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SCIENCE AND THE OCCULT - from Antiquity through the Early Modern Period


APRIL 20, 2012  (Friday)

Hosted by the Department of History and supported by the Bilsland-Puskas Initiative endowment at Purdue University

Contact: Angela Catalina Ghionea at email:



Panel I  Astrology and Astronomy
Chair: Angela C. Ghionea

Sophisticated prognosis or simple divination? “The Sphere of Life and Death” in England, 1100-1500
Jo Edge
Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

By Aid of the Good Star”: Astrological prognosis in Ibn Sina
Coeli Fitzpatrick
Department of Philosophy, Grand Valley State University, MI, USA

“The Sol and Jupiter of this sphere”: Theatrical alchemy in Jonson’s “Mercury Vindicated from the Alchemists at Court”
Katherine Shrieves
Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, USA

Questions addressed

Panel II  Alchemy and Science
Chair: James R. Farr

Alchemical Cosmology in the Sixteenth Century
Nancy L. Turner, Keynote Speaker
Chair of Social Sciences Department and History Program, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, USA; President of Societas Alchimica.

The Orwin publications of George Ripley's Compound of Alchemy (1591) and the English Faust Book (1592): A coincidental John Dee-Edward Kelley connection, intentional suppression, or both?
Teresa Burns
Chair of Humanities Department, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, USA. Founder of  Societas Alchimica

The Divine Word and the Power of Sound in Alchemical Recipes
Angela C. Ghionea
Purdue University, Department of History
Indiana University, Department of History

Questions addressed

Lunch Break     (presenters escorted to Sagamore Restaurant – courtesy of Puskas-Bilsland)

Panel III  Magic and Witchcraft
Chair: Angela C. Ghionea

Magic, Science, Witchcraft and the Problems of Evidence
Edward Bever, Keynote Speaker
Chair of History & Philosophy Department,
SUNY-Old Westbury (State Univeristy of New York), USA 

The Historical and Economic Concepts of Treasure Hunting 
Johannes Dillinger,
Brookes, Oxford University, UK
Heisenberg Scholar of the German Research Foundation at
Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

Balneum Diaboli”: Demonism, Delusion, and Reformation in early Enlightenment Scotland
Paul Jenkins,
Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA 

Questions addressed

Panel IV  Religion and Spiritualism
Chair: Natalie E Latteri

The Esoteric Tradition in “Don Quixote” Criticism: Uncovering the Silenced Voices of Inquisition-Era Spain?
Massimiliano A. Giorgini
Ivy Tech Community College

Stepping between the Two Worlds: A Study of Modern Spiritualist Ministers and their Mediumship
Todd Jay Leonard
Fukuoka University of Education, Munakata, Japan 

Preaching against Heresy: Witchcraft persecutions in Toulouse in 1562
Alex Karim Baccouche
Department of History, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Questions addressed

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