Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam


What’s new in the world of esotericism research

Conference: Looking through the occult

Categories: Conferences,Events

Looking Through the Occult:

Instrumentation, Esotericism, and Epistemology in the 19th Century

online at http://www.culture.hu-berlin.de/occult/

November 14 & 15, Humboldt University of Berlin, Main Building (Hauptgebäude), Unter den Linden 6—Room 2103


*pre-register by writing to bernard.geoghegan@hu-berlin.de*

In recent years the history of science has cast new light on how technical instrumentation in the nineteenth-century shaped conceptions of scientific objectivity as non-subjective and independent of human intervention. A parallel body of research in media studies has demonstrated how the contemporaneous rise of technical media (e.g. telegraphy, photography) informed spiritualistic beliefs that automated, technical inscriptions would provide faithful representation of a transcendental or spiritualistic world. Looking Through the Occult brings together scholars in media studies, the history of technology, science studies, and religious studies to consider how these phenomena interrelate.

Conference Schedule:

14 November 2014
9:00 Coffee & snacks
9:30 Christian Kassung: Opening Remarks


Bernard Geoghegan: Occult Knowledge and Plain Sight: On the Popular Display of Scientific Wonders
Florian Sprenger: Occult Occultism and the Afterlives of Actio in Distans


Ehler Voss & Erhard Schüttpelz: From Medium to Media: Oliver Lodge’s Radio History

Margarida Medeiros: An Historical and Philosophical View on the Purpose of Documenting Non-Observational Matter



Robert Brain: “A Medium is a Medium is a Medium”: Ectoplasm Images, Psychical Research, and the Futurist Moment”
Tessel M. Bauduin: “Modest recording instruments without talent”: Automatism in Surrealism


16:30 First Keynote Address

John Durham Peters:
Nineteenth-century Mormonism between angelic visitations and scientific rationality (and other tales of scrambled modernity)


15 November 2013
John Tresch: ‘Matter No More’: Edgar Allan Poe and the Paradoxes of Materialism

Simone Natale: The Spectacular Supernatural

Stephan Gregory: Code und Kontakt. Mythologien der magischen Wirksamkeit

Anthony Enns: Spiritualist Writing Machines


Egil Asprem: Scientific rationalism, occult empiricism? Representations of the microphysical world, ca. 1900

Petra Löffler: Geister der Stadt. Spektrologie urbaner Räume


16:00 Second Keynote Address

Jeremy Stolow:
On Mediumnic Lights, XRays, and the Spirit who Photographed Herself

17:30 Closing discussion