Thursday, February 09, 2012

Experiments in Alchemical Knowledge

Frank Klaassen, in his capacity as President of Societas Magica, organised the society's (and probably the department's) first-ever e-colloquium. Participants from Waterloo, Paris, Cambridge, and Saskatchewan all met by videoconference. Lauren Kassell (Cambridge) spoke on "Thomas Vaughan's Alchemy and the Reform of Ritual Magic in Seventeeth-Century England". It was a fascinating paper that considered Vaughan's reformation of ritual magic in the quest to develop a purer alchemy. This had ties to the wider Protestant reformation, as well as the emerging experimental method.

The e-colloquium was a great way to bring international scholars together inexpensively (and greenly). I declare the experiment a success! Frank promises that there will be more e-colloquiums to come.