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Canonbury Masonic Research Centre 2007 Conference - 3-4 November 2007


Canonbury Masonic Research Centre


Visions of Utopia
Masonic, Religious & Esoteric

The Ninth International Conference organised by CMRC

Saturday & Sunday 3-4 November 2007

Canonbury Academy, 6 Canonbury Place, London N1 2NQ

The idea that a perfect society could be planned, created and sustained can be traced back to Plato’s description of Atlantis, but it entered the popular imagination during the religious and cultural upheavals of Renaissance and Reformation when, in the early sixteenth century, Sir Thomas More published Utopia, his speculative vision of an ideal society. Since that time speculative philosophers, enthusiasts, dreamers, visionaries and reformers — of every shade of religious, political and philosophical opinion — have presented countless other visions of the ideal society to the world at large, ranging from Sir Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. These have varied from messianic and impracticable dreams, sometimes satirical or even dystopian in tone, to a number of real projects that have, for a time, succeeded and flourished. Many Enlightenment projects could perhaps be viewed as utopian in character.

These visions frequently represented an optimistic view of human society, offering innovative ideas and espousing such values as religious and political tolerance, mutual aid and openness to philosophical and spiritual speculation. Their value to us lies not only in their historical interest and in the intriguing nature of individual utopian visionaries, but also in the significance of their ideas for the improvement of a world in a state of uncertainty and flux.

This conference aims to consider the many aspects - historical, biographical, literary, artistic and speculative - of these visions of Utopia, to explore their sources and the variety of interactions between them, including the contribution of Freemasonry as a speculative system to the articulation of utopian visions and the involvement of individual freemasons in utopian projects. Topics for papers may include, for example, real or imaginary societies; established utopian settlements; literary utopias; socio-religious innovators; biographical and critical studies of personalities who have exercised a significant influence or contributed to utopian visions within or upon the masonic community; and the question of hierarchical versus non-hierarchical systems in relation to masonic views of the ideal society.




9:15 Registration & Coffee

9:50 Opening: CMRC Trustees
Introduction: Carole McGilvery CIPR. CMRC Conference Organiser
CHAIR: John Acaster, FCIB Hon. FIWO. Manchester Association of Masonic Research 

10:00 Professor A. Lentin, MA. PhD(Cantab), FRHistS, Barrister at Law Visiting Fellow, Open University & Wolfson College, Cambridge.
Prince M.M. Shcherbatov's Journey to the Land of Ophir: an 18th century Russian Utopia 

10:40 Christopher McIntosh D.Phil (Oxon) Hon. Fellow of Exeter University 

The Quest for Shangri-La: A Compelling example of the Utopian Dream 

11:20 Morning Coffee

11:45 Prof. dr.W. J. Hanegraaff, Chair: History of Hermetic Philosophy & Related Currents, University of Amsterdam,
Utopias of the Mind: Reality & Imagination

12:25 Speaker's Panel - Questions and discussion

1:00 Lunch Break

2:30 Tobias Churton M.A. Hon Fellow of Exeter University 
Broken Masonry: Healing Europe with a dirty joke 
(Johann Valentin Andreae)

3:10 Robert Gilbert, B.A. Hons. PM. Q.C. Lodge 2076 Author/Editor
Heaven in the New World: Rosicrucian Art & the Shaker 'Gift' Drawings

3:50 Afternoon Tea

4:20 Pierre Mollier, Director Library & Museum, Grand Orient of France
French Utopians & Freemasonry: 19th century

5:00 Speaker's Panel - Questions and discussion

5:30 Close

9:00 Coffee

9:50 Welcome & Introduction: Carole McGilvery
CHAIR: Dr Andrew Prescott, Manager of Library Services, Director of the University Research Centre, Lampeter, University of Wales 

10:00 Dr Peter Forshaw, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Birkbeck University of London, & Exeter University.
Campanella's City of the Sun 

10:40 Richard Lines, Secretary, Swedenborg Society 
From the Spiritual to the Natural: The Idea of the New Jerusalem in Swedenborg & Blake

11:20 Morning Coffee

11:45 Dr Guido Giglioni, Warburg Institute, Cassamarca Lecturer in Neo-Latin Cultural & Intellectual History
Francis Bacon's New Atlantis: The Matter of Desire & Political Utopia

12:25 Speaker's Panel - Questions and Discussion

1: 00 Lunch Break

2:30 Lyman T Sargent, Prof. Emeritus, Political Science, University of Missouri, USA. Visiting Fellow, Mansfield College, University of Oxford
Reflections on Utopias & Everyday Life: Utopianism & Communitarianism 

3:10 Mark Tabbert, Director of Collections, George Washington Masonic Memorial, USA 
George Washington's Masonic Vision for an American Utopia

3:50 Dr Chloe Houston, Lecturer Early Modern Drama, School of English & American Literature, University of Reading 
Noland or Neverland? Thomas More's Utopia: Travel & the Ideal Society

4:30 Speaker's Panel - Questions and Discussion

5:00 Afternoon Tea

5:30 Close




More info and Registration Form:

Canonbury Masonic Research Centre

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