We are pleased to announce a major international conference on the Scandinavian scientist, mystic, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) and his substantial impact on the visual, musical, theatrical, and literary arts. Taking place between June 6-9, 2017 on the campus of Bryn Athyn College (Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, USA), the three-and-a-half day conference represents an unprecedented collaboration between academic institutions, research centers, and publishing houses related to the academic study of Swedenborg. The conference will be the first of its kind that is specifically devoted to situating Swedenborg’s place in the history of art, literature, and related disciplines.
More than merely tracing the historical dimensions of influence, the 2017 conference aims to uncover the particular dynamics of exchange that lie between various painters, poets, sculptors, writers, musicians and filmmakers and their respective creative encounters with Swedenborg. What are the continuities and discontinuities in these disparate reception histories, which range from William Blake, to Honoré de Balzac, to George Inness, to Czeslaw Milosz, and Jorge Luis Borges (to name but a few)? Such cross-cultural (and temporal) heterogeneity suggests how the case of Swedenborg and the arts might reveal something broader about the constitutive relationship between religion, science, and the aesthetic.
A general call-for-papers and announcement of plenary speakers is forthcoming; interested persons can also contact the conference coordinators (firstname.lastname@example.org) and subscribe to updates from this conference website.
Sponsoring Institutions include: CESNUR (Center for Studies of New Religions); Bryn Athyn College; the Center for Swedenborgian Studies at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California; the Swedenborg Foundation; the Swedenborg Society of London; and the Glencairn Museum.