Accueil > Recherche > Professeurs invités > Invités 2018-2019 > Perry MYERS

Dernière modification : 14 mai 2019


Albion College (États-Unis)
Invité de Pays germaniques – mai 2019

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Au mois de mai 2019, le labex TransferS et Pascale Rabault-Feuerhahn (Pays germaniques) accueillent Perry MYERS, professeur d’études germaniques à l’Albion College (Michigan).






Cosmopolitan religions. A transnational history of Fin-de-siècle esoteric movements

During the long Fin-de-Siècle (1871-1932) an array of intellectually and geographically diverse cosmopolitan religious movements emerged in England, France, Germany, and India that were undergirded by a transnational spiritual leitmotif and espousal of alterity—a disregard for race, class, creed or gender. The shared spiritual affinities of these groups—Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Monism, L’Ordre Martiniste, among others—became galvanized through the intersection of Western and Indian philosophy and religious thought, around which a cosmopolitan religious field coalesced. In stark contrast, these movements engaged in highly contested cultural, social, and political debates in their geopolitical zones, creating an incessant tension between their cosmopolitan spiritual vision and their attempts to assert their national agendas—how cosmopolitan religious factions across geopolitical space negotiated the intersection of universal spiritual prerogatives and the sectarian mandates of national belongingness.

Despite moderate membership, these factions embodied the era’s broader transnational fascination and intellectual engagement with cosmopolitan religious ideas, evidenced by their prolific publication and distribution of pamphlets, journals, and books. Diverse cosmopolitan religious clusters in Britain, Germany, France, and India became epicenters for religious innovation, where visionaries met and frequently addressed topics such as education, caste, socialism, war and empire, all under the rubric of spiritual rejuvenation. These movements frequently responded to pertinent cultural currents that reveal illuminating linkages to the era’s political, social and scientific debates, and thus challenges binary as well as hybrid approaches to understand their cosmopolitan and autochthonous aims. In summary, these eclectic spiritual factions engaged actively in the era’s political, social and cultural debates and thus provide a significant comparative portal to the transnational intersection of cosmopolitan spiritual aspirations and national, secular agendas.


To address these topics the following seminars will be offered :


1) The Re-engineering of Society : The Social and Political Articulations of Spiritual Scientists in Europe and India during the Long Fin-de-Siècle

[salle d’Histoire, 45 rue d’Ulm - 17h-19h]


This seminar will examine how these cosmopolitan religious tenets of spiritual evolution and science became articulated to bolster designs for social and cultural regeneration. More specifically, we will investigate their partisan educational models, but also social concepts — class and caste, for instance — through which cosmopolitan religious factions sought to re-engineer their societies.


2) Cosmopolitan Religion and their Spiritual Affinities in Europe and India during the Long Fin-de-Siècle

[salle 235 A, 29 rue d’Ulm - 9h30-12h30]

This seminar will explore how cosmopolitan religious factions rejected cultural materialism and created what they termed “spiritual science.” These movements then expanded their pseudo-science and advocated Darwinian ideas that they re-modeled as spiritual evolution. The seminar will demonstrate how they appropriated spiritual evolution to undergird their notion of universal history — spiritual social science.


3) Visions of Nationhood : Cosmopolitan Religious Movements in Europe and India during the Long Fin-de-Siècle

[salle Pasteur/réunion, Pavillon Pasteur, 45 rue d’Ulm - 15h-17h30]

This final seminar provides a broader comparison of their comprehensive sociopolitical models, including economics and their assessment of socialism — how they intended to mold a future society on a grander scale in an industrial age. In this context, we will trace their idiosyncratic applications of cosmopolitan spirituality and social science to their visions of nationhood, empire and their autochthonous political schemes.


Perry Myers is Associate Professor of German, Albion College, Michigan. He received his B.A. and M.B.A. from Baylor University and then pursued a career in investment banking, where he worked for Merrill Lynch Capital Markets and J.P. Morgan Global Markets in Frankfurt, Germany for 11 years. After returning to the US he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in German Studies from the University of Texas Austin., and came to Albion College in 2004, where he is currently Professor of German Studies. His teaching not only encompasses history and culture during the Enlightenment, but also extends to the Modern era to include ever-evolving relevant themes on multiculturalism in Germany, Vergangenheitsbewältigung and Crime Novels, and German film. Alongside his full load of course offerings, he actively publishes articles as well as books. Some of his past work includes articles on Thomas Mann, Max Weber, and German travelers to India. His books include The Double Edges Sword. The Cult of Bildung in Fin-de-Siécle German (Rudolf Steiner and Max Weber) (Lang, 2004). And he most recently published German Visions of India, 1871 -1918. Commandeering the Holy Ganges during the Kaiserreich (Palgrave, 2013). His newest book that is nearing completion is a comparative research project on cosmopolitan religious movements in England, France, Germany, and India (1871-1932), with the tentative title Prophets and Partisans during the Long Fin-de-Siécle (1871-1932) : Cosmopolitan Religion in Europe and India.


  • Entrée libre dans la limite des places disponibles

    Mardi 21 mai - 17h-19h
    ENS, 45 rue d’Ulm, 75005
    salle d’Histoire (2e étage, escalier D)
     Vendredi 24 mai, matinée - 9h30-12h30
    ENS, 29 rue d’Ulm, 75005
    salle 235 A (2e étage, aile Ulm)
    Vendredi 24 mai, après-midi - 15h-17h30
    ENS, 45 rue d’Ulm, 75005
    salle Pasteur/réunion, Pavillon Pasteur

avril 2024 :

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