of the Sophia Centre
Welcome the latest edition of the Sophia Centre News. Since our last issue the Sophia Centre has welcomed Gillian Clarke, the former National Poet of Wales, to a talk at the University's Lampeter and a celebration of the launch of MA graduate Ada Blair's book, Sark in the Dark. In March we collaborated with the Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness and the Faculty of Humanities and the Performing Arts in the organisation of the Harmony conference. Our next major event is the conference on The Talking Sky in Bath in July. Until then our main task continues to be development of the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. Please read on.
Dr Nicholas Campion
Postgraduate Conference Dec 2016
By Stevi Gaydon
I was speaking at this, my first post graduate conference, so I was nervous! However, many familiar faces, the easy-going friendliness and generally welcoming atmosphere dispelled that. There was plenty of time to socialise, talking to the participants was a joy and all had a story to tell.
It was a well-attended event with another contingent linking in from around the globe, via Webex, emphasising once again the Sophia Centre's accessibility and international nature.
Dr Nick Campion opening the conference
Dr Fabio Silva's Alumni Association talk
A JOURNEY THROUGH PRE-HISTORY
16 and 23 November 2016
Reviewed by Tore Lomsdalen, PhD Candidate, University of Malta
This two-session course of 90 minutes each took us on a journey through 6 to 8 million years of our prehistory. Fabio began with pre-humans, when humans and chimpanzees shared common ancestor species living in Africa, and ended at the very end of the European Neolithic into the Bronze Age about 3,500 before the present (BP). Not only did Fabio explain the evolution of the human species as such, but also interestingly conceptualised the various periods into a cognitive ability for external symbolic storage (ESS) and spatial knowledge within the material culture they lived.
Mara Steenhuisen Embarks on a PhD
Following on her MA dissertation of 2016 which explored orbs, those mostly circular, luminous patches of light sometimes or perhaps frequently turning up in photographs and video, Mara is now embarking on further research. Her dissertation proposed the introduction of a twofold spiritual viewpoint to complement this enduring dichotomy of physical versus paranormal with the aim to open up other perspectives to orbs; notably adopting the possibility of participating consciousness as observed from the field of consciousness studies.Read on >>
Book by Simon Barraclough
Simon Barraclough's latest volume deals with a welcome subject - the stars, planets and space. Barraclough, who happens to be Poet in Residence at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, part of University College London. In this volume, his website tells us, he acts as our 'guide to the Sun, fusing science and literature, and channelling Shakespeare, Byron, Nabokov and more'.
Astrology in Ancient Mesopotamia
Book by Michael Baigent
Reviewed by Dr Nick Campion
As is now well known, the astrological traditions of India and the modern West share origins in the astrology of Mesopotamia. In the last twenty years a number of general books have been published on the subject, notably by Francesca Rochberg. However, back in the 1980s it was next to impossible for most people outside a few rarefied academic circles to find out anything about it, beyond the vaguest or out-of-date information.
Alumni News and Events
You're part of an inspirational, global network of several hundred former MA CAA students. Keep in touch online through the Alumni Association Facebook group or at one of our events.
The Alumni Association thanks Liz Hathway for a presentation on her based on her MA Dissertation 'Saturn: an auto-ethnographic enquiry into contemporary astrological practice'. Liz's Dissertation was short-listed for the MA Dissertation Prize and her talk provoked my lively and thought-provoking discussion.
Chris Mitchell will present our next Fund Raiser short course in March-April - three lectures on Medieval Astrology, Thursday 23 March (GMT), Thursday 30 March (BST) and Thursday 6 April (BST) 2017 from 18:30 - 20:30 GMT. The three-week short course is £25.00. Read on and Register >>
Alumni, students and staff can register for these courses on the Alumni Association website. The Steering Committee pays tribute to these staff and graduates who enable the Alumni Association to raise fund for its projects. Remember, that you, too, can help build the Alumni Association funds when you register for a short course, by adding a few pounds as a donation to the Alumni fund. It all counts!
Read on and Register >>
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Looking forward to seeing you at an Alumni event soon!
Alumni, students and staff can register for these courses on the Alumni Association website.
The Steering Committee pays tribute to these staff and graduates who enable the Alumni Association to raise fund for its projects. Remember, that you, too, can help build the Alumni Association funds when you register for a short course, by adding a few pounds as a donation to the Alumni fund. It all counts!
Chair, Steering Committee
The Alumni Association
MA CAA Alumni Steering Committee
From left: Darrelyn Gunzburg, Nicholas Campion, Faye Cossar, Hanne Skagen, Jennifer Fleming, Chris Mitchell, Ada Blair, Paula van Kersbergen, Rod Suskin
Liz Hathway's Alumni Talk
Reviewed by Marcia Butchart
The Sophia Centre Alumni Association's January 2017 'wine-and-cheese' lecture was given by alumna Liz Hathway. 'Saturn: an auto-ethnographic enquiry into contemporary astrological practice' was Liz's dissertation topic. Her ninety-minute lecture ranged over an intriguing breadth of subjects, beginning with her motives for undertaking it; her disappointment at being born under the sign of Capricorn led to an attempt to discover whether the negative-seeming qualities attributed to the sign echoed the same kind of judgments regarding Saturn (known to astrologers as Capricorn's ruling planet).
Where are they now?
Interview by Kathleen White
Cat Cox graduated from the Cultural Astronomy and Astrology MA programme in 2007.
Cat talked to Kate White about the impact of the MA on her life and work. Read on >>
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