Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam

Student Community

study in Amsterdam UvA HHP

Amsterdam is known for its vibrant student life, and HHP is situated right at the heart of it. Our students do not sit and wait for things to happen: instead they go out and create their own initiatives.

We are blessed with an active, international, and lively student community, rich in initiatives and extra-curricular activities. The result is a number of conferences, workshops, study trips, magazines and even an academic journal, all created by our students. Below you can read about some of the initiatives that have sprung out of the student community surrounding HHP and the religious studies department at the UvA.

Ars Notoria

Ars Notoria student Amsterdam religious studies hermetic philosophy

Ars Notoria is the University of Amsterdam’s student organization for Religious Studies. Active since 2008, it organizes monthly events for students (films, short excursions, dinners), releases the magazine Notorious, and – in collaboration with staff – an annual study trip abroad. For more information about some of these activities, see below.

Study trips

Paris and Rome

A number of international study trips have been arranged in collaboration between students and staff at HHP and religious studies. In the spring of 2008, Marco Pasi and Tessel Bauduin led a study trip to Paris with the theme of “art and esotericism” – visiting, among other things, the exhibition “Traces du Sacré” at Centre Pompidou, and the first exhibition of previously unknown Aleister Crowley paintings at Palais de Tokyo.

In recent years, an annual study trip to Rome has been arranged in collaboration with Ars Notoria as part of coursework for the BA. First organized by Joyce Pijnenburg in 2012, this trip was led by Peter Forshaw in January 2013 and will be repeated in 2014. Take a look at the program from 2013 to get a better picture!

Workshops and Conferences

Mini-conferences and ESSWE Thesis Workshops

ESSWE esotericism scholarly society workshops HHP alchemy magic

We frequently host workshops and mini-conferences for and with our students. Some of our MA courses are concluded by a one-day mini-conference that is open to the public. Furthermore, the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) usually has its biannual board meeting in Amsterdam in the summer between conference years, and if possible this opportunity is used to combine it with a Thesis Workshop for students. In 2010 we hosted an “Alchemy Thesis Workshop”, in 2012 we had a “Magic Thesis Workshop” in collaboration with ESSWE (for a report of the first event, see this blog post at Heterodoxology) and in 2014 we hosted an “ESSWE Thesis Workshop” on “Alterations of Consciousness”. These proved to be great occasions for students from numerous countries to meet, talk, and form new friendships.

Student initiatives

In addition to events such as these, students at HHP have on several occasions organized academic conferences and workshops entirely by their own initiative. Thus, in the spring of 2008 the workshop “Emblems, Magic, and Higher Knowledge” was held in the Doelenzaal of the University Library. This event figured nine speakers from a number of countries and universities. It was organized by Egil Asprem and Joyce Pijnenburg, both in the last year of their MAs at the time.

Synthesis: Esotericism and the Sciences

Synthesis esotericism and the sciences young scholars conference

More recently, a one-day conference entitled Synthesis: Esotericism and the Sciences – Young Scholars Conference was held in the wonderful location of the Mozes & Aaronkerk on Waterlooplein. With one keynote lecture, eight papers by speakers from five different countries, musical intermezzos and exhibitions by seven artists, this was a rich, varied and exciting event. It was organized by Eline Bochem, Helene Peerenboom, and Alinda van Ackooy, with the assistance of Aida Kopmels and Richie Hershey – all connected with our MA program.

Publishing Activities

De Hermet and Notorious

Between 2010 and 2012 a group of our BA and MA students got together and published the magazine De Hermet. In 2012, this has been absorbed into the student magazine Notorious, published by the Ars Notoria student organization. The content is a mix of student-related news and opinion, papers by students, poetry, and fiction. Some is in Dutch, some in English.

Correspondences: An Online Journal for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism

Correspondences is a fully peer-reviewed, open-access journal devoted to the academic study of Western esotericism. The first issue appeared in June 2013, consisting of research articles by established as well as younger scholars. The journal is an independent academic publication, with editorial board members from eight different countries, but the initiative originally grew out of the Hermet and Notorious community. Its two editors in chief, Jimmy Elwing and Aren Roukema, both finished their Research MAs at HHP in the summer of 2013. More than just a student initiative, Correspondences is an exciting new project and a welcome addition to the publication networks in our field.

correspondences esotericism academic journal Roukema Elwing