The SHWEP Blog

The SHWEP blog is for all manner of things which crop up in the life of the scholar of western esotericism but don’t fit into our chronological framework: the Living Esoteric Cultures Series of interviews, reflections on the academic field of the study of western esotericism, accounts of past or upcoming events, other notifications, and perhaps even the odd blog post.


Bernd-Christian Otto on the Project ‘Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global Perspective’

The project known as CAS-E (full title ‘Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global Perspective’) is a major, state-funded, cross-disciplinary investigation of contemporary magic and related topics headquartered at the University of Erlangen. The scope of this thing is ridiculously ambitious. We discuss the project with one of its primary movers, Bernd-Christian Otto.

Daniel Schwemer on the MagEIA Project at the University of Würzburg

We discuss the academic project we have all been waiting for, MagEIA: Magic between Entanglement, Interaction, and Analogy, with one of its principal investigators, Daniel Schwemer. MagEIA will host cross-disciplinary conversations across specialisms in the study of ancient (bronze-age to late antiquity) magic. Amazing work, with amazing things to come.

Mathieu Ossendrijver on the Project ZODIAC – Ancient Astral Science in Transformation

We are delighted to speak with Mathieu Ossendrijver about an extraordinary project he heads in Berlin investigating the earliest origins and the dissemination of Mesopotamia's most popular export, the zodiac. Interesting things happen at the intersection between scientific and historical methodologies.

Emily Selove and Matt Melvin-Koushki on Two New Postgraduate Programmes in Magic

There are exciting things afoot in the study of magic and esotericism. Emily Selove of the University of Exeter and Matt Melvin-Koushki from the University of South Carolina tell us about two new graduate programmes in the study of magic and related subjects.

Cavan McLaughlin on Trans- States: Participant-Scholarship and the Boundaries of the Academy

We speak with Cavan McLaughlin, the guiding force behind a very interesting conference called Trans-States, which blurs the boundaries between the study of the esoteric and the esoteric itself. What happens when art, performance, ritual, magic(k), and a healthy does of humour meet in the crucible of the ‘academic conference’?

Julian Strube on the Debate Over Dropping the ‘Western’ in ‘Western Esotericism’

Things never stand still for very long in a young field like Western Esotericism Studies. In this interview we discuss the lively current debate over whether the term ‘western’ should be dropped altogether with a proponent of the ‘get rid of it’ position.

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