Saturday, November 21, 2015

‘18th Century Freemasonry and the Arts’

The coming year will feature yet another entity outside the Masonic fraternity—see here and here—that will show its considerable interest in the Masonic fraternity.

The 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies will be hosted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania March 31 through April 3, 2016. Among the subjects to be taken up is “Eighteenth Century Freemasonry and the Arts,” chaired by Rebecca Dowd Geoffroy-Schwinden of the University of North Texas.

From the publicity:

Freemasonry represented a new social and cultural institution during the eighteenth century. The ideologies of Freemasonry opened new frontiers to the application of Enlightenment philosophy to lived experience, to the creation of new spaces of socialization, and to the integration of new forms of spirituality with Newtonianism and sensationism. The practices and ideologies of Freemasonry called for humans to rethink their relationships: with themselves and their peers, with authority figures, and toward the natural and supernatural realms.

Artists across the visual, performing, and literary arts came to occupy a crucial role in the development, expansion, and sociality of Masonic lodges. This panel seeks to explore the significance of the relationship that Freemasonry, from its rituals to its social structure to its values, shared with the arts. Recent scholarship has begun to reveal the rapport between Freemasonry and the visual, performing, and literary arts. This panel aims to bring scholars of the arts into conversation to pursue a holistic theoretical and methodological framework through which to understand the mutual influence of Freemasonry and the arts during the eighteenth century.

Rebecca Dowd Geoffroy-Schwinden
Rebecca Dowd Geoffroy-Schwinden is a faculty member in the College of Music at University of North Texas. Her current project mobilizes archival evidence to demonstrate how musicians during the French Revolution (1789-99) regenerated their profession through pre-existing social networks, economic uncertainty, and Enlightenment philosophy. She also researches sound studies, traversing film music, audible history, and digital humanities, and has taught courses on music, writing, and politics from the eighteenth century to the present.

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