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  • 2018-05-04 15:03 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Due to an unforeseen circumstance, ESSWE7 conference date has changed to 2-4 July, 2019. To register, please see ESSWE 7 CfP under Agenda.

  • 2018-05-01 10:27 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)


    POLESO is an academic network for scholarly discussion about the relation between politics and esotericism. It falls under the auspices of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE). POLESO’s historical scope is not limited to modern or contemporary society but includes the study of historical developments from antiquity to the present. Culturally and geographically, the focus is on Western culture understood in a broad and inclusive sense, while taking into account the relevance of interactions with non-Western contexts. As an academic network committed to critical scholarly debate that seeks to stimulate objective knowledge and understanding, POLESO does not provide a context for political advocacy or activism of any kind.

    Contact: Wouter J. Hanegraaff


  • 2018-05-01 10:25 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The “Network Italiano per la Ricerca Scientifica sull’Esoterismo Occidentale” (NIRSEO) has been founded by Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam), Michele Olzi (Università dell’Insubria), and Simona Cigliana (independent scholar) during a foundational meeting held in Rome on 29 May 2017. The main coordinator is Marco Pasi. The network is at this moment especially active through a Facebook page ( and a mailing list for the exchange of information and news. The aims and goals of the NIRSEO are: 1) To promote the academic study of Western esotericism by Italian scholars, whether resident in Italy or abroad; 2) To promote the academic study of Western esotericism as it may be related to any aspect of Italian history, society, and culture, independently from the nationality of the scholars who carry it out; 3) To facilitate the sharing of information related to the academic study of Western esotericism in Italy or related to Italy; 4) To organise meetings and workshops and to produce publications in its area of interest as defined in the previous points.

    Contact: Marco Pasi


  • 2018-04-30 16:20 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Project AWE (Aesthetics of Western Esotericism) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Los Angeles comprised of an international team of scholars dedicated to exploring connections between Western esotericism and the arts. AWE’s mission is threefold: interpreting the past—contributing to the present—shaping the future. AWE interprets the past by producing quality research, (academic) publications, conference presentations, workshops, public and private speaking engagements, a blog, and guided museum tours, on how the beliefs, ideas and philosophies of esoteric undercurrents such as Magic, Alchemy and Kabbalah can help us fully appreciate the cultural icons of Western European heritage. AWE contributes to the present by organizing exhibitions and performances and promoting visual, literary and musical arts that introduce new dimensions of aesthetic experience. AWE shapes the future by inspiring and supporting talented young artists as they transition into adulthood. In doing so, AWE acts as a platform for interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities dialog that ascribes to the standards of academic institutions, while remaining accessible to the public. AWE welcomes collaborative opportunities and to date has created numerous successful joint programs with important cultural institutions in Greater Los Angeles area such as American Jewish University, Alliance Francaise de Los Angeles, Global Cinematography Institute, and the Los Angeles Scottish Rite.

  • 2018-03-02 22:08 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Politica Hermetica

    Chers amis,

    Nous avons le plaisir de vous annoncer la poursuite de nos activités avec la conférence de

    Daniel Guéguen

    Auteur de « Jean Delville, la contre-histoire »

    Dans le cadre du centenaire de sa mort,

    Péladan revisité

    Des racines occultes pour une esthétique d’avant-garde

    Le samedi 24 mars 2018 à 19 heures

    Au couvent de l'Annonciation, 222 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008, Paris, métro Place des Ternes ou Charles de Gaulle-Étoile.

    Participation aux frais : 15 € pour le buffet qui vous sera servi après la conférence ; 5€ pour ceux qui ne pourraient pas prendre part au buffet. Soyez assez aimables pour donner réponse afin de prévoir l'organisation.

    Pour tout renseignement :

    +33 6 85 73 36 98

    Le secrétaire

  • 2018-02-19 22:23 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    The most recent ESSWE newsletter (Winter 2017, Volume 8, Number 2) is downloadable from here.

  • 2018-02-10 16:35 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Intellectual history, Religious studies, Visual studies:

    The Dignity of Man in Western Intellectual History, Esotericism, and Art

    In cooperation with the Center for Religious Studies and the Visual Studies Platform at Central European University

    Course Director(s):

    Gyorgy Endre Szonyi

    English Department, University of Szeged/Department of History and Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

    Carsten Wilke

    Department of History, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

    Course Faculty:

    Brian Copenhaver

    Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, University of California in Los Angeles, USA

    Moshe Idel

    Jewish Thought, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

    Urszula Szulakowska

    formerly at Leeds University, UK

    Guest Speaker(s):

    Dora Bobory

    Independent scholar

    Julia Gyimesi

    Department of Educational Psychology, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Budapest, Hungary

    The ambition of humans to elevate themselves beyond their natural means and to acquire transcendental insight and power is as ancient as our cultural history. The goal of this course is to highlight some aspects of this ambition that are related to Western Esotericism, thus to provide a solid picture of some key phenomena of mysticism, magic, and occult trends in intellectual history. Special attention will be paid to the historical period of late Antiquity to the early modern, as well as the post-Romanticism era. The topics of esotericism discussed in the course relate to cultural history, art history, film studies, and religious studies tracing the Judeo-Christian heritage. The learning outcome should be the acquisition of methodological tools in order to approach and assess the highlighted phenomena in a reliable scholarly way: close reading of texts; interpretation of images and films; placing cultural representations in social and historical contexts.


    Download brochure (jpg file):

  • 2018-02-05 12:29 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Date: February 20, 2018

    Time: 09.00

    Place: Stockholm University; Room U29, Geovetenskapens hus


    Western esotericism is usually encountered in texts and images and studied in its ideational and aesthetic aspects. We know a lot about esoteric ideas, worldviews, and aesthetic conventions; but what were the people engaged in esoteric ideas doing? From magic and alchemy to mediumship and channeling, esotericism has an emphatically practical orientation. Accessing and analyzing esoteric practice, however, invites challenges that are rarely addressed in the field.

    This year’s ESSWE Thesis Workshop will focus on the methodological and theoretical challenges of studying esoteric practice. What kinds of textual and non-textual sources can we use to address practices of the past? Can we access practice through philology? How do we conduct responsible ethnographic work with contemporary esoteric groups? Can we connect historical research with social science methods? What sort of theoretical frameworks might help us grasp esoteric practices, past and present? How does one write a thesis about esoteric practices? The workshop will address these and other questions through a combination of (I) masterclasses with three specialists focusing on different historical periods, and (II) thematic discussion groups where MA students and PhD candidates get the opportunity to talk about their own work with leading scholars in the field. The workshop also includes a career advice session led by a panel of early-career esotericism researchers.

    Workshop organizer: Egil Asprem (

    The workshop is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.



    09.00-09.15: Registration and Coffee

    09.15-09.30: Welcome by ESSWE President + Workshop organizer

    PART ONE: ORATORY (Masterclass lectures by invited speakers)

    09.30-10.15: Masterclass 1: Dr. Emmanouela Grypeou (Stockholm University)

    Accessing Esoteric Practice in Late Antiquity

    10.30-11.15: Masterclass 2: Dr. Liana Saif (Oxford University; Warburg Institute)

    Accessing Esoteric Practice in the Middle Ages

    11.30-12.15: Masterclass 3: Dr. Kennet Granholm (independent scholar)

    Problems and Challenges with accessing Contemporary Esoteric Groups

    12.30-13.30: Lunch at the Faculty Club (Manne Sigbahnvillan, Frescativägen 22)

    PART TWO: LABORATORY (Thematic discussions in expert groups w/board members)

    13.45-15.00: Group discussions in expert groups. Each student gets to present their research topic and formulate questions to the group. Confirmed participants from the ESSWE board: Andreas Kilcher (ETH, Zurich), Boaz Huss (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Egil Asprem (Stockholm University), Henrik Bogdan (Gothenburg University), Wouter J. Hanegraaff (University of Amsterdam), Bernd-Christian Otto (University of Erfurt), Christine Ferguson (Stirling University), Yuri Stoyanov (Warburg Institute), Nemanja Radulovic (University of Belgrade), and Olav Hammer (University of Southern Denmark).

    15.00-15.15: Plenum Session: Each group summarizes the most important challenges and topics that surfaced during their discussions.

    15.15-15.45: Coffee break

    PART THREE: PhD and Early Career Advice

    15.45-16.30: Per Faxneld and Manon Hedenborg-White lead a discussion of job/career related issues (application processes, job opportunities, alternative career paths) relevant to early-career scholars.

    16.30-16.45: Wrapping up and formal end to workshop


    16.45-17.15: ESSWE Members’ Meeting

    18.00: Field trip with wine reception at the Swedenborg Memorial Church and Swedenborg Research Library (Tegnérlunden 7)

    19.45: Dinner and drinks at Babajan Bar (Katarina Bangata 75) – N.B. at own expense!

  • 2017-12-20 21:10 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    Fondazione Giorgio Cini in collaboration with the Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques (CETOBaC - EHESS) will host the inaugural conference of the European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism (ENSIE) to be held on San Giorgio Island, Venice, on 12-14 June 2018.

    For further information, please visit:

  • 2017-12-20 20:36 | ESSWE admin (Administrator)

    On the 6-7 June 2018 the Faculty of Arts, Religious Studies Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic will organize a conference on the topic of Western Esotericism. The title is “Consciously Illicit: Transgression in Western Esotericism”. The themes of the conference will address the breaking of taboos and the transgression of social and religious boundaries by part of dissident groups and individuals within the field of Western Esotericism. This will include researching their practices, beliefs, traditions, self-perception and how they relate and conflict with societal and religious norms. Finally, it will also address the interpretations of taboo violation in relation to the various historical eras.

    Abstract submission deadline: 31 January 2018

    For more information please visit:

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