Thursday, December 03, 2009

Apoliteic music

In his new article, "Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and 'metapolitical fascism'" (Patterns of Prejudice 43, no. 5, December 2009, pp. 431-457), Anton Shekhovtsov suggests that there are two types of radical right-wing music that are cultural reflections of the two different political strategies that fascism was forced to adopt in the ‘hostile’ conditions of the post-war period.

While White Noise music is explicitly designed to inspire racially or politically motivated violence and is seen as part and parcel of the revolutionary ultra-nationalist subculture, he suggests that ‘metapolitical fascism’ has its own cultural reflection in the domain of sound, namely, apoliteic music. This is a type of music whose ideological message contains obvious or veiled references to the core elements of fascism but is simultaneously detached from any practical attempts to realize these elements through political activity. Apoliteic music neither promotes outright violence nor is publicly related to the activities of radical right-wing political organizations or parties. Nor can it be seen as a means of direct recruitment to any political tendency.

Shekhovtsov’s article focuses on this type of music, and the thesis is tested by examining bands and artists that work in such musical genres as Neo-Folk and Martial Industrial, whose roots lie in cultural revolutionary and national folk traditions.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An anti-Traditionalist???

Muhammad Abduh (1849–1905), Mufti of the Egyptian Realm, was hardly a Traditionalist. In fact, he was perhaps an anti-Traditionalist. A jurist, religious scholar, political activist, and freemason, he wanted to span the divide between Islam and the West, and advocated a more modern conception of Islam, grounded in rationalism.

I have just published a biography of Muhammad Abduh: Muhammad Abduh (Oxford: Oneworld, 2009). A Middle East edition (as Muhammad Abduh: A Biography) is soon to be published by the American University in Cairo Press.

"Asserting that he was as much a patriotic Egyptian as Islamic reformer, Mark Sedgwick examines the life and thought of the great Mufti and explores his lasting influence on Islamic culture. Drawing on a wealth of new sources and the latest research, this is the only modern biography of this controversial and enigmatic figure."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fez Festival of Sufi Culture 2010

The dates of the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture 2010 have now been announced: 17-25 April 2010.

As before, the part-Traditionalist-inspired cultural festival will be accompanied by a Fez Forum, on “Giving a Soul to Globalisation."

Further information at the festival website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Traditionalism and Sufism in Italy

Alessandra Marchi has completed a doctoral thesis at the EHESS in Paris entitled "Les formes du soufisme en Italie. Le devenir des confréries islamiques en Occident" (450 pp).

The first part of the thesis deals with the history and sociology of Sufism in Italy, introducing Traditionalism in chapter two. Chapter three looks at the Sufi orders currently found in Italy, dividing them on the basis of their membership into the "ethnic" (Mûridiyya, Khalwatiyya and Tijaniyya), the "mixed" (Burhâniyya-Dusûqiyya-Shâdhiliyya and Naqshbandiyya), and the "Italian" (Ahmadiyya-Idrisiyya-Shâdhiliyya and Halvetiyya Jerrahiyya).

The second part deals with the history and anthropology of conversion to Islam (again touching on Traditionalism) and the third part, which concerns the possible future of Sufism in Italy, also considers Traditionalism, as well as hybridization.

It looks very interesting! For Traditionalist Sufism, and for the wider context.

Friday, October 23, 2009

On the early history of the perennial philosophy

An old but excellent article on the early history of the perennial philosophy of which I have just become aware is Charles B. Schmitt, "Perrenial Philosophy: From Agostino Steuco to Leibniz," Journal of the History of Ideas 27 (1966), pp. 505-532.

Schmitt traces uses and development of the term from Marsilio Ficino (1433-99) and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-94) to Agostino Steuco (1497-1548), and finally to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), passing along the way Symphorien Champier (c. 1472-c. 1539), Francesco Giorgio (1460-1540), Nicholas of Cusa (1401-64), and Guillaume Postel (1510-81). Among the moderns, he mentions briefly Jacques Maritain, Erwin J. Auweiler, Paolo Rotta, Aldous Huxley, Roberto Ardigo, Cornelius Kruse, Otto Willmann, Maurice de Wulf, and S. Radhakrishnan.

On Leibniz, he concludes:
Although it is more fashionable today to see Leibniz as a "precursor of modern logic and mathematics" or as a brilliant metaphysician, his affinity to the tradition of perennial philosophy as envisioned by Steuco is most clear. Leibniz's whole philosophy of harmony is very similar to that expressed by Steuco and the others we have discussed, although in Leibniz the metaphysical foundations of such a Harmonistik are much more carefully worked out, recalling in some ways Cusanus' attempt to give a metaphysical basis to a "philosophy of concord" . . . In a sense, Leibniz is the most eminent defender of the tradition called by Steuco philosophia perennis. Moreover, Leibniz's attempts to bring about religious unity-in a century not reputed for its ecumenical spirit-hark back to Cusanus, as well as to Ficino and Pico.
For more on Leibniz and the perennial philosophy, see
  • H. J. De Vleeschauwer, “Perennis quaedam Philosophia,” Studia Leibnitiana supplementa I (1968), pp. 102-22.
  • R Meyer, “Leibniz und die Philosophia perennis,“ in Tradition und Kritik, Festschrift für Rudolf Zocher zum 80. Geburtstag (Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 1967) pp. 223-54.
These suggestions are from Renato Cristin, Heidegger and Leibniz: Reason and the Path (Dordrecht: Kluwer), 1998, p. 83.

My thanks to Anders Klostergaard Petersen for bringing the Leibniz connection to my attention in the first place.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Eliade esoterico

A recent book on Eliade I have just noticed: Marcello De Martino, Mircea Eliade esoterico. Ion Petr Culianu e i “non detti.” Rome: Edizioni Settimo Sigillo, 2008. 524 pp. €29.50.

To judge from reviews and an interview with the author, De Martino looks into Eliade's early thought. He argues that Eliade first encountered the philosophia perennis through nineteenth-century sources such as Papus before encountering the work of Guénon. He also looks at Eliade's early views on magic, which seem very much  influenced by Evola.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Traditionalism and the French "New Right"

For those who read French... A new paper on Traditionalism and the French "New Right:" Stéphane François, "Contre le monde moderne: la Nouvelle Droite et la 'Tradition'" (Religioscope, études et analyses n° 21, July 2009).

François traces the Traditionalist current within the French New Right (notably, the GRECE of Alain de Benoist) from its origins in the 1970s through its growing importance during the 1980s to the current day. He argues that Traditionalism has been important to the New Right in providing a basis for the reconstruction of Indo-European paganism as well as for its contribution to the New Right's anti-modern discourse, but that difficulties have arisen over Islam.

Traditionalists in the French New Right have differed over whether to welcome Islam, following Guénon, or to reject monotheism, following Evola. Those who have welcomed Islam and monotheism have, according to François, often ended up leaving the New Right proper, ending up in more regular conservatism, if of a somewhat extreme variety.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dugin's Neo-Eurasianism

For those who read Russian, eight articles on Dugin's Neo-Eurasianism are to be found in the web-journal Forum noveishei vostochnoevropeiskoi istorii i kul'tury vol. 6, no. 1, 2009.

Guénon on Egyptian television

Guénon has finally appeared in an Egyptian soap opera!

Hatsuki Aishima, a scholar working on Abd al-Halim Mahmud (1910-78), a celebrated rector of the Azhar in the 1970s, found Guénon in a multipart Ramadan soap opera devoted to the life of Abd al-Halim Mahmud.

Of course, one has to simplify a bit for television. Guénon was not the only Frenchman who Abd al-Halim Mahmud knew. The other was Louis Massignon, the celebrated scholar of Islam who taught him at the Sorbonne. So Guénon and Massignon, who did not think highly of each other, are combined uncomfortably into one person, Frédéric.

In the soap, Guénon-Massignon converts to Islam in Paris after reading the Quran with Abd al-Halim Mahmud, and then moves to Cairo, where he lives as a pious recluse in a villa in Dokki, working on ancient Islamic manuscripts. Well, sort of.

The soap not only manages to introduce Guénon to Egyptian television viewers without referring to Traditionalism, but even manages to deal with Sufism without referring to Sufism--reducing it simply to generic piety, ignoring altogether anything that might seem controversial today. That's modernity for you!

Source: Hatsuki Aishima, "Producing a National Icon through the Mass Mediated Hagiography: al-`Arif billah al-Imam `Abd al-Halim Mahmud and Sufism in the Egyptian TV Serials," paper given at a conference on "Islamic Resurgence in the Age of Globalization: Myth, Memory, Emotion," held at the NTNU, Trondheim, September 4-6, 2009.

Is Dugin a Traditionalist?

In a new article, Anton Shekhovtsov and Andreas Umland ask whether Alexander Dugin is a Traditionalist, and conclude that he is not--or rather, that he is not an "Integral Traditionalist," a term that they use and he does not. The article, "Is Aleksandr Dugin a Traditionalist? 'Neo-Eurasianism' and Perennial Philosophy" was published in The Russian Review 68 (October 2009), pp. 662–78.

The basic argument is that "Integral Traditionalism" can be defined as Guénon's own Traditionalism, that Evola differs so much from Guénon that he is not really an "Integral Traditionalist," and that Dugin differs from Evola, let alone Guénon, and so cannot possibly be a Traditionalist, even if he says he is.

Whether one accepts this argument or not depends on one's terminology. If by "Integral Traditionalism" one means "Guénonian Traditionalism," then Dugin is clearly not a Traditionalist, and neither are many other people who consider or considered themselves Traditionalists, probably including Schuon. If by "Traditionalism" one means a whole school of thought, in which are found disagreements and developments, then Dugin clearly has an important relationship to Traditionalism, as well as to other schools of thought.

Although they do not put it in quite these terms, Shekhovtsov and Umland question whether Traditionalism so defined (that is, as defined by me and some others, and not as defined by them and some others) is sufficiently coherent to be characterized as a school of thought in the first place. Their view is evidently that, taken together, the difference between Guénon's lack of interest in politics and Evola's interest in politics, the differences concerning initiation, and the difference between Guénon's rejection of modernity and Dugin's approval of some varieties of modernization, produce contradictions too great for one label to have much meaning.

This view certainly has merit, especially with regard to attitudes to politics. With regard to modernity, one might argue that Dugin is simply being more honest than Guénon in recognizing publicly that Traditionalism is not actually traditional--that it is a product of modernity, and in a sense a form of post-modernism. With regard to initiation, one might note that emphasis on initiation was a late addition to Guénon's own work. But surely a movement cannot be apolitical and political at the same time? Or perhaps it can... one can think of other examples of the apolitical being also political. What about Christianity, for example? "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." And yet Christianity has not always been apolitical. Should we argue that many popes and bishops were not really Christian?

I am not totally convinced by Shekhovtsov and Umland's argument, then, even though the article does raise important questions, and their examination of the relationship between the thought of Guénon, Evola, and Dugin is most interesting. Whether or not one allows Dugin the right to call himself a Traditionalist, it is useful to see how he fits in with others who call themselves Traditionalists.

One last word in what is becoming rather a long post. Shekhovtsov and Umland do me the honor of devoting a section of their article to my work on Traditionalism, and even giving me my own sub-heading. Mostly, they refer to views of mine that support their argument that Dugin differs from Guénon in important ways--which, of course, he does. Sometimes they are complimentary about my Against the Modern World, for which I thank them. They also, however, repeat charges made against me and my work in reviews that, as they recognize, "sometimes seem to be driven by nonacademic motives." Indeed! Which is why I have never responded to them--as a scholar, I welcome scholarly debate, but not mud-slinging.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rue René Guénon

Just discovered: rue René Guénon in his native Blois! On the south side of the Loire....

Another origin of Traditionalism

"Traditionalism" was being discussed in the Universal Gnostic Church as early as 1905, before Guénon joined that church in 1908.

A young French lawyer, Déodat Roché (1877-1978), shown here in 1911, had left the Gnostic Church after disagreeing with its then chief theologian, Dr Louis-Sophrane Fugairon. In "Gnose antique et Pensée moderne," Roché reproached Fugairon for his dogmatism, and argued against a concept of tradition that placed traditionalism in opposition to modern science and thought. Modern science and thought, argued Roché, could and should be used to evaluate tradition.

Before this disagreement, Roché and Fugairon had together edited a journal that was at first called Le Réveil des Albigeois and then called La Gnose moderne. Guénon's own first journal, La Gnose, was a revival of Roché's and Fugairon's. Guénon's first recognizably Traditionalist article, "La religion et les religions," published in La Gnose, not only reflected the views of de Pouvourville, but also--to some extent--a pre-existing discussion within the Gnostic Church.

The original title of La Gnose moderne, Le Réveil des Albigeois, reflected Roché's conviction that the true ancient esoteric religion was the so-called Albigensian heresy, better known as Catharism. This was a thesis that Roché promoted for the rest of his life, and to which Guénon objected in Études Traditionnelles in 1949, referring to Roché's 1947 book Les Cathares. Roché responded to Guénon in his own journal, Cahiers d'Études Cathares.

Roché's career is an interesting parallel to Guénon's. His early trajectory was much the same, from provincial France through Martinism and the Gnostic Church to promoting his own understanding of perennial religion while remaining an active and influential Mason. Unlike Guénon, Roché led a small formal group of disciples, but like Guénon he was most influential through his writings, which were--especially in the 1960s and 1970s--a major source for the renewal of interest in Catharism that fed on the one hand into The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982) and thence into The Da Vinci Code (2003) and on the other hand into the official "branding" of the French département of the Aude (where much of Cathar history had taken place) as "Cathar Country." Roché's house (shown here) is now a museum, a street in his native village is named after him, and a recent biography (Audouy's, see below) carries a preface by the president of the General Council of the Aude.

Although Roché was in a sense the first critic of Traditionalism for its ahistorical methodology, his own work has been subject to criticism by mainstream scholarship for precisely this reason, and is now
little read. It is not even available in his own museum.

For Roché, see Jean-Philippe Audouy, Déodat Roché
« Le Tisserand des Catharismes » (Carcassonne: Impressions du Pays Cathares, 1997) and José Dupré, Un Cathare au xxè siècle: Déodat Roché (1877-1978), sa vie, son œuvre, sa pensée (Chancelade: La Clavellerie, 2001). Available online: Jean-Pierre Bonnerot, "Déodat Roché et l'Église Gnostique," Cahiers d'Études Cathares 2nd series 4-5 (1982).

Against the Modern World in paperback

My history of Traditionalism, Against the Modern World, is now available in paperback, at $22.45 from (US) or £13.99 from (Europe). The paperback edition is basically the same as the hardback (though a few minor errors have been fixed), but is rather cheaper than the hardback (now $40-$50 or £39).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Has American academia begun to accept Traditionalism?

Once again, Traditionalism has come to mainstream academic attention. Generally, when this happens, the result is clear rejection--but this time time the rejection was rather more cautious than usual.

Professor James Cutsinger reports that an outside review team noted the presence of two perennialists at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of South Carolina, and stated "as a committee we have no intellectual issue with perennialism per se," before making rather clear their reservations in practice about what they called a "somewhat esoteric approach to religion that is of interest primarily to a small and committed group of followers."

In comparison with previous rejections, this might even be seen as a sort of grudging acceptance.

Orthodox Traditionalism and more

Well worth a visit: the website of Professor James Cutsinger of the University of South Carolina, an Orthodox Traditionalist. There is an excellent links section and an interesting blog.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mellon, Bollingen and Eranos

Two new books on Eranos--new to me, at least:
  • Hans Thomas Hakl, Der verborgene Geist von Eranos – Unbekannte Begegnungen von Wissenschaft und Esoterik – Eine alternative Geistesgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts (Verlag Neue Wissenschaft, 2001).
  • William McGuire's Bollingen: an adventure in collecting the past (Princeton University Press, 1989).
McGuire clarifies a connection between Traditionalism and Eranos that I was sure would be there somewhere, but had not myself found.

Coomaraswamy was in correspondence with Eliade from at least 1936, and also knew Heinrich Zimmer, the Indologist of German origin who was close to Mary Mellon, patroness of Bollingen. Zimmer introduced Coomaraswamy to Mellon in about 1942; Coomaraswamy arranged Eliade's first job in the US (at a preparatory school in Arizona!!) in 1947, but it was Henry Corbin who first introduced Eliade to Eranos, where he became a hit from 1950 onwards.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Evola's autobiography now in English

For thsoe who don't read Italian or French, Evola's Il Camino del Cinabro (1963) is now available in English translation as The Path of Cinnabar. € 27.95 from Integral Tradition Publishing.

I can't vouch for the quality of the translation--I've only seen the cover--but I can vouch for the importance of the book.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Courting the Cossacks

Contributed by Max Smith

Along with several other figures in Russian politics, Alexander Dugin seems to be courting the Cossacks. One can notice Cossacks in Eurasian demonstrations in the Crimea, and there is a recent Dugin paper about them from his centre at Moscow State University (MGU). There are also news items illustrating closer political cooperation between Dugin and the Cossacks.

It is not only Dugin who is currently striving for more ties with the Cossacks, but also Dmitry Demushkin (also spelled Dyomushkin) of Slavic Unity (Slavyanski Soyuz, abbreviated as SS). See background below.

Clues to why this is happening are to be found both in the size of the Cossack movement – only Putin's United Russia can match it – and also in the latest composition of the State Duma. Since 2008 the most powerful Cossack chieftain, Viktor Vodolatsky, has a seat in the Duma thanks to a deal between the Cossacks and United Russia. A further 56 duma members have declared themselves to be Cossacks. Additionally, both army and FSB-border guard units are now granting privileges to Cossacks all over the country, not just in the south. Even in the Arctic Murmansk region Cossacks are being integrated into border units.

Unlike the older Russian National Unity (RNE--see background below), the SS claims to be primarily a Slavic movement. This difference is mostly a theoretical one, but the SS undeniably likes to highlight its friends in Ukraine, Belarus and Serbia. This means it is closer to Eurasianism than the RNE, although Dugin hardly wants to be associated with any of them. It may seem politically insane, but this does not hold true for the Cossacks. SS leader Dmitry Demushkin has even been made a colonel of the Cossacks and received a Cossack decoration, and SS delegates attended a major Cossack conference.

The first major post-Soviet Russian fascist movement was arguably the black-clad Pamyat (Memory). A cultural movement in the 1970s, a political movement from 1987, it reached its peak strength around 1990. It never became a nation-wide phenomenon. Pamyat cornerstones were the Russian Orthodox Church, crude antisemitism and admiration for the prerevolutionary extreme nationalist "Black Hundreds". Alexander Dugin was briefly a part of Pamyat before he moved on to the National Bolshevik Party.

Then along came Russian National Unity (in Russian abbreviated RNE) under Alexander Barkashov – which went further, even using a Russian variant of the swastika as its main symbol. Incidentally, Barkashov too had started off in Pamyat. RNE was founded in 1990 and within a few years managed to expand to most Russian regions, and in some areas had an amazing presence on the streets – given its black uniforms and swastikas and the number of Russians citizens with a first-hand experience of National Socialism. RNE was without doubt the largest Russian radical nationalist organization with perhaps as many as a 100,000 members at its organizational peak in 1999.

RNE, like Pamyat, is still around. But ever since the year 2000--the year that party leader Alexander Barkashov was expelled from his own party for alcoholism, among other things--it has been in decline. Some months prior to that, RNE-member Dmitry Demushkin founded Slavic Unity, which in 2006 was transformed into what is officially the National Socialist Movement Slavic Unity, though it is still mostly called just Slavic Unity, SS.

Since its founding in September 1999 the SS has not reached the kind of mass that RNE once had. A recent estimate is a total of 1,500 members, mainly in Moscow and Saint Petersburg but with activist cells as far away as Vladivostok.

It may seem the SS is still a far call from RNE but there are three reasons that the SS warrant the attention of Russia analysts.
  1. For special events, the SS can draw on a pool of several thousand skinheads and other young radical nationalists. See this slide show on Youtube, illustrating the development from RNE to SS.
  2. In 2007 a Russian State Duma Deputy, Nikolai Kuryanovich of the LDPR faction (Vladimir Zhirinovsky´s party), decided to not only join the SS but also openly promote them, even using their Nazi salute. See this video: Kuryanovich was subsequently expelled from the LDPR but remained a Duma Deputy until December 2007 and remains a public figure and a captain in the Russian Naval Infantry (Russian Marine Corps).
  3. The SS not only brags that it has its own fire arms (some automatic) but also that it has friends in military units that even lend them machine guns and a BTR-80 heavy armoured car with a heavy machine gun. In the following video the SS leader himself is firing away with these weapons:

Sunday, May 03, 2009

More on Valentine de St.-Point

In my last post on Valentine de St.-Point, I said that it seemed she was more important as an artist than I had thought. Well, it now seems that I have to add to this that she was also more important as a thinker than I had thought.

An anonymous comment on my earlier post has drawn my attention to her Manifeste de la femme futuriste (Manifesto of the futurist woman) of 1912. This is available in French in a new edition of 2005 (Paris, Mille et une Nuits) and in English translation in Mary Ann Caws, Manifesto: a century of isms (University of Nebraska Press, 2001), and makes fascinating reading in whatever language.

Like Evola, St.-Point is interested in virility, and like Evola, St.-Point distinguishes the spiritual from the biological. “It is absurd to divide humanity into men and women. It is composed only of masculinity and femininity.” Unlike Evola, she sees a need for a balance in these two essential principles: “The fecund periods, when the most heroes and geniuses come forth from the terrain of culture in all its ebullience, are rich in masculinity and femininity.” Like Guénon (and of course like many others at the time), she sees an age ending–an age dominated by femininity. A strong dose of virility, of the brute, was needed to restore balance and move on to the next age. Unlike Guénon, she placed the new age firmly in the future (she was a futurist, after all), associating “turning toward the past” with femininity.

Nancy Locke sees St.-Point’s Manifesto as Fascist (“Valentine de Saint-Point and the Fascist Construction of Women” in Matthew Affron and Mark Antliff, eds, Fascist visions: art and ideology in France and Italy, Princeton University Press, 1997) while Barbara Spackman sees it as pre-Fascist (“Fascist Women and the Rhetoric of Virility” in Robin Pickering-Iazzi, ed., Mothers of invention: women, Italian fascism, and culture, University of Minnesota Press, 1995). In certain ways, both are right–depending very much on what one means by fascism, of course. Perhaps more accurately, Steven Aschheim sees it as "almost a parady of eclectic, erotic-liberationist Nietzscheanism" (The Nietzsche legacy in Germany, 1890-1990, University of California Press, 1994).

St.-Point provides yet another glimpse of the period and intellectual milieu out of which Traditionalism arose, even if she had no direct influence on its origins. Nietzsche, avant-garde art... and of course Theosophy too. St.-Point converted to Islam in Morocco in 1918, then spent several years with Blavatsky's works.

She moved to Cairo in 1924, and was initially involved in something like a Cairene version of her earlier life--a "Centre idéiste" and political activity in favor of the Egyptian and Syrian nationalists, rather like Aguéli some years before. She published a French-language journal, Phœnix, revue de la renaissance orientale (despite the widespread view in Egypt at the time that the Oriental Renaissance involved a renaissance of Arabic literature). Political activities ceased in 1928: she was expelled from Egypt, and the order was only rescinded after the intervention of the French embassy, and on condition that she abandon politics. Two years later, Guénon arrived and she became his closest French friend in Cairo.

There are a number of books on her in French, of which the most recent and most complete seems to be Véronique Richard de la Fuente, Valentine de Saint Point, une poétesse dans l'avant-garde Futuriste et méditerranéiste (Édition des Albères 2003).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Watch a lecture on Guénon direct from Moscow

The miracle of the modern internet allows us to watch a lecture on "A Very Short Life of René Guénon" given by Oleg Fomin at the School for Young Traditionalists in Moscow. Even if you don't understand Russian, you can at least see what Dugin's (neo-?)Traditionalists look like:

This is, of course, under the auspices of Alexander Dugin. There are several new-ish websites to look at, too--all in Russian so far.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Center at Moscow State University

Alexander Dugin has a new job, as a professor of sociology and head of a new Center for the Study of Conservatism at Moscow State University.

Andreas Umland quoted Dugin in his inaugural lecture as comparing his potential role to that of the Neo-Conservatives in the US--providing an intellectual analysis that had a real impact on policy, and so on the world. "Conservatism," commented Umland, is a "smokescreen" for ideas that are in fact revolutionary. The same might be said of the American Neo-Cons. At Moscow State University, "conservatism" will presumably prove to be Dugin's own form of Traditionalism.

Dugin's new position and Center will not just provide a new and improved platform for advancing his views on geopolitics and Russia's international relations, which are now well known. It will also--and perhaps more importantly--provide an improved and more mainstream forum for transmitting their intellectual and Traditionalist basis.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Evola becoming mainstream in Italy?

A recent article in La Repubblica wonders whether Evola is becoming mainstream (Alessandra Longo, "Per il trasloco An aggiorna la libreria accanto a Evola anche Whitman e Vasco," 19 March 2009).

The main reason for wondering this is the references to Evola in Ffwebmagazine, published by the Fondazione Farefuturo, which is run by Gianfranco Fini, president of Italy's Chamber of Deputies and a former minister of foreign affairs under Silvio Berlusconi, pictured here with his then American counterpart. Fini leads the Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance), a major political party generally described as "post-fascist" (it has its roots in the MSI of Giorgio Almirante).

Perhaps Evola is becoming mainstream. Or perhaps the mainstream is shifting? This is what happened in Russia.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fez festivals

Faozi Skali, the Boutchichi Traditionalist Sufi who started the now well-established Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, no longer directs it--but has started a new annual festival, the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture.

The aims of the festival are "to allow Moroccan people to discover or re-discover how the Sufi brotherhoods have mainly succeeded in preserving a message of universal spirituality that irrigated the whole of the Muslim culture and nourished its artistic, literary, and even social and economic forms of expression" and "to allow people from other cultures to discover another face of Islam" and "show how Sufism, as a school of spiritual and civic education, can be a means of human development and a peace mediator."

The 2009 festival is the third, runs from April 18 to April 25, and mixes concerts with round-table discussions involving Sufis, academics, a French senator and the president of the Hermes foundation.

Strongly recommended.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Job vacancy in Amsterdam

The Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam has a job vacancy for an Assistant Professor "History of Western Esotericism in the Early Modern Period." For all information: see
The deadline for applications is Monday, 23 March 2009.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Boutchichiyya and Maryamiyya at UCLA

The Maryamiyya and the Boutchichiyya will be two of the four Sufi orders discussed during a colloquium organized by the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA on February 12, 2009.

The colloquim is entitled "North African Sufism in Global Context." Four Sufi orders will be considered: the Jazuliyya, the Tijaniyya, the Boutchichiyya, and the Maryamiyya. The Maryamiyya is described as "a modern international Sufi order based on the Darqawi-Shadhili tradition of Morocco and the philosophy of the Transcendent Unity of Religions;" some sections of the Boutchichiyya are also influenced by Traditionalism, of course.

Participants include Vincent Cornell (Emory), Cheikh Anta Babou (University of Pennsylvania), Abdelilah Bouasria (American University), and H. Talat Halman (Central Michigan University).

The colloquium should be well worth attending.