- The Quatuor Coronati Lodge has updated its website for the Ars Quatuor Coronati research journal. The site offers various sample articles from past editions as downloads: http://quatuorcoronati.com/knowledge/aqc-downloads/.
- The Digital Library of Dutch Literature (DBNL)is a vast database with digitalised versions of publications and journals from the Netherlands. A recent addition is a large number of volumes of the journal of the working group for 18th century studies in the Netherlands (Documentatieblad Werkgroep Achttiende Eeuw), which includes several articles on freemasonry.
As discussed earlier on this blog, the Order originally intended to move the CMC's collection to a location elsewhere in the Netherlands, which sparked a controversy. The plan was opposed by many scholars and heritage professionals, including the OVN Foundation, which appealed to the lodges and the heritage sector to allow the CMC's collection to remain within its historical and academic context in The Hague.
The Order has now announced that it will be reconsidering two options:
- remaining in The Hague with both the administrative chair and the CMC, because the historical ties to the city are a strong argument,
- relocating to the lodge building in Amsterdam, because this is already being renovated in order to attract a third party as co-resident.
The OVN hopes that the loges will now make good use of the wide support and interest expressed by the local heritage sector in cooperating on a suitable proposal for the old, or a new location in The Hague. The final decision will be made by the Order in june 2012, but a progress report is expected for the yearly meeting of lodges in june 2011.
- The Enlightenment and Freemasonry: A Critical Enquiry, Prof. Dr. Margaret Jacob, University of California, United States
- L’illusion radicale – La 'camera obscura' des Lumières, Prof. Dr. Charles Porset, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France
- Radicalisme d'origine ou malentendu fondateur? La franc-maçonnerie dans les premiers pamphlets anti-maçonniques (1738-1742), Prof. Dr. Roger Dachez,
Université Paris III - Denis Diderot, France
- Russian freemasonry: A peculiar mixture of Aufklärung and Erleuchtung, Dr. Ton de Kok, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Libre pensée et idée de Lumières dans la Nahdha arabe: Le cas d’Adib Ishaq (1856-1884), Prof. Dr. Abdelaziz Labib, Université de Tunis El-Manar, Tunisia
- The Radical Enlightenment's Critique of Freemasonry: from Lessing to Mirabeau, Prof. Dr. Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, United States'
- English freemasonry during the Enlightenment: how radical, how conservative?, Prof. Dr. Cécile Revauger, Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3, France
- Les Illuminés de Bavière, une franc-maçonnerie "radicale"?, Prof. Dr. Jean Mondot, Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3, France
- Cosmopolitanism versus conflicting local and national identities in the Habsburg territories. Masonic networks and their political involvement under Joseph II, Dr. Tristan Coignard, Université Michel de Montaigne-Bordeaux 3, France
- Enlightenment, either way!, Drs. Gerard Bonneke, Nijmegen, Netherlands
- Radicalism and Extremism are mutually exclusive, Prof. Dr. Ludo Abicht, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Registration fee: € 30,- (students € 15,-), incl. lunch. Registration deadline: 1 December 2010 (by e-mail to: Kees.Veenstra@vub.ac.be, stating name and number of persons). More information: http://www.vub.ac.be/freemasons-and-enlightenment/
Nominations are invited for the second biennial ESSWE PhD Thesis prize, awarded by the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism.
The prize will be given for an outstanding PhD thesis completed between 1 January 2009 and 1 March 2011 on any aspect of Western Esotericism.
The prizewinner will receive an award of € 500,- and a certificate, to be presented at the ESSWE conference in Szeged, Hungary 6-10 July 2011. The thesis will also be recommended for publication in the ARIES Book Series.
Nominations must be made by electronic mail to the Chair of the Prize Committee, Andreas Kilcher (ETH, Zürich, email@example.com) by 1 March 2011. More information on the ESSWE website: http://www.esswe.org/news_detail.php?news_id=59
The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the California Masonic Foundation has announced a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA from September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2012. The position is open to a recent Ph.D. with a strong interest in the history of civil society, fraternalism and freemasonry. This postdoctoral fellow will teach two courses in either American (North or South) or European or African history with emphasis on Freemasonry. The course will be designed in consultation with Prof. Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History. A $50,000 stipend, office space for the nine-month period, and a modest relocation fee will be provided. The postdoctoral fellow must remain in residence while classes are in session. For more information about the program visit: http://www.freemasonryandcivilsociety.ucla.edu/
Applicants should submit a CV and three letters of recommendation to Prof. Margaret Jacob, Bunche Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095 by January 10, 2011. UCLA is an AA/EOE. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
The Masonic Study Center Reward Fernando Pessoa is annually attributed and is destined to reward authors of academic essays or other research into freemasonry. Contributions may be written in in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. Deadline is 22 December 2010. More information: alvaro.carva at cgd.pt. [With thanks to Andreas Onnerfors]
- Petri Mirala, 'Masonic sociability and its limitations: the case of Ireland', in: James Kelly & Martyn J. Powell (eds.), Clubs and Societies in Eighteenth-Century Ireland, Four Courts Press, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-84682-229-2, 496 pages, € 49,50.
‘No 359: one decoration of enamel on copper, made in Berlin, representing a freemasons lodge’.
[= ‘No. 359: 1 plaque emaille sur cuivre, faite a Berlin, et representant un loge des francs-macons’.]
The Grand Masters of the Regular Grand Lodge of Belgium and the Grand East of the Netherlands have signed a Convenant on 1st June 2010, stating their intent to establish an academic bureau in order stimulate the study of masonic sources in the Dutch language area and to do so within one year. The bureau will support the Chair for the history of freemasonry at the Leiden University.
The author of this article justly remarks that it is curious, that the Statutes will include the formal condition that the academic bureau will be dissolved, if one of the participating Grand Lodges would lose its status as 'regular' masonic body. (Which means: is no longer recognized as regular by the Grand Lodge of England; a recognition which since the 18th century is based on, amongst others, the restriction of membership to men only).
There are several existing international networks and cooperation agreements between academic research centres, heritage institutes and scholars in the field of study, which include irregular masonic bodies (with both male and female members) and their museums. It is customary in academic circles not to state a preference for research into, or in cooperation with, regular or irregular masonic bodies. All of freemasonry, in it's many shapes and forms, is interesting within an historical perspective, and academic research should not be restricted by prejudice or preference, if it's results are to be impartial.
Any new initiative should be applauded, but the preference for 'regularity' stated here, could be interpreted to contradict the intended ' academic' character of this new initiative.
[Source: Ken U Zelven, nr. 7-2010, article by Louis van Koert of loge Concordia ad Libertatem]
For non-Dutch researchers it may be relevant to know that many of these newspapers were written in French (such as the Journal de La Haye, published up until 1849). The website also includes an option to view articles as text-only (OCR), which allows one to 'cut and paste' text in Word and then apply any (free, online) translation programme.
this plan met with much controversy amongst academia and heritage professionals. Several list members have actively supported the campaign by the OVN Foundation to respect the collection in its cultural, historical an academic infrastructure in The Hague.
Most recently received news is that the Grand Lodge intends to go ahead with its plans, but... decided to take the topic off the official agenda for the yearly meeting in June 2010. The reason given was that the Grand Lodge is considering a location offered in Utrecht, but that particular plan is in too premature a stage to discuss with the members or bring to a vote.
This means the decision on the Cultural Masonic Centre has been postponed until the yearly meeting of 2011 (or a special interim meeting on the subject, if called for).
The OVN Foundation made an appeal to the heritage sector and all lodges of the Grand East to respect the cultural, historical and academic ties of the collection to the city of The Hague, which go back nearly 300 years. Positive response came from several heritage organisations, which are willing to help the lodges in The Hague to come up with a more suitable plan. Many academics in the field of study wrote letters of support. And many Dutch lodges responded positively, complaining about the decision process used by of the Grand Lodge.
In June, a new Grand Master was installed, who may have a fresh view on the situation. The board members who initiated the plan for the move are no longer in office. Hopefully the new team of decision makers will see the importance of respecting the cultural and historical context of the collection, as well as it's academic infrastructure, and is willing to explore the options of realising its ambitions together with the heritage sector in The Hague.
Readers are invited to give their opinion on the situation via the survey above.
[Image: The Cultural Masonic Centre in The Hague, The Netherlands, www.vrijmetselarij.nl]
the Unlawful Societies Act to the Protocols of Zion and Fascist attitudes to freemasonry.
The Order's internal committee advising the on the move, has most recently stated that Amsterdam and Utrecht are the only suitable locations for a new National Masonic Centre, in which the collection is to be housed along with administrative offices and lodge facilities. This would mean ripping the important historical collection from its cultural and historical context: the city of The Hague, where the collection has organically grown for 300 years. The collection is historically and physically totally intertwined with the city and functions as an integral part of its excellent academic and heritage infrastructure. A move would diminish the collection's cultural value as a whole, sever ties with related collections and research infrastructure, and would also spell a cultural distaster for the region itself.
The masonic lodges in The Hague, organized in the 'Regioconvent Groot-Den Haag', have indicated they wish to keep the collection in The Hague, but have so far failed to take decisive action. There are many excellent alternatives to house a new National Masonic Centre in The Hague, which have not been explored or considered by the Order's decision makers in this process. No advice has been sought from independent heritage experts in this matter. Lodge members from across the country (who are largely unfamiliar with the contents and history of the collection, unaware of it's context and ties with the Hague, and unfamiliar with the physical needs of a collection of national importance) will be asked to vote about the collection's future at the next yearly meeting.
The 'brandbrief' calls upon the local government and heritage sector to join efforts with the local lodges and come up with an alternative plan, which will convince the Order and its members at the upcomming yearly meeting that the collection should be allowed to remain in The Hague.
Because other projects were prioritised, this plan remained on the shelf for some time. Meanwhile, so many new network opportunities have been created online, that there is no longer a need for the formal structure (and meeting schedule) of an association. This is why the OVN Foundation took the initiative in March 2010 to launch the online Network Esoteric Collections in the Netherlands. Free membership is open to curators of public and private esoteric collections, academics at university chairs and centres, and other professional researchers in the field of study.
A new study aims to reveal how a half-hidden thread of Masonic symbolism runs through Hogarth's work: Elisabeth Soulier-Detis, Guess at the Rest: Cracking the Hogarth Code, Lutterworth Press, 2010, ISBN-13: 9780718892159, 232 pp., ca.£35.
On 10 October 1810, 27 men came together to form the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity. The story of the last two centuries, including many dramatic changes, is chronicled by Dan Weinbren in a The Oddfellows, 1810-2010: Two hundred years of making friends and helping people, Carnegie Publishing, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-85936-207-5, 384 pp., € 25,-.
'With the publication of the first issue of the Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism in January 2010 the activities of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield, established in 2000, have come to a preliminary end. On March 8, faculty administration put following message on the Centers website:
The Faculty of Arts and Humanities regrets that, with effect from 1 January 2010, the activities of the Centre for Research for Freemasonry and Fraternalism are suspended for the time being.[ ]The CRF(F) has over the past ten years contributed considerably to the vitalization of academic research into freemasonry and related fraternal organizations both in Britain and abroad. We are in this respect deeply indebted to the efforts of founding director, prof Andrew Prescott. It is intended to publish a chronological overview over Ten Years of Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield later this spring.
The Academic Society for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism (ASRFF) will immediately take over some core functions from the CRFF, such as the publication of a newsletter or the edition of the academic journal JRFF.
The Society is under formation and experienced already a serious blow with the tragic death of its intermediary president, prof Malcolm Davies, who passed away unexpectedly in February 2010. With the Leiden chair empty and the CRFF in hibernation, academic research at the moment and for the foreseeable future will be carried out by single academics based at single universities across the world.
This increases the need for cooperation of various initiatives such as the organization of conferences, e.g. the next International Conference on the History of Freemasonry that will take place in Alexandria, VA in late May 2011 and to which we currently are recruiting the Academic Committee. The ASRFF has created a temporary website that will be continually updated.'
Of course the OVN supports the ASRFF and calls upon it's members and colleagues to do the same. Students and scholars can join the society and subscribe to the journal, which will allow this initiative to grow. The OVN also feels that it is necessary to establish academic organisations for the study of freemasonry, such as the OVN in each country, for which the ASRFF could act as an international umbrella-organisation. This will provide valuable support to students and scholars and can make funding available for research - independent of the internal politics of Orders and universities.
This is one of the first studies to look at the history of Dutch freemasonry around 1900. Although freemasons traditionally do not engage in politics as a matter of principle, they changed their views in the second half of the 19th century. Some of the social problems in the modern city of Amsterdam included poverty, hunger and child labour. Local freemasons debated about such problems in lodge publications as well as in the lodge itself, and got involved in charity, creating organizations to care for the blind and hungry. This developement went hand in hand with a shift in membership of the Order, which included more and more citizens, from craftsmen to shopkeepers and teachers, who were very much engaged with the daily problems in the city. New contacts between freemasonry and other organisations, both social and political, changed the character of the Order, as did the introduction of mixed Orders in Amsterdam after 1900.
Floor Meijer, Wereldburgers. Vrijmetselaren en de stad Amsterdam, 1848-1906, Wereldbibliotheek Amsterdam 2010, ISBN 978-90-284-2321-3, paperback ca. 704 pages, € 39,90.
Davies studied the history of music at the University of Utrecht. He also worked as director of the music department of the International School in The Hague, and was very active as a conductor in the music scene. He became a member of lodge 'De Vlammende Ster' in The Hague in 1996 and went on to study the relationship between freemasonry and music.
Davies made a rich contribution to the field of study in a relatively short time. His dissertation The Masonic Muse. Songs, Music and Musicians Associated with Dutch Freemasonry: 1730–1806 was published in 2005 by the Royal Association for the History of Music (Koninlijke Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis). Twice he was rewarded an OVN research grant for follow up research on the subject, as he was preparing a second book.
In 2007 Davies was appointed as professor of the chair for 'Freemasonry as an intellectual current and socio-cultural phenomenon in Europe' at the Leiden University. He organized an international academic conference, 'The Expression of Freemasonry', in 2008, and was involved in plans for closer international cooperation between the chairs in the field of study.
The board of the OVN had a good working relationship with the Leiden chair, and recently made plans for closer cooperation with Davies in 2009. The field of study has lost a promising scholar, who made an effort to make Dutch scholarschip on freemasonry known in the international academic community. Our board members will miss him as an esteemed colleague, and our thoughts are with Davies' family and friends at this difficult time.
[Photo: Malcolm Davies in good spirits at the speakers' dinner, following the OVN conference 'Maçonnieke en Esoterische Collecties in Nederland' in 2007.]
The text includes a preference for candidates ‘who are members of the Order, or a recognized Grand Lodge’.
The former curator of the CMC, drs. Evert Kwaadgras, unfortunately had to step down due to illness some time ago. The Order has used the opportunity to separate management and curator's tasks by appointing a director for the CMC, mrs. drs. Marijke de Vries, who will be supervising the work of the new curator.
The archive of Le Droit Humain dating before 1980 has been stored at The Hague's Municipal Archive for a period of three years, where optimal climate conditions and security measures are provided. The Municipal Archive has kindly offered facilities to make an inventory of the collection.
The OVN Foundation was involved in the preparation of the archives for the move and will now offer a research grant to have an inventory made of the documents dating between 1904 and 1945. A call for candidates will be circulated in order to select a student or researcher, who will make a complete inventory in order to make this earliest part of the archive available for research as soon as possible.
Le Droit Humain has also decided to transfer several rituals and magazines dating before 1945 from its library to the archive, as these are to rare and vulnarable to continue to be included in the library's loan services. Several duplicates, including annual editions of the magazine Lux Orientis of the lodges in the Dutch East Indies and the Bulletin of the Dutch Federation, have been donated to the National Library of the Netherlands.
The progressive policy adapted by Le Droit Humain towards it's archives, as well as the kind cooperation of The Hague's Municipal Archive, will make important sources available. When this particular archive becomes accessible for research, it will no doubt lead to a complete review of the history of modern freemasonry in the Netherlands. So far, only the archives of masculine Orders were available. But the archives of mixed Orders of the beginning of the 20th century reveal the relationship between freemasonry and 'new' social and religious movements, including vegetarianism, cremation, emancipation, animal and child protection services, as well as theosophy and anthroposophy. Le Droit Humain especially attracted members of the intellectual avant-garde, including well-known artists and architects. All the more reasons to look forward to the inventory of the archive becoming available.
Whan the inventory is finished and the initial term of the loan to the Municipal Archive is passed, the Dutch Federation will take a more permanent decision about the future of it's archive. A long term loan of minimum 20 yers to the Municipal Archive is one of the options. The OVN Foundation hopes that the example of Le Droit Humain will be followed by other masonic and esoteric organizations, and can offer advice and practical assitance to organizations considering the future of their collections.
[Images: Archive before conservation and registration (top) and the storage facilities of The Hague's Municipal Archive (bottom)]
'In the last 20 years it has become customary for specialists to define esotericism as "western." This has a series of implications that are usually left in the background and not addressed explicitly. The purpose of the panel is to discuss precisely these aspects, namely: Why should esotericism be defined as western in the first place? Where do we want to draw the boundaries of the "West"? Are Jewish and Islamic forms of esotericism to be included in "western" esotericism, and if not, why? Finally, if we want to reject the tag "western," what are the possible alternatives? In what way could we open up the study of esotericism to multiculturality? Could we do this by studying possible historical influences or rather by using a comparative approach that focuses on possible common patterns and analogies?
We welcome papers that address the use of esotericism as a theoretical designation in the construction of identity and difference while negotiating geographical and ideological boundaries. Proposals for papers on specific historical strains of esoteric thinking are also welcome, particularly those that address the formation of discourses of difference'.
Proposals, together with a brief curriculum, should be sent before 31 March 2010 to Cathy Gutierrez (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Marco Pasi (email@example.com).
A well-known publication on freemasonry in Gent, Belgium, has been reprinted and updated: Guy Schrans, Vrijmetselaars te Gent in de XVIIIde eeuw. During the second half of the 18th century, Gent counted circa 51.000 inhabitants, making it the 5th most important city in the Habsburg monarchy (after Vienna, Milan, Prague and Brussels). The city had a rich social scene, which stimulated the foundation of loges: La Discrète Impériale et Royale (1762), La Candeur (1763) and La Bienfaisante (1765).
Guy Schrans researched the biographies of the lodge members, resulting in the first edition of his book in 1997, no less than 800 pages with 200 biographies of freemasons in social and cultural context.
The book has now been updated with 30 additional biographies, much new data on the others, and 600 new titles in the bibliography. The book can be ordered from the Liberal Archive (€ 49 plus postage fees).
Jaap Kloosterman has kindly alerted us to the pdf version of his contribution to the section ‘Auf der Suche nach der Zivilgesellschaft’ at a conference of the German Historical Institute in Moscow in 2009: Hidden Centres: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Societies.
The National Heritage Museum in Lexington (Massachussets, USA) will host the conference on 'New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism' op 9 April 2010: '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'. Speakers are:
- Jessica Harland-Jacobs (Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida/author of Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717-1927): 'Worlds of Brothers',
- Damien Amblard (doctoral student, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York), 'French Counter-Enlightenment Intellectuals and American Antimasonry: A Transatlantic Approach, 1789-1800',
- Hannah M. Lane (Assistant Professor, Mount Allison University), 'Freemasonry and Identity/ies in 19th-
Century New Brunswick and Eastern Maine',
- Nicholas Bell (Curator, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum), 'An Ark of the New Republic',
- David Bjelajac (Professor of Art History, George Washington University), 'Freemasonry, Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and the Fraternal Ethos of American Art',
- Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch (Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan – Flint), 'Brothers of a Vow: Secret Fraternal Orders in Antebellum Virginia',
- Kristofer Allerfeldt (Exeter University), 'Nationalism, Masons, Klansmen and Kansas in the 1920s'.
The registration deadline is 24 March 2010. For more information, contact Claudia Roche at firstname.lastname@example.org.