Based in Amsterdam, Mokum delves into the heart of important conversations around the world through a series of interviews with academics and experts. Our goal? To bring education with a purpose to life, and welcome you into our community. Based at the University of Amsterdam's Summer Programmes Office in the Graduate School of Social Science, we bring you important stories with our own nerdy twist.
Western esotericism, often called the mystery tradition, is a field of study that engages with a wide variety of material, steeped in the history and practice of things like magic(k), witchcraft, New Age Spiritualism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Kaballah. Occult references in popular culture are all around us, and far from being othered knowledge, "occulture" is a phenomenon that is here to stay. In our tenth episode of Mokum, we welome Dr. Marco Pasi from the Center for Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam, and Dr J. Christian Greer, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religions. Marco and Christian speak to us about why it is important to study western esotericism today, and their new online winter course at the University of Amsterdam, Visions of the Occult: Introduction to Western Esotericism.
In this episode of Mokum, Charlotte takes us on a further exploration of the concept of the Anthropocene. On the nature/culture dichotomy, anthropocentrism, dis-hoping, and opening ourselves up to imagining different ways of being in this world. Tune in for a journey along mountain kings, mushroom commodity chains and melting arctic ice on public squares in Europe.
On this episode of Mokum, we begin our new series on the Anthropocene with a meditation on how we've come to live on a human dominated planet. The Anthropocene - a compound word that means 'The Human Age' - is a hotly debated term that is being used to describe our current geological and cultural epoch, where humans have an out-sized impact on all life on Earth and our common future. But what does it mean to live on a human dominated planet, and how can we come to terms with global phenomena and environmental crises that are occurring simultaneously, and increasing at a rapid rate? Join host Ian Kenny as he situates the Anthropocene debate and ecological and cultural questions of the present at Cape Grim, a remote headland on the Tasmanian coast. Looking for more Anthropocene content? Visit our website to read more!
This week on Mokum, we turn to our friends and experts at the Urban Cycling Institute as they unravel the dynamics at work in a cycling city like Amsterdam. The bicycle is more than just a means of transportation – it is also a symbol that is a key part of many movements related to the right to the city, safe and accessible streets for all, and imagining a society where the car is no longer the only status symbol worth living for. Join us, Marco te Brommelstroet, and George Liu as we briefly investigate the history, present, and future of cycling. Want to read more about this topic? Visit our website and immerse yourself in our cycling city.
In our sixth episode, we build on the concept of home we explored in our previous episode and ask: what does it mean to have a claim on a particular place for the future? In urban settings, this is often about the right to the city, and includes important questions about who undertakes planning and redesign projects to help sculpt the city of the future. We are joined by Anna Dekker and Javier Koole as we explore the methodology and philosophy of placemaking, a 'tabula scripta' form of urban planning and design that asks all stakeholders - from residents to local business, and even in some cases, non-human entities - to play an important role in (re)designing a specific place. Ultimately, it is about letting the spirit of a place - the unique or particular qualities - shine through, and turning to the experts themselves (the people who live there) to help guide the development of cities for an equitable and inclusive future. If you want more information on placemaking, check out the Further Readings section of our website: we have gathered resources on placemaking projects at the University of Amsterdam, as well as key texts from a variety of perspectives.
In this brief update, we introduce you to our new Multidisciplinary Online Course, and the topics that we are tackling as we look for strategies to rethink the present with an eye for the future. Interested in hearing more? Visit our website.
In this week's episode of Mokum, we start our next series focusing on urban studies, and how we navigate and produce our built environments. In this episode, we dive into the concept of home from a number of perspectives, including cultural questions about how the concept of home changes from place to place, as well as the importance of housing, and urban infrastructure in co-creating home in a variety of ways. Home is a many-faceted concept that also raises questions about access and equity, as human beings try to make sense of what the term means to them in diverse settings around the world. Interested in further developing your own concept of home and other topics in urban studies? Visit our website to read and watch more.
In this episode of Mokum, we interview six different guests and ask them to update us on a story they've been following that makes them pause and reflect on the present, or gives creative strategies for thinking through the future. Storytelling is a powerful affective tool that enables us to reflect on a variety of circumstances, and see how objects of the cultural imaginary - like novels, tv series, articles, art, and music, to name a few - not only comment on, but also give shape to the world around us. Interested in practicing your own version of storytelling with a purpose? Check out the exercise at the end of this interview with French philosopher and cultural commentator, Bruno Latour.
In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Benjamin Roberts, historian and journalist, and we examine the role of journalism in the Information Age. In a time where media is produced in overabundance, what stories do we turn to to help us navigate our ever-changing world? And what effect does this have on our shared visions of the future? Craving more content on these topics? Visit our website to read and watch more.
If you're curious, the independent documentary from 2020 discussed by Ian and Grace is called Out of Shadows. You can find it on their website.
Next week on Mokum we slide from conspiracy thinking and suspicious mindsets into the world of journalism and media. Join host Ian Kenny and special guests Dr. Benjamin Roberts, Historian and Journalist, and Grace Yano as they explore kindling hope in a fake-news world.
Craving more content on these topics? Visit our website to read and watch more.
Dr. Maja Wrzesien will lead you through one of her go-to compassionate breathing meditations. Need something to start your day, feel more centered, or help you make sense of what you're experiencing and what is going on around you? This guided meditation is the perfect place to begin.
You can find more mindfulness resources from Maja and others on our website.
What is a conspiracy theory, how does it function, and how does it affect your daily life? The answers to these questions aren't straightforward, but they are visible in the world around us. In this episode, we are joined by Boris Noordenbos (Assistant Professor of Literary & Cultural Analysis at the UvA) and Grace Yano to help demystify why cultures of suspicion are on the rise, and the effects they have on everything from our politics, to the media we engage with, and the people we talk to. Though the present may be rife with suspicion, there is no better moment to unpack this interwoven and engaging topic with examples we see at large in the world around us, and theories to help make sense of it all.
Want to know more about the conversation Grace and Ian had? Watch the 2018 Netflix documentary Behind the Curve for more info.
In our inaugural episode, we take the time to introduce you to Mokum and the people behind it, as well as the topics we will cover in our first season. Brought to you from the heart of Amsterdam, we'll tackle rising cultures of suspicion and fake news, creating a sense of home from an urban studies perspective, and acting in the Anthropocene.
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