Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam

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Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam

Emerging International Networks

In the photo: Lovett Hall – Rice University

The HHP Centre is part of a broad international network dedicated to establishing the academic study of esotericism. On this page you will find links to the most important scholarly societies, networks, and university departments that collaborate in this enterprise. If you are in charge of an esotericism-related university programme that is not listed here, or involved with administering a new scholarly society or network, please contact us. Then we will consider putting it on our website.

Scholarly Societies

European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE)

ESSWE-logoThe ESSWE was founded in 2005, and is currently the largest international society dedicated to advancing the academic study of esotericism. The biannual ESSWE conference is the most important event in our field in Europe. The journal Aries and the “Aries Book Series” are both published under the auspices of ESSWE. Although the organization is based in Europe, its membership is open to individuals from all countries, and a substantial number of scholars from North America and other parts of the world participate in its major events.

The ESSWE has regional, thematic, and affiliated networks. The ESSWE encourages the establishment of networks of scholars sharing an interest in particular themes within the field.

Association for the Study of Esotericism (ASE)

The ASE was created in 2002 during a conference at Michigan State University, with the mission to “promote excellence in scholarship and teaching in the study of esotericism and mysticism.” It arranges conferences on esotericism in North America.   It is the most important scholarly organization in our field currently active in North America.


cesnur_logoCESNUR (Centre for Studies on New Religions) is the largest international network for the study of new religious movements, new age, and contemporary spirituality. Based in Torino, Italy, it hosts a substantial library and organizes large international conferences on NRMs and contemporary religion every year.


The Association for the Study of Esotericism and Mysticism (ASEM) is the foremost scholarly society in our field in Russia. Besides bringing together scholars active in the Russian language sphere and networking with the ESSWE, it hosts workshops and international conferences. 




Societas Magica

societas-magica-headerFounded in 1994, Societas Magica is a scholarly society dedicated to furthering communication and exchange among scholars interested in the study of magic. It publishes a newsletter twice each year and has occasionally organized conferences and workshops. This organization is of great importance to esotericism specialists researching ritual and ceremonial magic, in any period. 




The Research Network for the Study of Esoteric Practices (RENSEP)

RENSEP is a non-profit foundation based in the UK whose mission is it will be to promote and advance the interdisciplinary and comparative study of esoteric practices from a global perspective. RENSEP’s ambition is to organise and structure a stimulating intellectual and methodological environment that allows researchers from different backgrounds and disciplines to meet and exchange their analyses and interpretations of esoteric practices from an open-minded, data-based, apolitical, and non-ideological perspective. RENSEP’s unique approach is to provide a shared cognitive and interactional space – the RENSEP website – that transcends traditional academic boundaries by supporting the participation and encounter of both scholars and practitioners of esoteric practices.


ENSIE (European Network for the Study of Islam and Esotericism)

The ENSIE was established in 2016 as a thematic network of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE) to cement the place of Islam and Islamic esotericism in the field, and to cultivate a conversation about the entanglement of western esoteric currents with Islam and Islamic esotericism.

The ENSIE has organized two successful conferences (2018, Venice; 2020, online). The proceedings of the first was published in 2021 under the title Esoteric Transfers and Constructions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, edited by Mark Sedgwick and Francesco Piraino.

SNASWE: Scandinavian Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism

The purpose of SNASWE is to bring together Scandinavian and non-Scandanavian scholars interested in the study of Esotericism and to share relevant information. It facilitated the ESSWE4 conference in Gothenburg, Sweden and runs a Facebook group. The organizers of this network are also responsible for editing the reference work on Western Esotericism in Scandinavia

INASWE: Israeli Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism

INASWE has mobilized scholars of Esotericism in Israel. It runs a google group, and has arranged several workshops and international conferences. Several of the INASWE events were filmed and have been made available online.

: Central and Eastern European Network for the Academic Study of Western Esotericism

Founded in 2014, CEENASWE is a network for the academic study of esotericism in East-Central- and South-Eastern Europe It is an affiliated regional group of ESSWE. Since its foundation it has organized a number of international conferences.


Since 2011, the Centre for the Study of Western Esotericism of the Union of South American Nations (CEEO-UNASUR)  has been an international network of South-American scholars, whose main mission is to advance academic research and teaching in the field of western esotericism. The Center was created by its current Director, Dr. Juan Pablo Bubello, as a result of his doctoral research training and experience as a teacher and researcher at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.ContERN (Contemporary Esotericism Research Network).

NSEA (Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity)

NSEA is dedicated to advancing the study of Esotericism in and relating to Mediterranean antiquity. To this end it has created a valuable website that collects online material and references for a large number of currents, and provides news on workshops, conferences, and other relevant events.

University programmes and research centres


Écoles Pratique des Hautes Études, Sorbonne (Paris, France)

The oldest university chair specializing in Western Esotericism is at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, and was established in 1965. The chair is currently held by Jean-Pierre Brach, who offers weekly seminars on esotericism, and EPHE now also offers an MA programme.



Rice University (Houston, TX, USA)

The Rice University religious studies department offers a programme on “Gnosticism, Esotericism, Mysticism (GEM).” The team of specialists at Rice give MA courses and supervise PhDs on various aspects of Esotericism.


University of Gothenburg (Sweden)

The Department of Humanities and languages conducts research and education in the fields of Comparative Literature, History of Ideas and Science, Religious Studies and Theology, and Theatre Studies. Western Esotericism is one of the special profiles that is offered within the Master Programme.


Copenhagen Centre for the Study of Theosophy and Esotericism (CCSTE)

The Copenhagen Centre for the Study of Theosophy and Esotericism offers a distinct opportunity for researchers and students to generate knowledge about influential aspects of European and global intellectual and religious history often categorized as ‘Esotericism’. This includes how esotericism has interacted with art, science, religion and philosophy in both regional and global contexts.
This centre is particularly dedicated to teaching and researching Esotericism, modern Theosophy, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) and related currents. The research of the centre engages directly with current core questions facing the humanities, such as the crucial links between humanity and nature and between modern spirituality and global trends. The centre strategically contributes to bringing its research to use in connection with relevant cultural events.



The Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences Alternative Rationalities and Esoteric Practices from a Global Perspective undertakes the investigation of the apparent persistence of practices aimed at predicting, controlling, managing, and manipulating contingent life events, despite an increasingly dominant scientific and technical discourse that delegitimises them.