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“History of Western Esotericism: An Open Question” by Professor Gian Mario Cazzaniga

The Italian Cultural Institute of Montreal and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures of the University of McGill are pleased to present the conference of Professor Gian Mario Cazzaniga (University of Pisa) History of esotericism in the West: an open question.

Thursday November 1st, ore 10:05–11:25
Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
McGill University
688 Sherbrooke St. W., Room 295, 1005-1125
Montreal, QC H3A 3R1
The conference will be in French

Whether one takes it as a way of transmitting knowledge secretly or, more broadly, as a distinctive form of thought, esotericism constitutes a central and, to a large extent, stigmatized facet of Western culture. Is esotericism a modern-day construct used to describe a number of ideas and practices at odds with the rationalistic and secular agenda of modernity? Do ancient works on magic, astrology, alchemy and theurgy give evidence of a peculiar way of experiencing the world, traces of which are to be found in Freemasonry and New Religious movements? And why Western intellectuals ended up rejecting this aspect of their cultural heritage? In this presentation, professor Cazzaniga will address these and other questions, while also offering his take on what is still an open question within, but also without, Western academia.

Gian Mario Cazzaniga is professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Pisa and a leading expert in the history of Freemasonry, secret societies and modern religions. Among his numerous publications, Cazzaniga has authored La religione dei moderni (ETS, 1999)and, with Gerardo Tocchini e Roberta Turchi, Le Muse in Loggia. Massoneria e letteratura nel Settecento (Unicopli, 2001). He has also directed and edited Annale 21. La massoneria (2006) and Annale 25. Esoterismo (2010)of the Storia d’Italia Einaudi.

  • Organized by: Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Montréal
  • In collaboration with: Dipartimento di lingue, letterature e culture Univ