultism in Global Perspective – an anthropologist’s review

9781844657162-Case.inddGordan Djurdjevic just spread a link to a review of the book he edited with Henrik Bogdan on Occultism in Global Perspective. I found it interesting enough to mention here because the review was written by anthropologist Jack David Eller in Anthropology Review Database. This is a good sign for those of us who want to see more collaboration between esotericism scholars and anthropologists. Eller clearly agrees with this from the anthropological side, concluding that:

Occultism in a Global Perspective is a book of profound significance for anthropologists, despite the fact that none of its contributors are anthropologists. Indeed, other than the Comaroff’s work on “occult economies” (which does not take ‘the occult’ particularly seriously), anthropologists have paid fairly little attention to occultism, which is strange and unfortunate. These essays illustrate that occultism is a widely practiced congeries of ideas and rituals, and occultism clearly raises issues of syncretism, globalization, and the porosity if not inadequacy of standard categories like ‘religion.’ Hopefully this collection will inspire more research and theorizing on occultism, esotericism, and such modern forms of vernacular religion, psychology, and social change.

Kennet Granholm and I made a parallel argument for our Contemporary Esotericism volume, which included a call to esotericism scholars taking anthropology more seriously.

Read the whole review of Occultism in Global Perspective here.

Launching the ESSWE4 conference website

Esotericism and Health: ESSWE4 Conference, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, June 26-29, 2013.

Esotericism and Health: ESSWE4 Conference, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, June 26-29, 2013.

The fourth biannual international conference of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) is fast approaching. It’s focused on “Esotericism and Health”, takes place in Gothenburg, Sweden, and – it’s just gotten its own website. The website has all you need to know, from online registration and conference accommodation, to a list of all accepted papers and speakers. Do check it out!

The ESSWE conferences are big events in the relatively small community of esotericism scholarship. With  about one hundred accepted papers, plus keynote lectures, roundtable events, and a secret surprise conference concert, this year’s is going to be a major one. So if you’re still on the fence about whether to go or not, take some time to browse the website. You might also want to keep track of developments, as more events might still be added to the programme. Taking on my ESSWE membership secretary hat, I should also remind you that there are substantial fee reductions for Full and Student members of the Society (application forms here)… In any case: Hope to see some readers in Gothenburg in June!

 

More books for modern heterodoxologists

Inspired by my colleague Asbjørn Dyrendal’s recent spur of book blogging (i.e. this, this and this), I will further bring to the attention three recent collective volumes on themes that should be relevant to many readers of this blog. While some are more groundbreaking than others, they are all important contributions to their fields, namely: NRM studies, Satanism studies, and the academic study of Aleister Crowley.

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A good year for magic (research)

Occultists Franz Bardon and Dion Fortune are the subject of a recent book by Maia Daw.

The first half of 2012 has been a great year for research on modern Western ritual magic. I have already mentioned the publication of my own book, Arguing with 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 in Amsterdam. There are however a couple of other publications that have appeared so far this year as well, which I have been meaning to mention for a while. Let’s get to it.

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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.

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Esotericism, Religion and Science in Toronto – report on the IAHR (part 2)

Following up the last post, here comes a report on the esotericism panels at the IAHR in Toronto, organized by Marco Pasi. As you can read about below, they go straight into a central debate in the field of esotericism studies at the moment.

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IAHR: Two panels

As mentioned a couple of times before, I am going to Toronto next weekend to join the IAHR World Congress. It only happens every five years, and is a big happening in the fields of religious studies/Religionswissenschaft. This year there will also be a considerable presence of esotericism research. Marco Pasi, Cathy Gutierrez and Allison Coudert are hosting a large panel on “Western esotericism and its boundaries”, which, by systematically tackling the issue of the cultural and geographical boundaries of this concept will no doubt be an important occasion for this field of research. In addition there is the “Seduced by Science” panel, which I co-host with Tessel M. Bauduin. For anybody who’s interested, I attach more details about these two panels below.

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Breaking the silence – and some news

Summer time has been upon me and Heterodoxology has been dead silent for a while. Unfortunately, when I look at the pile of things to do these coming months I fear it may stay that way. This is nevertheless an honest attempt at getting things rolling again. I’ll just kick off with some whimsically chosen (perhaps relevant) news:

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