Swedenborg and the Arts International Conference

Bryn Athyn College, Pennsylvania (USA)
Tuesday through Friday, June 6-9th, 2017
Swednborg and the Arts International Conference

Description: This international conference explores the substantial influence on artistic culture and aesthetics made by the scientist, mystic, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). In what will be the first gathering of its kind, we are inviting scholars who work in religious studies, literature and literary theory, art history and visual culture, the history of ideas, and other cognates in the humanities for paper proposals that would situate Swedenborg’s place in the history of the arts, broadly-defined.

As “one of the mastodons” of world literature, in the words of the American Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was “not to be measured by whole colleges of ordinary scholars,” Swedenborg’s ideas have affected an astonishing variety of painting, music, sculpture, novels, short stories, poetry, architecture, film, and performing arts, from the end of the eighteenth century and continuing up until the present day. We are interested in paper proposals that do more than simply trace the historical dimensions of such influence around particular figure(s), but also explore the dynamics of exchange, the movement between the religious and the aesthetic. What can the case of Swedenborg in the arts tell us about broader constitutive relationships between esotericism, spirituality, and culture?

Keynote speakers include: Wouter Hanegraaff (University of Amsterdam), Linda Dalrymple Henderson (UT Texas, Austin), Massimo Introvigne (CESNUR, Italy)

Submission Format: We invite abstracts that explore any artist(s) or writer(s) who have engaged with Swedenborgian ideas in light of some of the issues outlined above. Interested participants should read the longer description on the conference website to further understand the kinds of questions we are keen to investigate. To be considered as a speaker at the conference, please send us 1) a paper title, 2) an abstract (no more than 400 words) of your proposed paper, and 3) a short paragraph detailing your professional C.V.

Submission email: swedenborgconference@gmail.com

Conference website: https://swedenborgartsconference.wordpress.com/

Deadline for submissionsFriday, September 30, 2016

Sponsoring Institutions include: CESNUR (Center for Studies of New Religions); Bryn Athyn College; Glencairn Museum; the Center for Swedenborgian Studies at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley; the Swedenborg Foundation; and the Swedenborg Society of London.

Conference Organizers: Massimo Introvigne (CESNUR), Jane Williams-Hogan (Bryn Athyn College), Devin Zuber (GTU)