Are there any academic programs in occult studies?
July 31, 2005 10:42 AM   Subscribe

FnordFilter: does anyone know of any MA or PhD programs in occult studies, Western esoterica, secret societies, Freemasonry, etc.? I'm looking for accredited programs, not Uncle Joe's Diploma Shack. I've found this program in Holland. Are there any other options?
posted by Netzapper to Education (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Or, alternately, schools that have a design-your-own-program program, and which might be good for this sort of thing, would definitely work.
posted by Netzapper at 10:45 AM on July 31, 2005

The Association for the Study of Esotericism seems like a good place to start looking.

also the journal Esoterica
posted by LimePi at 10:57 AM on July 31, 2005

You might want to draw a pretty clear line between Western occult and esoterica, on the one hand, and fraternal societies and Freemasonry, on the other. The former is going to be of minimal academic interest, except perhaps as a rather contentious suggestion for a folklore studies dissertation in Cultural Anthropology, whereas the latter, with its tremendous impact upon American political, economic and cultural history from colonization through the post-(Second World War) period, could be very interesting indeed.

A good contemporary-methods monographs on the impact of the Mason or Elks might be well received, particularly if you can fit a nice chunky bit of race/ethnic analysis into it (perhaps the role of the societies in amalgamating ethnic and religious variety in small towns, or the way that those societies may have absorbed / co-opted the Ku Klux Klan in the post-Reconstruction era...
posted by MattD at 11:27 AM on July 31, 2005

Raymond Buckland actually graduated from Berkely with either a BA or MA in Magic(k). I'm not sure if they still have a design-your-own course, though.

Is your interest academic, or personal? By which I mean, is it essential that you receive a degree for this, or are you simply interested in the field, or are you actually interested in practical applications of various occult disciplines?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:17 PM on July 31, 2005

You can come pretty close by studying History of Religion at the University of Chicago's Divinity School.

At least, I know that used to be the case prior to the (as yet unsolved) murder of Ioan Culianu.
posted by Eamon at 1:07 PM on July 31, 2005

That got me thinking... you probably want to check out some of Culianu's writings. Definitely look into the work of his mentor, Mircea Eliade. Pretty much all academic study of majick today has been directly influenced by Eliade; his will be a useful name to drop when evaluating programs.
posted by Eamon at 1:15 PM on July 31, 2005

I can't tell what kind of program they offer, but do you already know about this? It's apparently the non-Duke-affiliated successor to the Duke paranormal studies program.
posted by kimota at 5:35 PM on July 31, 2005

Indiana University has a great folklore studies program. That may fit the bill for you.
posted by jmgorman at 6:34 PM on July 31, 2005

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