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2009. július 31., péntek

CRFF Newsletter 40

University of Sheffield
The Centre for Research into Freemasonry
Dear colleagues and friends,

The last newsletter (39) should have been signed Nice/France and this one is sent out from Budapest in Hungary. The academic conference in Nice the CRFF was participating in, as reported in the last newsletter, was gathering some twenty speakers and about fifty delegates and was devoted to freemasonry. The congress I am attending in Budapest is titled “Ideas and Instruments in Social Context”, arranged by the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and gathers 1400 delegates, speaking in 96 symposia and 41 sessions. To attend a congress of such a format makes me reflect upon the place of our research area, freemasonry and fraternalism, in the larger context. It is important to understand that the new ground we are breaking has to be integrated into the international scientific discourse. This can be achieved by various means, but most of all by relating our shared interest in the fascinating features of organised sociability to larger questions such as the emergence of scientific thought within our modern society, the relevance of organised sociability for participating democracy or freemasonry’s relationship to religious practices over time. If we fail to integrate our research into such domains of international scientific discourse, it will turn parochial at best and irrelevant at worst.

Where is the link between Nice and Budapest? As I have written at several occasions earlier this can be demonstrated by a successful application to the French research council ANR ”CITERE: Circulations, Territoires et Réseaux en Europe de l'âge classique aux Lumières/Communicating Europe: Early Modern Circulations, Territories and Networks”. This large project has a sub-group devoted to the research of scientific periodicals as a medium of cultural circulation in Europe and a sub-group working specifically on freemasonry as another significant example (the Nice-conference was part of this). In Budapest a group of CITERE-researchers presented their findings in a session titled “The Emergence of the Periodical Form as an Instrument of Scientific Change”, but theoretically there could also have been a session titled “Scientific Instruments and their place in the imagination of European freemasonry”. A project such as CITERE bridges important gaps and integrates research into freemasonry into something larger with reciprocal benefits for the research community.

There are fundamental challenges to research into freemasonry and fraternalism, but the CRFF remains devoted to the ongoing development of our research area.

As we are on travel, this newsletter for technical reasons will again be issued in its simple format.

We wish everybody a nice summer,

Andreas Önnerfors

1)Deadline approaching for a Symposium on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism National Heritage Museum, Lexington, Massachusetts Friday, April 9, 2010

The deadline for submission of papers to the Lexington conference ”New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism” expires on August 15!

The National Heritage Museum 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 in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The National Heritage Museum is an American history museum founded and supported by Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States. 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, including history, material and visual culture, anthropology, sociology, literary studies and criticism, gender studies, political science, African American studies, art history, economics, or any combination of disciplines.
Perspectives on and interpretations of all time periods are welcome.

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 should be for 30 minute research papers; the day’s schedule will allow for audience questions and feedback.

Proposal Format: Submit an abstract of 400 words or less with a resume or c.v. that is no more than two pages. Be sure to include full contact information (name, address, email, phone, affiliation).

Send proposals to: Aimee E. Newell, Director of Collections, National Heritage Museum, by email at anewell@monh.org or by mail to 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA 02421.

Deadline for proposals to be received is August 15, 2009. For more information about the National Heritage Museum, see www.nationalheritagemuseum.org
. For questions, contact Aimee E. Newell as above, or call 781-457-4144.

2)Tickets now on sale for the CMRC and CRFF joint-venture conference on 'The Origins of Freemasonry'

Marking a decade of successful international conferences, The Canonbury Masonic Research Centre is pleased to announce that its eleventh international conference, scheduled for 24-25 October 2009, is now a joint-venture project being co-organised with the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism (CRFF), Sheffield University. The theme of this year's event is 'The origins of Freemasonry' and will include keynote addresses delivered by three internationally acclaimed scholars in the field: Dr. Margaret Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Professor Dr. José Antonio Ferrer Benimeli, Founder and Director of the Centro de Estudios Históricos de la Masoneria Espanola (CEHME), Zaragoza University, and Dr. David Stevenson, Professor Emeritus of Scottish History at the University of St Andrews. And the conference weekend will commence with a showing (for speakers and delegates only) of a film called The Scottish Key - a recently made documentary which examines the various theories of masonic origin - during the evening of Friday 23 October at University College London.

Conference tickets are now available priced £99 each (price includes Friday evening film showing and drinks reception, conference attendance and a buffet luncheon on both days). Cheques should be made payable to the 'CMRC' and sent to: The Conference Organiser, Canonbury Masonic Research Centre, Canonbury Tower, Canonbury Place, London N1 2NQ. Please be sure to include your full name and contact details (including phone number and email address) with your payment and state if you have any specific dietary requirements. Please also note that the CMRC does not accept credit card payment.

3)REHMLAC first issue out!

We are proud to inform you that the first issue of the acedemic online-journal REHMLAC (Revista de Estudios de la Masoneria Latinoamericana y Caribeña) ISSN 1659-4223 now is out and can be accessed without restrictions on www.rehmlac.com/pags/inicio/inicio.php. 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 by José Antonio Ferrer Benimeli, Andreas Önnerfors, Eric Saunier and Miguel Guzmán-Stein.

4)Report from the 20th annual conference of AMMLA in Bayreuth

The European Executive Organisation for Masonic Museums and Libraries AMMLA between July 9 and 12 arranged its 20th annual conference back at the place of its original foundation, Bayreuth in Franconia/Germany. Around forty delegates from a number of masonic libraries and museums gathered for an intense program with lectures, receptions and visits, treated with kind hospitality both by the regional government, Deutsches Freimaurermuseum and the umbrella organisation of German freemasonry, VGLvD. AMMLA has developed from a loose network focussing upon practical problems of the preservation and presentation of masonic cultural heritage to an European organisation in search of its organisational and institutional identity. During the presentation of various research papers and papers focussing upon key issues of masonic cultural heritage, this tension became obvious and was reinforced by discussions on the constitution of AMMLA, which will turn it into a European organisation under Belgian law with its seat in Brussels. From a researchers perspective nothing could be more positive than to see a closer cooperation between public and private collections on freemasonry in Europe and as a representative of the research community Director CRFF pointed out the necessity for joint standards of access and joint ethical rules for the usage of masonic source material.
However it becomes obvious that AMMLA also has taken over a role that exceeds its original intentions. There is a lack of a European initiative that channels the needs of various intra-masonic research groups (regardless of regularity) and more or less academic centres devoted to the study of freemasonry and related currents in ventilating and discussing joint challenges of research. This role could easily be taken over by a functional research lodge of reasonable size and importance (such as QC), but currently the perspective of closer European cooperation between masonic research lodges and other research groups seems to be distant. Also in the academic field it becomes obvious that various players lack a joint platform. In our own research area, research into freemasonry and fraternalism, we will attempt to close this gap with tighter cooperation, the edition of an academic journal and the establishment of an academic association, but research into freemasonry has also captured the interest of other scholars, e.g. in religious studies or studies of esotericism. Awaiting further developments it would however not be satisfactory if a group like AMMLA would take over this role, as its purpose as a (professional) platform for those who preserve and present European masonic cultural heritage already is sufficiently large. Although there were representatives from public institutions holding masonic collections, it would also be fruitful to actively invite representatives of collections such as Biblioteque National in Paris or the GStPK in Berlin who have highly important knowledge that is worth sharing in this context. The CRFF strongly endorses the process towards an increasing professionalism within AMMLA as it is a foundation of prosperous contacts between the research community and the institutions in charge of preserving and presenting masonic cultural heritage in Europe. The next AMMLA congress will take place in Paris in 2010. More information on AMMLA www.ammla.org/contact.htm.
© 2008 The University of Sheffield

Dr. Andreas Önnerfors
Director / Senior Lecturer in History
Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism
34, Gell Street
Sheffield S3 7QY
United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 9893
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 98 94
Email: a.onnerfors@sheffield.ac.uk
Website: www.freemasonry.dept.shef.ac.uk/
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