From Structure to Rhizome - Transdisciplinarity in French thought, 1945 to the present: histories, concepts, constructions
In the final decades of the twentieth century, the “great books” of postwar French theory transformed study in the humanities in the Anglophone world. These books were all, in one way or another, transdisciplinary in character. Yet their reception has primarily taken place in an array of specific disciplinary contexts, isolated from a broader understanding of the intellectual dynamics, forms, significance and innovative potential of transdisciplinarity itself. This conference aims to redress this situation. Each speaker will reflect on the transdisciplinary functioning of a single concept in French thought since 1945, with respect to a founding text, a particular thinker or a school of thought.
The age of globalization confronts the observer with more ironies than certainties. It was once assumed that the growth of modern institutions – democracy, capitalism, science – would be attended by a series of mutually reinforcing social processes, most notably secularisation, rationalisation and disenchantment. Not only has the global spread of these institutions proved patchy and uneven, religious movements and belief systems have doggedly refused to assume the private status once thought to be their natural destiny. In both the West and the wider world, religion continues to make competing claims on the public sphere and public morals. Developments like this have been accompanied by conceptual critique and innovation. Increasingly, traditional accounts of modernity are seen as Euro-centric and prescriptive, while there has been renewed interest in the question of political and civil religions and the more general relationship of the political and the theological.
Aims and agenda
The aim of this conference is to take stock of these transformations in the context of what is often referred to as a ‘post-secular’ age comprised of ‘multiple modernities’. Its agenda is emphatically interdisciplinary and welcomes scholars from the fields of history, sociology, cultural studies, theology, and others. In the same spirit, the conference adopts a broad, abundant understanding of the term ‘sacred’ to encompass not only formal religious worldviews, but also that which, in whatever fashion, disturbs, complicates, and perhaps abolishes, the distinction between the sacred and the secular. Accordingly, it is just as much interested in manifestations and logics of re-enchantment and resacralization, as it is of desecularisation understood as the persistence and revival of traditional religions. In sum, the aim of the conference is to rethink the equation of modernity, secularity and disenchantment, and to explore the various conceptual and historiographical perspectives through which we might better understand the present.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The term New Age was used in this context in Madame Blavatsky's book The Secret Doctrine, published in 1888. A weekly journal of Christian liberalism and socialism titled The New Age was published as early as 1894; it was sold to a group of socialist writers headed by Alfred Richard Orage and Holbrook Jackson in 1907. Other historical personalities were involved: H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, and William Butler Yeats; the magazine became a forum for politics, literature, and the arts. Between 1908 and 1914, it was instrumental in pioneering the British avant-garde from vorticism to imagism.
After 1914, publisher Orage met P. D. Ouspensky, a follower of G. I. Gurdjieff, and began correspondence with Harry Houdini, becoming less interested in literature and art, with an increased focus on mysticism and other spiritual topics; the magazine was sold in 1921. According to Brown University, The New Age "... helped to shape modernism in literature and the arts from 1907 to 1922."
Popularisation behind these ideas has roots in the work of early 20th century writers such as D. H. Lawrence and William Butler Yeats. In the early to middle 1900s, American mystic, theologian, and founder of the Association for Research and Enlightenment Edgar Cayce was a seminal influence on what later would be termed the New Age movement; he was known in particular for the practice some refer to as channeling. Former Theosophist Rudolf Steiner and his Anthroposophical Movement are a major influence. Neo-Theosophist Alice Bailey published the book Discipleship in the New Age (1944), which used the term New Age in reference to the transition from the Astrological Age ofPisces to Aquarius. While claims of racial bias in the writings of Rudolf Steiner and Alice Bailey were made, Steiner emphasized racial equality as a principle central to anthroposophical thought and humanity's progress. Any racial elements from these influences have not remained part of the Anthroposophical Society as contemporary adherents of the society have either not adopted or repudiated these beliefs.
Another early usage of the term, was by the American artist, mystic, and philosopher Walter Russell, who spoke of "... this New Age philosophy of the spiritual re-awakening of man ..." in his essay "Power Through Knowledge", which was also published in 1944. Carl Gustav Jung was an early articulator of the concept of the Age of Aquarius. In a letter to H. G. Baynes, dated
12 August 1940, he wrote in a passage concerning the destruction of the by an earthquake in 26 BC: "1940 is the year when we approach the meridian of the first star in Aquarius. It is the premonitory earthquake of the New Age." temple of Karnak