Wednesday, 26 February 2014

New ESSWE Regional Network: Central and Eastern European Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism

Just a quick note to announce the formation of a new regional network affiliated with the renowned European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE): the Central and Eastern European Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism (CEENASWE). As Dr. Egil Asprem, the well-known scholar of the study of Western esotericism, informed me in his Albion Calling interview late last year, the formation of this new group follows in the wake of the creation of such regional networks as the Scandinavian Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism (SNASWE), the Israeli Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism (INASWE) and the Centro de Estudios sombre el Esoterismo Occidental de la Unasur (CEEO-UNASUR). Given that three of the main institutions devoted to studying the subject of Western esotericism are located in England, France, and the Netherlands, I wonder if the need is felt for an ESSWE regional network to emerge in Western Europe too over the coming years.

The ESSWE logo
Although I do have some concerns that such divisions could lead to the potential splintering of a field into factions that pay little attention to one another, I think that (on the whole) it is a great thing that the academic field is diversifying and that there is sufficient interest in regions like Central and Eastern Europe to warrant the development of distinct regional networks. In doing so, the academic study of Western Esotericism is following a similar trajectory to Pagan studies, where we have also seen increasing interest from that area over the past few years. This is illustrated, for instance, by Acumen's publication of Kaarina Aitamurto and Scott Simpson's Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Central and Eastern Europe (which I reviewed for the Alternate Spirituality and Religion Review last year), and the upcoming conference on "Neopagan and Native Faith Movements in Poland and CEE", to be held in Krakow in March.

To mark the group's formation, the group have put out a public statement announcing a scholarly colloquium to be held in Budapest, Hungary, later this year:

The East-Central European members of ESSWE (The European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism) have decided to establish a branch organization, CEENASWE – Central and Eastern European Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism
 

To mark this development, the official launching of CEENASWE will include a scholarly colloquium, hosted by the CENTER FOR RELIGIOUS STUDIES OF THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY in Budapest, on 4-5 July (Friday-Saturday), 2014, highlighting the theme WESTERN ESOTERICISM IN CENTRAL- and EASTERN-EUROPE – OVER THE CENTURIES.

20 minutes’ paper proposals should be sent to Karolina M. Kotkowska km.kotkowska@gmail.com and ceenaswe2014@gmail.com (with author’s affiliation and a short abstract) by April 15, 2014. There will be no registration fee and budget accommodation in the dormitory of CEU will be offered.

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