“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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Peter Burke, the social history of knowledge, and “agnotology” – notes on a lecture

It’s been a busy spring so far, and unfortunately not much time for keeping this blog running. In an attempt to get started again I will give a brief report on Professor Peter Burke’s visit to Amsterdam last week, and particularly one lecture (out of two) he gave on that occasion.

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