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Winter Programma
Visions of the Occult: Introduction to Western Esotericism

The goal of Visions of the Occult is to offer an introductory overview of the study of Western esotericism. In this two-week online winter course, we will investigate the key thematic aspects of Western esotericism, as they have manifested themselves historically within currents such as Hermeticism, gnosticism, astrology, alchemy, magic, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Freemasonry, spiritualism, occultism, conspiracy theories, the New Age, and psychedelic culture. This program is offered by the Centre for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, the foremost academic institution for the study of Western esotericism.

  • Programme at a glance
    Mode of instruction: Online (2 weeks)
    Academic dates: Monday 18 January - Friday 29 January 2021
    Academic fees: €750 read more about what is included.
    Credits: 4 European Credits. Read more about credits and credit transfer.  
    Winter course admission deadline: 15 December 2020 is the final date to apply. Admissions for this course are processed throughout the year on a rolling basis. 
    Who is this programme for? For current university students (advanced Bachelors, Masters, Postgraduate) and professionals from any discipline. A general interest in the humanities and social sciences and an open mind are necessary.
  • Programme description

    During online sessions and in guided-self study, classes, students 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. Having completed this online winter programme, students will have acquired a solid overview of  the main moments and movements related to the study of Western esotericism, both thematically and historically.

    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. 

  • Academic directors

    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).

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Visions of the Occult: Introduction to Western Esotericism
Mode Online
Credits 4 ECTS, 2 weeks
Language of instruction English
Starts in January