Programme at a glance
Mode of instruction: On-campus (3 weeks) Academic dates: Sunday 10 July - Thursday 28 July 2022 Housing dates: Saturday 9 July - Friday 29 July 2022 Academic fee: €1650 read more about what is included in the fees. Housing fee: €600 and a €75 refundable deposit. Housing is optional. Read more about university-organised accomodation. Credits: 6 European Credits. Read more about credits and credit transfer. Early admissions deadline: Tuesday 1 February 2022. Applications are processed throughout the year on a rolling basis. Regular admissions deadline: Friday 15 April 2022. Who is this programme for? For current university students (advanced Bachelors, Masters, Postgraduate) and professionals from any discipline who ideally have some background in studying and thinking about these topics. A general interest in the humanities and social sciences and an open mind are necessary.
The study of esotericism is a broad and many-faceted field. In the past, it has been described as 'othered knowledge', and esotericism has often been treated as a fringe pseudo-science, or at best, forgotten or obsolete knowledge. However, in recent years, there has been a steadily growing movement within the academy to study esotericism in its many expressesions within a scholarly framework.
The goal of this course is to bring together participants who are passionate about the esoteric and the occult, enabling them to delve deeply into how these studies, traditions, and related currents can be comprehended through developing a flexible yet rigorous scholarly framework.
Throughout this programme, participants will make use of primary sources, as well as secondary literature that clarify the way in which esoteric ideas have circulated and continue to circulate in both mainstream culture and more marginal contexts. These traditions are diverse, and are drawn upon by many historical, cultural, scientific, religious, and artistic movements and expressions, and have come to permeate many aspects of historical and contemporary life.
Our investigation into representations of the esoteric and the occult will go beyond the written word to include film, music, and graphic novels, as we explore together the important movements in esotericism in the past and reflect on how it manifests itself today, in the present. During the programme, participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Embassy of the Free Mind, home to the Ritman Library: the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica.
Dr. Marco Pasi is the Director of the Centre for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents. He holds a Laurea degree in Philosophy from the University of Milan, and a DEA and a PhD in Religious studies from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne, Paris). He has focused his research mainly on the relationship between modern esotericism and politics, modern esotericism and art, and the history of the idea of magic. He is the editor in chief of the Aries Book Series (Brill), and a founding member of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE). He has been co-chair of the Western Esotericism Group at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the General Secretary of the European Association for the Study of Religions (EASR).
Dr. Christian Greer is a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions, and a scholar of Religious Studies with a special focus on esotericism. He received his PhD (cum laude) in Western esotericism from the History of Hermetic Philosophy department at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He also holds Masters’ degrees from UvA and Harvard Divinity School. Methodologically attentive to the material ephemera of underground networks, his research addresses the social history of occultism in the Anglo-American world, the formation of religious counter-cultures, and the popularization of esotericism in the digital era. In addition to teaching at UvA’s History of Hermetic Philosophy department, he has given courses at universities throughout the United States, including the popular seminar, “Holy Hipsters: Postwar North American Religious Heterodoxy” at Yale University. His latest publication is Pawasupotto, a historical guide for the Camino de Santiago de Compostela (in Western Europe) and the Kumano Kodo (Japan).
Mriganka Mukhopadhyay is a Ph.D. candidate at the Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, University of Amsterdam. He is a historian of religion and completed a B.A. (Presidency College Kolkata, 2012) and an M.A. (Presidency University Kolkata, 2014) in History followed by an M.Phil. (Ambedkar University Delhi, 2017). He is currently writing his doctoral dissertation on Occultism in the East: Theosophy in Bengal between 1882 and 1942 which focuses on the Theosophical movement in colonial Bengal and the role of Bengali intellectuals in the global Theosophical movement. His research interests range across Theosophy, modern history of occultism and esotericism, modern Hindu studies, Indian nationalism, and several aspects of intellectual and cultural histories in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. He is also the co-founder of OSAN (Occult South Asia Network), student-representative and ex-officio board member of ESSWE (European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism), and the book review editor of the journal Correspondences. Among other things, Mriganka has taught courses at the universities of Amsterdam and Vienna, organized various conferences and workshop, and published articles and book chapters with some of the reputed international publishers.
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To get a preview of some of the topics covered and get to know the academic directors, listen to Episode 10: Visions of the Occult, of Mokum Podcast. Marco and Christian talk about not only the winter programme, but the study of esotericism broadly, and its importance for understanding the world today.
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