Musée de la Franc-Maçonnerie

The Museum of the Grand Orient de France in Paris will formally change it's name to Museum of Freemasonry: Musée de la Franc-Maçonnerie, in February 2010. The museum, which will then reopen after extensive renovations, will become part of the Museums of France recognized by the Ministery of Culture. More information can be found on the new website: www.museedelafrancmaconnerie.org.
This marks a new step towards the general cultural and heritage sector, an example set by the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London some years ago. (Hopefully, this will inspire the Dutch Grand Lodge, which is currently reviewing the plans for the future of it's collection.)


Vacancy: Postdoc Groningen University

The University of Groningen, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, invites applications for a Postdoc Position (1 fte, 3 years) with the chair of Religious Studies. The postdoc position is part of the larger research framework that addresses "The Transformation of the Religious Field since 1800".
Preference will be given to candidates whose research focuses on the relationship between modernization and religion. Projects may investigate discursive changes in the status of religion in Western societies, interactions between religious systems and other systems (such as the natural sciences, philosophy, politics, law, art, etc.), or related dynamics of modernization.
The candidate will need to hold a PhD in the Academic Study of Religion or in a related discipline. She/he will have demonstrated high-standing academic skills in her/his PhD dissertation and in subsequent publications, and she/he will have an international network of scholarly contacts.
The candidate will be expected to contribute to the research activities in the Department of Religious Studies of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, as well as to applications for research grants on national and international levels. She/he may also be asked to contribute to teaching in the BA and MA program.

For a detailed description of this opening, please see http://www.academictransfer.com/employer/RUG/vacancy/1954/lang/en/.

Copy Francken MS discovered

The editor of the masonic site Pietre-Stones has announced the (re)discovery of a copy of the famous Francken Manuscript with the rituals of the Rite of Perfection from 1783 in Lahore, Pakistan. Information is available on the Pietre Stones website.
Over the years, several modern transcripts of the Francken MS have been brought into circulation, one of which can be viewed on Google Books.

Prescott Director of Research at HATII

Prof. Andrew Prescott (former director of the CRFF at the Sheffield University and member of the comittee of recommendation of the OVN Foundation) has announced that he will be leaving his current position at the University of Lampeter. From January 1, 2010 he will be appointed as director of the Research Department of the Humanities Advanced Technology & Information Institute at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. This transfer will allow Prof. Prescott to once again make a contribution to research on the history of freemasonry. More information is available at the Glasgow University website.

UCLA Postdoctoral Fellowship

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Grand Lodge of California are offering a postdoctoral research position of one year. A PhD researcher, who has recently finished his thesis, will be able to reside at the UCLA from September 2010 to June 2011. He/she will be expected to teach a lecture series on American or European History in relation to freemasonry and will work together with an assistant researcher. A scholarship of $ 50,000, a workplace and a moving allowance are being offered. Candidates can send their resume and three letters of recommendation to Prof. Margaret C. Jacob before December 15, 2009.

Seminar: Jacobites and Freemasonry

On 5 December 2009 the University of Paris IV Sorbonne will host a seminar in collaboration with the journal Politica Hermetica: La Franc-Maçonnerie au XVIIIe siècle et les Stuarts, stratégies politiques, réseaux, entre mythes et réalité et. Speakers are:

- Duchein Michel, ‘Le contexte politico religieux dans l'Angleterre des derniers Stuarts: the Jacques aux hanovriens II’,
- Steve Murdoch, ‘Jacobites and Hanoverian British Freemasons in their Scandinavian Context’,
- Jean-Marie Mercier, ‘Les origines de la franc-maçonnerie jacobites avignonnaise, mythology historique à une repenser’,
- José Antonio Ferrer-Benimelli, ‘La présence de la Maçonnerie Jacobite à Madrid et à Rome’,
- Robert Collis, ‘L'influence des Jacobites sur le développement de la Russie’,
- Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, ‘Le Parnasse the Chaulnes, royal et l'Art, peut-on parler d'une franc-maçonnerie Jacobite au XVIIIe siècle?’.

Exhibition: Freemasonry Unmasked!

The National Heritage Museum in Lexington (USA) has opened a new exhibition: Freemasonry Unmasked! Anti-Masonic Collections in the Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives. The museum, founded and supported by the 32° Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States, houses one of the most important masonic collections in the USA. The exhibition provides an overview of the most uninformed and absurd claims which have been made about freemasonry during three centuries, and shows many examples from the museum's collection of anti-masonic books.

Conference: freemasonry and slavery

The University of Bordeaux will host a conference on 7 and 8 December 2009, discussing the relationship between freemasonry and slavery: Société des plantations, slavery Abolition et dans la Caraibe anglophone, francophone et hispanophone. Speakers are:

- Jacques de Cauna (Université de Pau), ‘Etienne de Polvirel, un projet abolitionniste d'inspiration magonnique?’,
- Eric Saunier (Université du Havre), ‘Les francs-maçons, la traite des noirs et l'esclavage: un bilan de la recherche’,
- Cécile Rivauger (Université de Bordeaux 3), ‘Franc-maçonnerie, esclavage et abolitions dans deux colonies britanniques: la Barbade et Trinidad’,
- François Hubert (Musée d'Aquitaine et Jacques de Cauna): ‘La réprésentation de la traite et de l'esclavage dans les nouvelles salles du Musée d'Aquitaine’,
- François Poirier (Université de Paris VIII), ‘From dreamland to nightmare: the Sierra Leone plantation, 1787-1810’,
- Pedro Welch, (UWI, Barbados), ‘Precursors to Abolition in the British Caribbean: Manumission and Freedom Maneuvers in the Case of Barbados’,
- Dominique Gongalves (Université de Bordeaux), 'Evangélisation, rentabilité et sécurité dans les plantations sucréhres cubaines la fin du XVIIIe siècle’.
- Agnès Renault (Université du Havre), ‘Les esclaves de Français dans les plantations de café Cuba’,
- Karen Bourdier, (Université de Pau), ‘La mère et l'enfant dans les sucreries du Nord de Saint-Domingue entre profit iconomique et sauvegarde du capital humain’,
- Trevor Burnard, ‘Jamaican Planters and the Growth of the Plantation System in Jamaica, 1674-1744’,
- Marcel Dorigny, ‘La société de plantation de Saint-Domingue : l'apport des statistiques de la traite "la connaissance des structures de la plantation domingoise" la fin de la période coloniale’.

Information: cecile.revauger @ u-bordeaux3.fr.

New research centre in Canada

The newsletter of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield and Fraternalism announces plans for a new research centre in the field of study in Canada.
The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Canada aims to raise funds through the Grand Master’s Project (2009-2011) for a Centre for Masonic Studies, to be established in collaboration with the Province of Ontario and Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. The project will be dedicated to the name of R.W. Bro. Charles A. Sankey (1905-2009), principal of the university from 1969-1974 and prominent freemason. His collection of rare masonic publications is part of the James Gibson Library in Brock. The kickoff for the project will be given in a series of lectures in the spring of 2010. Donations to The Masonic Foundation of Ontario, project number 2937, are welcome.

The CRFF has also been approached by the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, which is researching the possibility of establishing a university chair.
And from Brazil there’s news that the University of São Paulo is in contact with the local Grand Lodge to explore the possibilities of collaboration.

Fortunately, the few Dutch researchers who once took the initiative for the establishment of the OVN are no longer alone. Perhaps now we will also see the same amount of research funds and grants being established worldwide...?

New publications

Winfried Dotzauer, Freimaurerei global (Quellen und Darstellungen zur europäischen Freimaurerei, Band 11), Study Verlag Innsbruck 2009, 160 pp., ISBN 978-3-7065-4828-1, € 23.90.

Vence Jean Gaspard (1747-1808), corsaire et franc-Macon, the premier maritime prefect Toulon, Éditions Le Phare de Misaine, Nantes 2009, 75 pp., ISBN 978-2-917827-02-4, € 10, -. Orders: aspoma@rllaperouse.org.

Totalitarianisms - Repression - Expulsion (Papeles the masonería III), Centro Ibérico de Estudios Masónicos, € 12, -. Orders: info_ciem@yahoo.es.

Freemasonry and Fraternalism in Eighteenth-Century Russia, (Sheffield Lectures in the History of Freemasonry and Fraternalism, Vol. 2) CRFF, Sheffield 2009, 20 GBP (approx. € 23 =, -).

Vera Chakmakjian, ‘The Fiftieth Anniversary of The Grand Lodge of Japan (1957-2007)’, CRFF Working Papers 5, available as pdf-download.

Wouter J. Hanegraaff / Joyce Pijnenburg (eds.), Hermes in the Academy: Ten Years Study of Western Esotericism at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2009, 163 pp., ISBN 9789056295721, € 32.50.

CRFF lectures online

The Center for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield regularly offers lecture series, allowing researchers in the field of study to discuss their research. Because not everyone has the opportunity to attend them in person, the CRFF offers these lectures online as audio files. Already available are:

- Professor Margaret Jacob (UCLA), ‘Masonic Secrecy and the Paradox of Modernity: New Archives from 18th Century Bordeaux’,
- CRFF Panel discussion on Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol with Dr. Andreas Onnerfors, Dr. Robert Peter and Dr. Robert Collis,
- Dorothe Summer (University of Sheffield), ‘Conspiracy Masonic Online’.

Listen to the lectures via this link. The coming period the following lectures will be added:

- Robert Collis (University of Sheffield), ‘Chivalric Muses: The Role of Protectresses in Eighteenth-Century Jacobite Fraternities’, November 26, 2009,
- Robert Peter (University of Sheffield), ‘The Image of Freemasonry in Eighteenth-Century British Press’, December 10, 2009.


OVN Research Grant

The OVN Foundation regularly makes research grants available to students and scholars in the field of the study of freemasonry. Before the end of the year, an new call for candidates will be circulated. In previous years scholars were invited to submit their own research proposals, resulting in a large number of international applications. This time, the grant will be dedicated to a specific purpose: inventorying the historical archive of the Dutch Federation of Le Droit Humain between 1904 and 1949, in order to make this collection accessible for research. As all the relevant material is written in Dutch, this time the application procedure will be open to Dutch candidates only.
In future, the OVN aims to alternate between rewarding grants for original research proposals submitted candidates and dedicating grants to resolving a practical problem or hiatus in the field of study, such as making masonic collections available for research. As the OVN has recently expanded its aims to include western esoteric currents related to freemasonry, a broader scope of research subjects will be accepted in the future. For more information: info@stichtingovn.nl.


Leiden University lectures postponed

De lecture series on freemasonry, which was to take place at the Leiden University from september onwards, has been postponed.
For more information, please contact the Faculty of Humanities, Mrs. Dr. J.G. Mooi, j.g.mooi@let.leidenuniv.nl, + 31 (0)71 5272570.


New publication: REHMLAC

The CRF newsletter announces the first issue of a new acedemic online-journal: REHMLAC (Revista de Estudios de la Masoneria Latinoamericana y Caribeña, ISSN 1659-4223). The first volume is a special selection of fifteen papers presented at two conferences in La Habana in 2007 and 2008. Among many other authors are contributions by José Antonio Ferrer Benimeli, Andreas Önnerfors, Eric Saunier and Miguel Guzmán-Stein.

Conference German QC study lodge

The German study lodge 'Quatuor Coronatí' is hosting a conference on 10 and 11 October 2009 on the theme of 'Religion und religiöse Aufklärung in der Freimaurerei'. This event is also accessible for interested non-members. Speakers are:

- Ronald Pokoyski MA, Jena, 'Erscheinungsformen des Religiösen';
- Prof. Dr. Monika Neugebauer-Wölk, Halle, 'Esoterische Religiosität und ihre Bedeutung für die Freimaurerei';
- Prof. Dr. Jan Snoek, Heidelberg, 'Religion und Religiosität in der „frühen“ Freimaurerei';
- Dr. Mathias Pöhlmann, Berlin, 'Gottesdienst und freimaurerisches Ritual: Überscheidungen, Unterschiede, Gegensätze';
- Prof. Dr. Herbert Schnädelbach, Hamburg, 'Die Bedeutung der Religion in der deutschen Gegenwartsgesellschaft';
- Prof. Dr. Hans-Hermann Höhmann, Köln, 'Zum Religionsdiskurs in der deutschen Freimaurerei';
- Prof. Dr. Eugen Drewermann, Paderborn, 'Wozu Religion?'.

For more information and registration, please contact: Winfried Brinkmann, wibrin@htp-tel.de


Lecture series on freemasonry at the Leiden University

[Update 5-9-2009: Please note that this lecture series has been postponed.]

The chair for the History of Freemasonry as an Intellectual Current and Socio-cultural Phenomenon at the Leiden University will offer a lecture series after the summer: Freemasonry: Its History of Ideas and Cultural Heritage . The lectures are presented by prof. dr. Malcolm Davies and will this time be offered in the English language in order to allow international students can participate. The program is as follows:

- 11 September: Introduction: What is freemasonry? A short history;
- 18 September: Symbols in freemasonry; an explanation of the most well-known symbols;
- 25 September: The rituals of freemasonry, origin, form and content;
- 2 October: Music and freemasonry; the music of Naumann, Nicolaï, Sibelius, Pijper and others;
- 9 October: The poetry of freemasonry, songs and short poems for lodge use. The longer (celebratory) poems and cantatas;
- 16 October: Plays with freemasonry as a topic; actors and musicians;
- 23 October: Freemasonry in literature, from Telemachus via the ‘Bildungsroman’ to Dutch literature in the 20th century;
- 30 October: Freemasonry and esotericism in art. The tableau. The exhibitions of the ‘Ordre de la Rose-Croix Catholique, de Temple et du Gral’;
- 6 November: Freemasonry and the esoteric in architecture;
- 13 November: Mozart and freemasonry, his cantatas, funeral music and opera;
- 20 November: The history of ideas in freemasonry (1);
- 27 November: The history of ideas in freemasonry (2).

This lecture series is open to both regular students and listeners. On completion students are aware of the structure, symbolism and cultural heritage of freemasonry as an important social phenomenon. They will be aware of the role of freemasonry and related esoteric currents in European society. They have investigated the forms of ritual, writings, music, drama and art of freemasonry from primary sources. In the case of ritual and drama the investigation will include an element of re-creation. Students will gain a knowledge of the most important secondary sources. For assessment students will have the choice of a written examination or a research paper.

Registration is obligatory, participation costs are (for non-students) € 175, -. For further information or to apply please contact the Institute of Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities: Mrs. Dr. J.G. Mooi, by email j.g.mooi@let.leidenuniv.nl, or by phone: + 31 71 5272570.

Decision on Dutch masonic heritage postponed

The planned move of the Cultural Masonic Centre from The Hague has (fortunately) been postponed!
As mentioned earlier on this blog, the Order of Freemasons under the Grand East of the Netherlands is planning to move its offices and historical collections to a lodge building elsewhere in the Netherlands. This plan has caused concerns in both masonic and academic circles. Not only because this would sever the nearly 300-year old cultural and historical ties between the collections and The Hague, but would also mean a physical separation from related museum and archive collections, as well as nearby University Chairs for the field of study. The fact that the criteria for proposals to be submitted for the new housing did not include clear guidelines to ensure professional, museum standard facilities for this internationally renowned collection, was especially worrysome.
At the yearly meeting of lodges in 2008 members voted on proposals for the new housing as submitted by delegates of various provinces. The plans from the lodges in Bilthoven and Arnhem were selected to be explored further. Since then, the Grand Lodge has studied these concepts and decided that new facts and changed circumstances were a reason to advice its members to vote against these plans in the yearly meeting of 2009. In June the plans were indeed rejected. Instead, it was decided to form a committee which will take a fresh look at the criteria for the new housing. More importantly, the committee will consider if it is really necessary to house the collection at the same location at the Order's offices, as both have very different needs.
Since the plan was first introduced, the OVN Foundation has made a plea for the cultural and historical importance of the collection, as well as the unbreakable ties with The Hague and the physical needs of this unique Dutch heritage to be the foundation of the decisions process. The OVN is therefore delighted at the news, although the postponement does not take away any of the concerns for the future of the collection. Hopefully the committee will not be limited to include the usual knowleadgable members of the Order, but will also invite independent specialists from the (profane) museum and heritage sector to provide expert advice. Perhaps then the scenario of a looming cultural disaster can still be avoided.

Conference: Hermes in the Academy

How time flies! It is already ten years ago that the Chair for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents was founded at the University of Amsterdam. During the last decade, the chair has made a considerable contribution to the field of study by setting up a BA- and MA-trajectory on the history of Western Esotericism, by publishing the succesfull Aries journal and book series in cooperation with Brill Academic Publishers, by organizing numerous conferences and by stimulating the foundation of ESSWE. Not to mention the many publications produced by the chair's research team... The chair also supported and joined the activities of the OVN during this time.
To mark this milestone, the chair will host a conference on the theme of Hermes in the Academy on 28th August 2009 in Amsterdam, and will also present a book on the subject.
More information and the full program are available at the chair's website. Please note that early registration is required.


Freemasonry and facism

The 10th volume of the German academic book series Quellen und Darstellungen zur europäischen Freimaurerei has just been published. The title is: Freimaurerei und europäischer Faschismus.
The relationship between freemasonry and fascism has for a long time been somewhat of a taboo subject, but has more recently become a focus point of researcher in the field of study. The authors of this volume discuss the complex relationship between European fascism, as well as it's differentiation into German National Socialism, Austrian and Itialian fascism, the 'Action française' and Franco's regime in Spain. Fascisme is presented as a European historical phenomenen, which has developed into different branches, which both overlap and differ from each other. With this book the authors aim to fill in a gap in our knowledge of the more recent history of freemasonry.

Publication: Helmut Reinalter (ed.), Freimaurerei und europäischer Faschismus (Quellen und Darstellungen zur europäischen Freimaurerei, Band 10), Studienverlag, Innsbruck/Wien/Bozen 2009, 120 pages, ISBN 978-3-7065-4711-6, € 22.90.


Call for papers CRFF

The Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism invites papers and panel proposals for a conference at the University of Sheffield on 16 and 17 September 2010. Paper and panel proposals may cover any aspect of the conference theme: 'British freemasonry in the long Eighteenth century', based upon original research. The conference organisers especially encourage submissions from young researchers in the field of study. The deadline for submission of proposals (max. 350 words) is 1 October 2009. For information and registration please contact: Dr. Andreas Önnerfors, a.onnerfors@sheffield.ac.uk.


Swiss masonic library online

The Bibliotheca Masonica August Belz in Switserland has been working on an online database to facilitate research of its collection. Since March 2009, all titles have been included in the database, which can be searched online here.

Exhibition: Freemasonry and the French Revolution

The Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London is showing an exhibition on 'Freemasonry and the French Revolution' from 1st July until 18th December 2009. The French Revolution which began in 1789 changed forever the relationship between freemasonry and the state. In England, freemasonry was non-political and the discussion of politics at Masonic meetings was forbidden (as continues to be the situation today) but after 1789 English freemasons had to deal with the consequences of revolutionary politics and Masonic lodges avoided closure only by agreeing to register lists of their members with local authorities. This remained a legal requirement until 1967 when the Labour Government led by Harold Wilson abolished the Unlawful Societies Act. Freemasonry had spread from Britain across continental Europe in the early 1700s and there freemasons were blamed for causing the Revolution and the subsequent political and social unrest which many countries experienced. The suspicion of freemasonry which arose at that time has had a longlasting impact on politics and society. The exhibition traces the impact of the Revolution on freemasonry in England and Europe.
Those unable to visit London may be interested in the Museum's online exhibitions, which are regularly expanded to include new topics.

Conference: Dissemination of masonic practices

The University of Nice-Sophia Antipoulis hosts a conference on 2 and 3 July 2009 on the subject of 'Diffusions et circulations des pratiques maçonniques en Europe et en Méditerranée, XVIIIe-XIXe siècles'. The full program can be viewed on the Pietre Stones website. Contact information: Centre de la Méditerranée Moderne et Contemporaine-MSH de Nice, cmmc@unice.fr

Call for papers: Women and freemasonry

The organizers of the upcoming conference 'Women and freemasonry since the Enlightenment' have distributed the following call for papers:

Today women are still largely absent from Masonic lodges. Yet few rational arguments can be summoned to account for such an exclusion. The argument of tradition, which is the most frequently put forward, only holds for Anderson's Constitutions as no such explicit ban against women can be found in the Old Charges. The significance of Elisabeth Aldworth St Leger's initiation by an Irish Lodge is probably more symbolical than historical as it was a single occurrence never repeated. Yet the event was never denied by the Irish masons at the time, although it probably deterred the "brethren" from renewing the experience and mostly reinforced their convictions on the issue of female initiation. Women however did enter the lodges afterwards, first in the lodges of adoption, and later in co-masonry as well as specific female lodges.

The lodges of adoption have sometimes been considered as a low key form of masonry, a kind of ersatz masonry meant to humour women. Yet their importance and significance should not be underplayed as Margaret Jacob and Janet Burke in particular have recently shown. The lodges of adoption which emerged in Holland and France during the Enlightenment highlight the main features of women's commitment in those days, with the same limitations, namely the elitist and aristocratic component. Yet they conveyed some important values, let alone possibly through their rituals, and they allowed women to play an unprecedented part in the public sphere, not unlike the celebrated "French salons".

We may wonder whether those lodges merely reflected the society of their time or whether they anticipated and even encouraged the emancipation of women. How emblematical are they of Enlightenment sociability? Quite significantly the adoption lodges lost lustre at the same time as the Enlightenment. When they emerged again as the Eastern Star in the United States in the following century they were quite different. The nineteenth century Masonic world was predominantly a male one and it would be interesting to find the reasons why. One has to wait till the end of the 19th century to find a female presence again in Masonic lodges with women such as Annie Besant, Madame Blavatsky, Clémence Royer or Louise Michel, sometimes in close connection with the Theosophical Society, as in the case of Annie Besant.

The conference shall endeavour to identify the main evolutions in women's commitment, both through co masonry, which appeared at the end of the nineteenth century and through female lodges which date back to the twentieth century only. All those women fought for equality, but some hoped to reach it alongside with men while others opted for autonomy in separate lodges. We shall try to understand those choices both in terms of structures and rituals. We shall focus on the social composition of co masonry and women's lodges, and try to assess how far they committed themselves to the society of their time or preferred to remain discreet. Women's' lodges developed in some countries only, we shall try to suggest possible explanations for such disparity. Lodges and Grand Lodges as well as individual itineraries will be studied.

The different factors of exclusion need to be addressed:
- the cultural, social and political factor. Is there a direct link between the development of co masonry and women's lodges on the one hand and social progress, women's emancipation and strong feminist movements in the twentieth and twenty first centuries? Why do Scandinavian countries, which have become respectful of women's rights, or the United Kingdom, the Suffragettes' country which enfranchised women long before France, lag behind in terms of female initiation?
- the religious factor. How far does the religious context inform the issue of women's initiation? Can one identify different attitudes in Catholic, Protestant, Islamic or Orthodox countries?
- the Masonic factor : the rift between English speaking freemasonry and "liberal" freemasonry dates back to 1877, when the Grand Orient de France decided to grant complete liberty of conscience to its members instead of imposing a belief in the Supreme being. Curiously enough the issue of women's admission into freemasonry has also been a dividing one ever since that time. English speaking Grand Lodges and their affiliates exclude women, whereas "liberal" ones accept the idea of initiation, even if the statement needs to be qualified for the latter.

Several levels of exclusion can be identified today : women can either be considered as unfit for initiation, which is still officially the case in the United Kingdom, the USA and in all the Grand Lodges which pay allegiance to the United Grand Lodge of England and in the Prince Hall Grand Lodges, or their presence can be accepted and encouraged but in separate organizations, not considered as Masonic but meant to enhance the male lodges through their charity work: this is the case of the Eastern Star chapters. As to the Women Freemasons, they are still deprived of official recognition by the United Grand Lodge of England. Finally, the "liberal" Grand Lodges are themselves divided on the issue of women's admission into the lodges. Some have opted for co masonry; others have put the admission of women on the agenda, while others reject the very notion.
How far can one speak of Masonic universalism, how far does gender inform the Masonic issue? The conference purpose is twofold. It shall address the problem of women's exclusion under its various guises and try to uncover some of the motivations, and it shall also concentrate on the specificity of female freemasonry both in time and space, from the earliest lodges to the modern ones, in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Conversely we shall wonder how feminist criticism has viewed women's freemasonry, from the lodges of adoption to contemporary lodges. The organizers welcome different approaches, and would like the historical and geographical scopes to be broad enough to allow for a better understanding of differences, common points and evolutions.

The conference is the result of cooperation between several research institutes: Lumières Nature Société, Université de Bordeaux 3 sponsored by the Conseil Régional d'Aquitaine; CELFF, CNRS, Université de Paris IV Sorbonne; Laboratoire CIRTAI-IDEES, équipe de l'UMR 6228 (CNRS) Université du Havre; Sheffield Centre for Research into Freemasonry, Université de Sheffield; Centre de recherche sur la franc-maçonnerie; FREE, Université de Bruxelles; Center for the Study of Women, UCLA and Université Sapienza, Rome.

Conference: 'Women and freemasonry since the Enlightenment', 17-19/06/2010, at Bordeaux University and Musée d'Aquitaine. Contact: Cecile.revauger@u-bordeaux3.fr


Call for papers: American Freemasonry

The National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts (USA) announces a call for papers for its first biannual symposium, 'New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism', to be held on Friday, April 9, 2010 at the Museum.
The National Heritage Museum is an American history museum founded and supported by Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the US. As the repository of the largest collection of American Masonic and fraternal objects, books and manuscripts in the United States, the Museum aims to foster new research on American fraternalism and to encourage the use of its scholarly resources.

The symposium seeks to present the newest research on American fraternal groups from the past through the present day. By 1900, over 250 American fraternal groups existed, numbering six million members. The study of their activities and influence in the United States, past and present, offers the potential for new interpretations of American society and culture. Diverse perspectives on this topic are sought; proposals are invited from a broad range of research areas or any combination of disciplines, and may forcus on any time periods. Possible topics include:

• Comparative studies of American fraternalism and European or other international forms of fraternalism
• Prince Hall Freemasonry and other African-American fraternal groups
• Ethnically- and religiously-based fraternal groups
• Fraternal groups for women or teens
• Role of fraternal groups in social movements
• The material culture of Freemasonry and fraternalism
• Anti-Masonry and anti-fraternal movements, issues and groups
• Fraternal symbolism and ritual
• The expression of Freemasonry and fraternalism through art, music, and literature
• Approaches to Freemasonry – from disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transnational perspectives; the historiography and methodology of the study of American fraternalism

Proposals for papers of 30 minutes are welcomed. These should include an abstract (max. 400 words), c.v. (max. 2 pages), affiliation and full contact details of the speaker. Deadline for submissions is August 15, 2009. Contact address: mrs. Aimee E. Newell, Senior Curator of Collections, National Heritage Museum, anewell@monh.org.

Scholars at CRFF and UCLA

The Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield has announced an addition to its scholarly team: Róbert Péter (PhD, University of Szeged, Hungary). He will be a visiting scholar until September 2009, made possible by the British Academy Visiting Fellowship Scheme and an Eötvös Scholarship from the Hungarian government.
Péter's research focuses on ideological aspects of English freemasonry. His thesis on the subject of The Mysteries of English Freemasonry: Janus-Faced Masonic Ideology and Practice Between 1696 and 1815 was completed in 2006. Péter is review editor for the Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism.

The CRFF Newsletter also mentions the award of a post-doctoral fellowship in the history of fraternalism and freemasonry at the History department at the University of California in Los Angeles (USA) to mrs. Natalie Bayer, (Ph.D. Rice University). Bayer's research focusses on Russian freemasonry, and foreign contacts in the period 1750 to 1850. In addition, a Research Assistantship at UCLA will go to Matthew Crow, graduate student in American history with an interest in republicanism and Thomas Jefferson. Both scholars will develop one course each at UCLA on the history of European and American fraternalism and freemasonry.


The Oxford Architectural History Seminar will be held in St. John's College in Oxford this May. This series of lectures will focus on the famous park and house in Chiswick near London. On 18 May 2009 James Campbell (University of Cambridge) will discuss 'Wren and Freemasonry: separating myth from fact'. More information: geoffrey.tyack@kellogg.ox.ac.uk


New online journal

The Revista de Estudios Históricos de la Masonería Latinoamericana y Caribeña (REHMLAC) is a new academic electronic open-access journal, which will include Spanish, French, English and Portuguese contributions. The editors are inviting submissions (deadline 20/04/2009). For more information and submissions, please contact: cehmlac@gmail.com

Freemasonry & Fraternalism in the Middle East

The Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield has announced a new publication:

The volume Freemasonry and Fraternalism in the Middle East comes out of a series of lectures held in the autumn of 2008. The Centre succeeded in attracting leading international specialists to deliver lectures on this hitherto largely neglected field of research. The scope of the papers ranged from the early eighteenth-century up to the beginning of the twentieth-century and included topics related to the Ottoman Empire, Iran and India. Authors are: Thierry Zarcone, Dorothe Sommer, Isaac Lubelsky, Mangol Bayat and Paul Dumont with an introduction and postlude by Andreas Önnerfors.
This is Volume 1 of the new publication series Sheffield Lectures on the History of Freemasonry and Fraternalism

To view the Table of Contents, access the CRF website under “Publications”. For information about the speakers and abstracts of the papers, access “News and Events”.


Le Droit Humain's historical archive

The Dutch Federation of the International Order of Mixed Freemasonry 'Le Droit Humain' is preparing the move of its historical library and archives, dating back to the foundation of it's first lodge in 1904. The planned move provided a good opportunity to make a start with the necessary conservation and registration of the collection. The whole archive is transferred to acid-free boxes, and all files are noted in a basic registration, which can be used to make a more detailed inventory at a later date. The OVN Foundation has an advisory rol in this process, and is also assisting the daily work.
At the upcoming national meeting of Le Droit Humain it will be decided where this historical collection will be housed. Options are: realising new housing using the Order's own means or finding room within an existing heritage organisation, where conditions for storage are already available at an optimal level. The possibilities to make the archive between 1904-1945 accessible for research will also be considered.

[Photo 1: The uninventoried archive in it's old depot. Photo 2: All files are wrapped in acid-free archive folders and then transferred to acid-free cardbord boxes, in order to prevent decay.]


Call for book proposals: Suny Press

The series Western Esoteric Traditions, published by SUNY Press, is now in its twentieth year and contains over fifty volumes. Authors include Antoine Faivre, Wouter Hanegraaff, and Arthur Versluis. The series is currently open to submissions. Send queries or proposals for books to David Appelbaum, series editor, Department of Philosophy, State University College, New Paltz, NY 12561, USA.

AAR conference 2009

The Western Esotericism Group of the American Academy of Religion is preparing several sessions for the yearly conference, which in 2009 will be held in Montreal, Canada, on 7-10 November.
A first session will discuss the topic of science and Western Esotericism. A persistent theme, particularly in alchemical, pansophic, theosophical, and similar works from the Renaissance to the present is a longing for a universal science that would provide a holistic understanding of the varied dimensions of human experience. Papers will address the topic of esotericism and Western science either from a theoretical point of view or by studying specific historical cases from earliest times to the present. The second session is cosponsored with the Religion, Media, and Culture Group. The chosen topic is the commodification of the esoteric, which will address the way various media, both in the past and present, promote the comodification and consumption of esoteric knowledge. The third session deals with the supernatural and the demonic in popular culture, and is cosponsored with the Religion and Popular Culture Group. More information: Allison P. Coudert (University of California, Davis), apcoudert@ucdavis.edu


Masonic Medals

The Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London is organising am evening lecture on Wednesday 25th March 2009. In 'Symbolism Made Metal' the curator, Mark Dennis, will talk about a lesser known part of the collection- Masonic medals often produced to commemorate special events or individuals. A special display of these medals will be on show for the evening. For bookings and information: libmus@ugle.org.uk

New publications

Karlheinz Gerlach, Die Freimaurer im Alten Preußen 1738-1806. Die Logen in Pommern, Preußen und Schlesien, Studienverlag, Innsbruck 2008 (Quellen und Darstellungen zur europäischen Freimaurerei, Band 9), 1032 pages, ISBN 978-3-7065-4383-5. Price: € 144,90. This second book in the series to describe the development, membership and social engagement of German lodges also included annotated membership lists.

Dr. I. Erdtsieck, Maçons met mededogen. De politieke en maatschappelijke invloed van de vrijmetselarij op de samenleving, Uitgeverij gegarandeerd onregelmatig, ISBN: 978-90-78641-13-1. Price: € 19,50. The history of lodge Le Profond Silence in Kampen, described in biographies of seven influential members.

Isabel Martín Sánchez, El mito masónico en la prensa conservador (Vol II), Escuadra y Compás, Tenerife 2008, ISBN: 978-84-8382486-3, 632 Págs. Price € 23,95. Study of anti-masonic attitudes expressed in four important Spanish journals.

'La Franc-maconnerie et la Culture Russe', special issue Slavica Occitania (2007) 24, for resumes of articles see website, including:
- Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, 'Marie-Daniel Bourrée de Corberon et Karl-Heinrich von Heyking: deux itinéraires maçonniques entre Paris, Varsovie et Saint-Pétersbourg, à la tombée des Lumières';
- Alexandre Stroev, 'Francs-maçons aventuriers et voyageurs au XVIIIe siècle';
- Vladislav Rjéoutski, 'Les Français dans la franc-maçonnerie russe au siècle des Lumières: hypothèses et pistes de recherche';
- Fabian Linde/Sergeï Tchougounnikov, 'Les influences suédoises sur la franc-maçonnerie russe: des “architectes” du Nord parmi les “bâtisseurs” russes';
- Natalia Kotchetkova, 'Les femmes et la franc-maçonnerie russe du XVIIIe siècle et du début du XIXe';
- Hélène Yvert-Jallu, 'La Société Savante Amicale';
- Elena Bespalova, 'Les francs-maçons de Simbirsk au XVIIIe siècle et au début du XIXe';
- Galina Mirolioubova/Irina Oukhanova, 'Objets maçonniques russes de la fin du XVIIIe siècle et du début du XIXe dans les collections de l'Ermitage';
- Mikhail Lepekhine, 'Iakov Ivanovitch de Saint-Glin (1776-1864), franc-maçon pour le service du tsar';
- Jean Breuillard, 'La loge russe de Maubeuge (1817-1818)';
- Philippe Evreinoff, 'La franc-maçonnerie russe et le pouvoir (1698-1825). Des liaisons dangereuses';
- Andreï Serkov, 'Franc-maçonnerie et politique en Russie au début du XXe siècle (1910-1917)';
- Vitali Startsev, 'Les émigrés russes francs-maçons en France (1918-1939)'
- Vsevolod Sakharov, 'Les espérances du vieil Adam: l'homme dans la philosophie des francs-maçons russes';
- Gleb Urman, 'Tchaadaev';
- Alexander Levitsky: 'Mikhaïl Kheraskov aux sources des Lumières russes : l’influence du “Poète de l’immortelle Rossiade” sur Gavriil Derjavine et Nikolaï Novikov';
- Jean Breuillard: 'Bog [Dieu], de Mikhaïl Кheraskov (traduction)';
- Stéphane Viellard: 'Proverbe et franc-maçonnerie. L'expérience du proverbe chez Nikolaï Novikov';
- Rodolphe Baudin: 'La symbolique maçonnique dans Le Gentilhomme philosophe de Fedor Ivanovitch Dmitriev-Mamonov [1769]';
- Leonid Heller: '«Tout est arrangé d'après le nombre», ou les codes ésotériques de Zamiatine';
- Zsuzsa Hetényi: 'Un pont sur la rivière. Code maçonnique et code dantesque dans le roman de Vladimir Nabokov La Défense Loujine';
- Jean Breulliard: publications: 'Cantiques maçonniques russes en langue française'/'Un incident à la loge du Sphinx Mourant';
- Irina Ivanova: Bibliographie sommaire.

Call for papers: CMRC 2009

The Canonbury Masonic Research Centre has announced a call for papers for its eleventh international annual conference on 24-25 October 2009:The origins of Freemasonry. Scholars of all disciplines are invited to submit ideas for papers on sociological, political, cultural, religious, esoteric and prosopographical themes relating to early Freemasonry. Papers can be wide ranging in content or more narrowly focused, however, all should be fully documented as the CMRC plans to publish a volume of post conference transactions. All proposals for papers (max. 250-300 words) should include contact details and a short CV. The deadline for all submissions is 24 June 2009. For further information please contact the conference organiser at: biee@btinternet.com


Vacancy: Assistant Professor Western esotericism

The Center for “History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents” (GHF) at the University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities, is looking for:

An Assistant Professor (m/f)
History of Western Esotericism in the Early Modern Period

The Center for “History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents” (Geschiedenis van de Hermetische Filosofie en verwante stromingen; GHF) at the University of Amsterdam (www.amsterdamhermetica.nl) is a pioneering institution for research and teaching in the academic study of Western Esotericism. It concentrates in particular on the history of Renaissance Platonism and Hermetism, prisca theologia and occulta philosophia in the early modern period and their later developments; alchemical, magical, astrological, Paracelsian and Rosicrucian currents; Jewish and Christian kabbalah; Christian theosophy and Illuminism; and various occultist and related developments during the 19th and 20th centuries, including the New Age movement.

GHF has currently a vacancy for the position of Assistant Professor (“Universitair Docent”) for the History of Western Esotericism in the Early Modern Period. A successful candidate will have a good record of high quality academic publications focused on one or more currents in this domain, and solid general knowledge of the domain as a whole. As a generalist in the study of Western Esotericism in the Early Modern Period s/he can teach all its main aspects on both undergraduate and graduate levels.
- Research. The Assistant Professor will be expected to initiate personal research projects in the field of esoteric currents in Western culture since the Renaissance, focusing on the early modern period (15th-18th cent.), and to publish actively in the appropriate scholarly media. S/he will also be expected to collaborate in common research activities with the other staff members of the subdepartment, and with staff members of other departements of the Faculty if the occasion calls for it.
- Teaching. GHF offers a “minor” Western esotericism in the context of the Bachelor program Religious Studies (in Dutch), and a full-time trajectory “Mysticism and Western Esotericism” in the context of the Master program Religious Studies (in English). The Assistant Professor will be expected to teach courses in both programs, both in lecture and in seminar settings. If necessary, s/he is expected to master the Dutch language during the first two years of the appointment.
- Organization/Administration. Within reasonable limits the Assistant Professor may be asked to be active in one or more special committees of the Faculty.

Candidates should fit the following profile:
- Ph.D. (or equivalent) in a discipline of the humanities.
- Specialization in, or relevant to, one or more areas of historical research belonging to the domain of “Western esotericism” in the early modern period (15th-18th century), having resulted in academic publications of high quality.
- Active interest in interdisciplinary research and teamwork in the context of the humanities and the social sciences.
- Good didactic qualities.
- Good command of Latin and English non-native Dutch speakers must achieve fluency in Dutch within two years.
- Willingness to develop in a multidisciplinary capacity in order to be able to participate in multiple areas of the Faculty's curriculum.

Appointment: this is a temporary appointment for two years, starting on 1 September 2009. Satisfactory performance is subject for a permanent appointment. The gross monthly salary will range from € 3195 (scale 11) to € 4970 (scale 12), based on a full-time appointment (38 hours a week).

Deadline for letters of application: 23 March 2009. Letters of application, with C.V. and list of publications, should be sent to: Prof. Dr. W.J. Hanegraaff, Fac. Of Humanities/Department of Art, Religion and Cultural Studies, Oude Turfmarkt 147, NL-1012 GC Amsterdam, The Netherlands, w.j.hanegraaff@uva.nl. For general information, contact Mrs. H. Nobach (secretary) at the same address, or by e-mail: hermetica-fgw@uva.nl.


More bloggers!

The Chair for the freemasonry as an intellectual current and socio-cultural European phenomenon at the Leiden University has started a new blog. We have added the link to the list of blogs in the field of study in the column on the right hand side of this page.
Do you know a blog which also deserves to be added? Please feel free to let us know: info@stichtingovn.nl


In an earlier message on this blog, we've announced the new publication by OVN board member dr. Jan Snoek (Heidelberg University: Ritual Dynamics in the Independent United Order of Mechanics (Forum Ritualdynamik 16); Heidelberg: SFB 619 Ritualdynamik der Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg (x + 80).
The publication can be downloaded from the following link:
http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/frontdoor.php?source_opus=8973. Click on 'pdf-Format: Dokument 1.pdf (30.838 KB)'. The file will then download and open on the screen, after which it can be saved to the computer hard disk.


OVN board members

There have been some changes in the board of the OVN Foundation earlier this year. Drs. Anat Harel stepped back as board member on 1 January 2009. Her PhD fellowship at the Leiden University was concluded. Harel is currently working at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam on a project which will integrate the collections with the Digital Monument for the Jewish Community in the Netherlands. This is why she has taken a break from the subject of freemasonry for now. The remaining board members are very gratefull for her support in previous years and wish her success in her new endeavors.

The vacancy has since been filled by André Hanou, emeritus professor at in Early Dutch Literature at the Nijmegen University. Hanou specializes in Ditch literature of the Enlightenment, including the works of Johannes Kinker and Jacob Campo Weyerman. His publications on the history of freemasonry within that context include:

- De Naakte Waarheyt der Vrije Metselaars. Teksten van de 18de eeuwse schrijver Jacob Campo Weyerman over de Vrijmetselarij (The Naked Truth of Free Masons. Texts by the 18th century author Jacob Campo Weyerman), Introduction by André Hanou, Fama Masonic Publishers 2004;
- ‘Aandachtspunten bij onderzoek naar vrijmetselarij in Nederland’ (Focus points in research of freemasonry in the Netherlands), in: Andrea Kroon (ed.), Vrijmetselarij in Nederland. Een kennismaking met de wetenschappelijke studie van een ‘geheim’ genootschap, (Conference 14 March 2003, University of Leiden) Stichting OVN, Den Haag 2003, 51-58;
- 'Weyerman en de Vrijmetselarij, Een bouwsteen’ (Weyerman and freemasonry. A building block), Mededelingen St. Jacob Campo Weyerman 26 (2003) 49-58;
- ‘Kumpels adem. Ontstaan en vergaan van Concordia Vera, 1787-1790’ (Kumpels breath. The emergence and fall of lodge Concordia Vera, 1787-1790), Acta macionica 7 (1997), 375-385;
- Onder de acacia. Studies over de Nederlandse vrijmetselarij en vrijmetselaarsloges vóór 1830 (Beneath the acacia. Studies on Dutch freemasonry and masonic lodges before 1830), Astraea, Leiden 1997 (Paddemoesreeks 3);
- ‘De Vrijmetselarij in stukken’ (Freemasonry in pieces), in: D.P. de Graaf, E.P. Kwaadgras, D.C.J. van Peype (red.), De stijl der Vrije Metselaren, Een maçonniek platenboek, ‘s-Gravenhage 1996, 20-23;
- ‘De Loge Parterre’ (The lodge on ground level), in: Anton van de Sande en Joost Rosendaal (red.), ‘Een stille leerschool van deugd en goede zeden’. Vrijmetselarij in Nederland in de 18e en 19e eeuw, Verloren, Hilversum 1995, 41-61;
- ‘Drift en deugd. Literatuur van vrijmetselaars in de loge Vicit Vim Virtus voor 1830’ (Vice and virtue. Literature of freemasons in the lodge Vicit Vim Virtus before 1830), in: W. van den Berg/Henk Eijssens/Ton van Kalmthout (red.), Haarlemse kringen. Vijftien verkenningen naar het literair-culturele leven in een negentiende-eeuwse stad, Hilversum 1993, 27-46;
- Sluiers van Isis. Johannes Kinker als voorvechter van de Verlichting, in de vrijmetselarij en andere Nederlandse genootschappen (The veils of Isis. Johannes Kinker as a champion of the Enlightenment, in freemasonry and other societies), Deventer 1988 (Dissertation Nijmegen, 2 dln);
- many articles in the masonic study magazine Thoth, including the series ‘Beelden van de vrijmetselarij’ (Images of freemasonry).

Hanou is co-founder of the journal Spektator (1971), the Jacob Campo Weyerman Foundation(1977) and Astraea Publishers(1994). He writes columns for AmsterdamFM radio station and the Herkauwer blog. His knowledge and experience in the field of study are a welcome addition to the board of the OVN.


Call for papers: Enlightenment and Esotericism

The next International Conference of the DFG Research Group 'The Enlightenment in the referential Context of modern Esotericism (Die Aufklärung im Bezugsfeld neuzeitlicher Esoterik)' will address the theme Enlightenment and Esotericism – Ways into Modernity. The call for papers is as follows:

'Following the conferences “Enlightenment and Esotericism” (Aufklärung und Esoterik) in 1997 at the Herzog-August Library in Wolfenbüttel and “Esotericism in the Enlightenment” (Esoterik in der Aufklärung) in 2006 at the IZEA, now a third conference on this subject will pose the question: To what extent can the multi-faceted relationship between Enlightenment and Esotericism in the eighteenth century be considered as constitutive for Modernity?
The influence of the Enlightenment on Modernity has been much postulated and is an intrinsic constituent in the self-validation of Modernity. At the same time it is clear that Esotericism has also played an important role, right up to the present day. Yet what has been little known up to now is just what significance the mutual reciprocity between Enlightenment and Esotericism in the eighteenth century (and the resulting transformations from this relationship) have had.
Esotericism, as an aggregate of different historical streams of thought, can be identified through the reception of Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and Cabbala, as well as through the assimilation of the so-called old sciences of Alchemy, Magic and Astrology from the Renaissance on. During the course of the Early Modern period, related movements such as Paracelsianism, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy and Freemasonry developed out of these streams of thought. As the first two conferences have shown, these various esoteric currents continued to have an impact during the Enlightenment, whether they were negated, integrated or transformed.
What role then did the Enlightenment play in the rise of “modern” Esotericism? What about the Enlightenment itself, which developed its profile not least by engaging with esoteric streams of thought? Through which paths – whether through continual or interrupted transmission – did the resulting manifestations of the encounter between the Enlightenment and Esotericism arrive at the later Modern period? What accounts for the affinity between Modernity and the artistic-literary, philosophical, theological, scientific or historical-political expressions of the exchange between Enlightenment and Esotericism?
The conference Enlightenment and Esotericism – Ways into Modernity would like to dedicate itself to these questions. Contributions are encouraged from all history-oriented disciplines which investigate the major issues, which reflect on methodical approaches to answering the questions posed or which offer concrete case studies for discussion. The main focus will be on the “long eighteenth century,” that is, on topics dealing with the age of the Enlightenment itself as well as on topics addressing the transition into the first decades after 1800. Nonetheless contributions which treat the nineteenth or twentieth centuries exclusively are also welcome if they take the main theme of the conference into consideration.
Proposals are requested by 31/03/2009 and should include a lecture title, a short abstract of one-half to a full page and a brief vita. Please address all submissions to: IZEA, Franckeplatz 1/54, D–06110 Halle, izea@izea.uni-halle.de'.

Conference: 'Enlightenment and Esotericism – Ways into Modernity', 9-12/03/2010, Interdisciplinary Center for European Enlightenment Studies Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für die Erforschung der Europäischen Aufklärung (IZEA), Halle, Germany.


Free Gardeners

Cascade, a Dutch Society for the Study of Garden History, has taken the initiative to form a study group: The Free Gardeners (Vrije Tuinlieden). This study group focuses on 'the relationship between freemasonry and garden design in Dutch cultural history'. Meetings are held three times per year, two accompagnied by lectures and one combined with a visit to a relevant garden. Hopefully this initiative will shed a new light on this relatively unknown category of gardens in the Netherlands.