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Project type/Form of grant
Grant for employment or scholarship
Title [sv]
Makt genom närhet? Kvinnlig auktoritet och agens i en manligt styrd ny religion
Title [en]
Power through closeness? Female authority and agency in a male-led new religion
Abstract [en]
The purpose of the project is to analyse patterns of female religious agency and authority at different stages of religious emergence through the biographies of three women: Leah Hirsig (1883–1975), Jane Wolfe (1875–1958), and Phyllis Seckler (1917–2004), prominent figures within the religion Thelema, founded in 1904 by the British esotericist Aleister Crowley (1875–1947). Weber’s tripartite typology of authority will be applied to the development of Thelema from loosely organised charismatic movement to bureaucratised structure. The project will propose a supplementary category: proximal authority, derived from (perceived) closeness to a charismatic leader, and which is central for understanding the roles of Hirsig, Seckler, and Wolfe. By analysing female agency at different stages of religious emergence, the project contributes to the development of theoretical concepts for understanding female authority in male-led religious movements. The project is based on archival research, and sources consist mainly of unpublished diaries and correspondence. The time frame is 3 years; the first 18 months devoted to data collection and systematisation, the second to analysing and theorising the findings for publication. The project will be based at the University of Amsterdam’s Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents (HHP); the world-leading centre for the academic study of Western esotericism, the group of religious currents of which Thelema is part.
Principal InvestigatorHedenborg White, Manon
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
2018-07-01 - 2021-06-30
National Category
History of Religions
DiVA, id: project:2529Project, id: 2018-00439_VR

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