We have received many encouraging and worried emails concerning the future existence of the CRFF as a result of our last newsletter. The general situation remains critical and the next few weeks will decide the future survival of organised academic research into freemasonry and fraternalism at academic institutions in the United Kingdom. Extensive negotiations will take place regarding how to best secure past, present and potential future achievements in the area. There are many actors involved in the process and we notice that letters of support have been submitted to relevant parties. However tempting, the CRFF has not called for any organised support yet. It is easy to become distracted by various scenarios at the moment, but we have decided to work hard on our present short-term commitments. We are dedicated to quality, as always. Frequenting our events and purchasing our publications is currently the best way to show support for the Centre.
All the best,
1) Experts to discuss Freemasonry in new Dan Brown book
First event of the lecture series “Perceptions of Freemasonry” on Thursday October 15 5.15pm
Academics from the Centre will host a panel discussion entitled, `Symbols lost? Discussing Dan Brown´s new novel´ on 15 October 2009, which will consider how much of Dan Brown´s portrayal of the Freemason´s is accurate.
Early reviews of the new book, which has already sold more than 1m copies since its release earlier this month, suggested that Freemasons may be antagonised by inaccurate fictional portrayals of the establishment. At this event, the panel of experts will consider the Masonic content in the novel and answer questions on whether the book gives a truthful insight into the fraternal group. The debate will form part of a lecture series, `The Perception of Freemasonry´, which will take place between October and December, and will involve a range of international guest speakers. Freemasonry is one of the world´s oldest secular fraternal societies, yet it is often the subject of some debate and conjecture, as elements of the society remain shrouded in mystery. The Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism was established in 2000 as the first centre in a British university devoted to scholarly research into Freemasonry. The Centre studies the historical, social and cultural impact of freemasonry, particularly in Britain. Dr Andreas Önnerfors, Director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism, said: "As Dan Brown´s new novel proves, there are many perceptions of the role of Freemasonry in the public domain, ranging from fiction to the Internet. It is a fascinating to study how these images have, on the one hand, developed over time whilst also remaining unchanged for many years. Researching freemasonry urges us to differentiate between the thin line between fact and fiction."
2) Editorial work on Vol.1 Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism soon completed
After a delay of several months we have intensified our work on the first issue of the journal, which is now due to appear this autumn. If you have not yet subscribed to it or are interested in more information, please go to:
3) Opposite to the current trend in the UK it is interesting to notice that various initiatives have been launched recently to deepen contacts between academia and the masonic community worldwide
1. Postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA
The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Masonic Grand Lodge of California are pleased to announce a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA from September 15, 2010 through June 15, 2011. The position is open to a recent Ph.D. with a strong interest in the history of civil society, fraternalism and Freemasonry.
This second postdoctoral fellow will teach one course in either American (North or South) or European history with emphasis on Freemasonry, designed in consultation with Prof. Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History, and work with a graduate student research assistant with an interest in any aspect of the field. 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.
Applicants should submit a CV and three letters of recommendation to Prof. Margaret C. Jacob by December 15, 2009. UCLA is an AA/EOE. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
Freemasonry is the world’s first and largest fraternal organization. The Masons of California have supported public education since 1850 and are proud to advance academic research and study in the field of Freemasonry and fraternalism.
2. Initiatives to launch cooperation in Ontario and Manitoba, Canada
GRAND MASTER’S PROJECT 2009 - 2011
To advance the study and understanding of Freemasonry and to encourage research into the significant impact fraternalism in general and Freemasonry in particular have made on society over the last three hundred years, the Grand Master’s Project (2009–2011) will establish a fund to create a Centre for Masonic Studies in conjunction with a University in Ontario. In an age when Freemasonry has been fictionalized and trivialized in popular culture, to gain credibility in the academic community would restore the true historical perspective of the fraternity. This proposed partnership between the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Canada in the Province of Ontario and Brock University, St. Catharines, would honour the name of R.W. Bro. Charles A. Sankey (1905-2009). Dr. Sankey served as Chancellor of the University 1969-1974. A renowned Masonic scholar, he was active in all the concordant bodies of Masonry– Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite (33°), Royal Order of Scotland, Royal Arch Masons. His extensive collection of rare Masonic books and papers is in the Special Collections of the James Gibson Library at Brock, providing a rich resource for research scholars and students. To initiate the project, a series of lectures is planned beginning in the spring of 2010. All contributions should be made through the Masonic Foundation of Ontario, Project Number 2937
Raymond S. J. Daniels Grand Master 4 August 2009
The CRFF has also been approached formally by the Grand Lodge of Manitoba with a request to support the establishment of academic research in the area: “Our Grand Lodge is desiring to set up a Chair of Freemasonry at one of our universities here in Manitoba.”
3. Initiatives to launch cooperation in SãoPaolo, Brazil
4) Reminder: 24th – 25th October “The Origins of Freemasonry” 11th CMRC-conference in London
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 emailaddress) with your payment and state if you have any specific dietary requirements. Please also note that the CMRC does not accept credit card payment. See www.canonbury.ac.uk for more details.
5) Reminder: New publications!
We are proud to announce that the second volume of our series Sheffield Lectures in the History of Freemasonry and Fraternalism is now at the printers it is now possible to order your copy!
The volume, with the title Freemasonry and Fraternalism in Eighteenth-Century Russia (Eds. A. Önnerfors and R. Collis), contains five papers on various aspects of Russian freemasonry and fraternalism from Peter to Catherine the Great and is the first of its kind ever published in English. The remarkable history of the introduction of freemasonry and other fraternal groups clearly demonstrates that associational life was an integrated part of cultural exchange in Europe of the time and that British freemasonry freely moved across cultural and linguistic borders. For all friends of the CRFF it is needless to tell that all income generated by the sale of the book directly will benefit our research activities.
Please find the Table of Content under the link “Publications” on our website.
We will have the same retail price as for Volume 1 Freemasonry and Fraternalism in the Middle East, £ 20 (P&P included). The same routines of payment apply, which can be found on our website under the link “Publications”.
We also want to announce the publication of No. 5 of our online series of Working Papers. Pauline Vera Chakmakjian’s paper The Fiftieth Anniversary of The Grand Lodge of Japan (1957-2007) is now available as a free download on our website under the link “Working Papers” and we hope it will stimulate a fruitful discussion among researchers in our area!
-- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.freemasonry.dept.shef.ac.uk/ NOW ALSO ON FACEBOOK! Join the group "Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism"