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2024 Intl. Conference on Freemasonry: March 30th at UC/Berkeley

by Christopher Hodapp

The 2024 International Conference on Freemasonry will be held March 30th on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. This will be the 12th annual academic conference sponsored by the Grand Lodge F&AM of California, and the theme this year will be "Rites In America."

From the event's website:

“Rites in America” examines the almost countless forms and iterations of Masonry that have sprung up on this side of the Pacific, often in the particular context of immigrant communities or other, larger social movements.

Says event organizer Susan Sommers, a professor of history at St. Vincent College, “Freemasonry is one of the oldest and most successful fraternal, initiatory societies in the Western world. Despite its reputation for secrecy, it is well known and well documented.” As different Masonic and quasi-Masonic groups formed in the Americas, they often built on Masonry’s ritual framework while adding their own features. “Why reinvent wheels when you can simply change the hubcaps?” she says. “Over the centuries, especially since around 1750, Freemasons have added, edited, and invented orders, rites, and rituals with something close to wild abandon, all the while claiming that the landmarks are immutable, and have been since Adam.”

Speakers will include:

• Jonathan Awtrey - Visiting Assistant Professor, Fairfield University
“Moses Michael Hays and Freemasonry in British North America”

• Jesse David Chariton
- Ph.D Candidate, Department of History, Iowa State University
“German Americans and Masonic Baptism in the Antebellum United States”

• Robert A. Gross
- Professor of Early American History Emeritus, University of Connecticut
“Canceled and Back! How a Lodge Overcame Anti-Masonry and Regained a Place in Public Life

Alexander Towey - Lecturer, History Department, California State University, San Marcos
“Ebb & Flow: Freemasonry’s Rise, Decline, and Renaissance in American Society”

• Dr. María Eugenia Vázquez Semadeni
- Historian, author, and expert on Mexican Freemasonry, Mexican political history, and Hispanic-American parliamentarianism; co-author, with Margaret Jacob, of Freemasonry and Civil Society: Europe and the Americas.

“Mexicanizing Freemasonry: The National Mexican Rite ”

• S. Brent Morris -
Former managing editor of the Scottish Rite Journal, the world’s largest circulation Masonic magazine, and founding editor of Heredom, the transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society.
“Robert Benjamin Folger and the oldest English-language version of the Chevalier Bienfaisant de la Cite Sainte—aka the Rectified Scottish Rite.”

The conference is open to the public. Admission is $30, optional lunch is $20. To register, visit the website HERE.

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