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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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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Kabbalah and Modernity – more than red strings and pop queens

Kabbalah and ModernityI have made a habit out of making the pre-print versions of some of my book reviews available here at Heterodoxology. I was recently reminded of one that I had completely forgotten about: a review of the excellent volume Kabbalah and Modernity: Interpretations, Transformations, Adaptations (Brill, 2010). It is edited by three good colleagues of mine (Marco Pasi, Boaz Huss, and Kocku von Stuckrad), and features contributions by many other friends and acquaintances, but hopefully my review is not too biased. Moreover, symptomatic of the extreme delay in academic publishing, I should say that this review was written in 2010, and only appeared in print last year. The review was published in Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft (summer 2012).

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Wouter Hanegraaff was interviewed by the Religious Studies Project in Stockholm this August, on the topic of what the field “Western esotericism” is all about and where it is currently going. Since Sarah already did a good job (re)-introducing it at Invocatio, I’m simply going to reblog her post here. Do check it out – it’s a crash-course introduction to what the academic study of esotericism is about, by a/the major authority in the field.

Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 7:52 am  Comments (4)  
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Contemporary Esotericism: Updated call for papers

contemporary esotericism

The 1st International Conference on Contemporary Esotericism will be held in Stockholm this August. The deadline for submitting papers is drawing closer (March 30), and there have been a couple of updates – including a new keynote speaker. Check out the call for papers below.

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Esoteric news, January 2012

Among the updates: 1st International Conference on Contemporary Esotericism

A number of newsworthy things have popped up in the world of esotericism scholarship lately, but as I have been tied up with reaching deadlines, they have not found their way to Heterodoxology yet. The solution? A brief list of updates, below. Some of it you may already have read about over at Invocatio, the Phoenix Rising website, or some other etheric place, but no harm is done in hearing something twice.

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International Conference on Contemporary Esotericism: Call for Papers

monas hieroglyphica contemporary lipstick on bathroom tilesAs advertised before, there will be a book out next year on Contemporary Esotericism, edited by Kennet Granholm and myself. The volume brings together well-established and up-and-coming scholars in the field of esotericism, with brand-new research articles on contemporary esoteric topics. In connection with the book, we are organising an international conference on the same topic, to be held at Stockholm University next August. Below you will find the full call for papers. You can also check out the conference website. It’s early, but we will accept proposals as soon as they start coming in, so no need to postpone thinking about it.

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INASWE launched with lecture on Jung and Eranos

The European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) is expanding. The society was established in 2005. Since then it has encouraged the establishment of regional subgroups, to promote research and teaching about esotericism on the local level and on independent initiatives. In 2007 the first such local initiative  was established in the Scandinavian countries (SNASWE). Since last year scholars at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, largely on the initiative of  Professor Boaz Huss, have worked to establish an Israeli Network for the Study of Western Esotericism (INASWE).

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Contemporary Esotericism – a pre-production advertisement

One of the reasons for not writing here very often this spring is that I am co-editing a major volume in my “spare time”. Last week I visited my good friend, colleague and co-editor Kennet Granholm at Stockholm University, to discuss some final issues. This weekend, we ship the manuscript off to Equinox Publishing – a full 689  pages – ending a period with much editorial work. To celebrate this, I’ll kick off some pre-production advertising of the volume, which bears the title Contemporary Esotericism.

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Quantitative heterodoxology

Last week Science published an article introducing the term “culturomics” – the quantitative study of cultural trends. By constructing a database out of the by now 15 million books that Google have digitized over the past years, a Harvard based research team led by Jean-Baptiste Michel have created a powerful searchable tool which makes it possible to create quantitative date for analysing cultural trends. As they state in the abstract:

We constructed a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4% of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. We survey the vast terrain of ‘culturomics,’ focusing on linguistic and cultural phenomena that were reflected in the English language between 1800 and 2000. We show how this approach can provide insights about fields as diverse as lexicography, the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship, and historical epidemiology. Culturomics extends the boundaries of rigorous quantitative inquiry to a wide array of new phenomena spanning the social sciences and the humanities.

In short, this is a tool which has the potential to revolutionise research methods in a vast number of fields. The best part: Google Labs have made the tool (the Ngram viewer) publicly available. Before even starting reading the article I found myself  thinking about a number of applications for my own research and field. Below follow some  rough examples, and preliminary results which already seem to challenge established knowledge in the history of esotericism.

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