Speakers

Speakers and panel chairs (in alphabetical order by surname)

Ronny Ambjörnsson was professor of Intellectual History at the University of Umeå 1970-2001. He has published books on utopian ideas; Swedish working class culture; and ideas on the concept of Europe. He has also published essays on gender history, and a biography on the Swedish writer Ellen Key (1849-1926), Ellen Key: an European Intellectual (Stockholm 2012).

Brycchan Carey is Professor of English Literature at Kingston University in London. He is the author of From Peace to Freedom: Quaker Rhetoric and the Birth of American Antislavery, 1658–1761 (Yale University Press, 2012) and British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment, and Slavery, 1760–1807 (Palgrave, 2005). He has published numerous essays and journal articles on the literature and cultural history of slavery and abolition, as well as editing three essay collections including most recently Quakers and Abolition, co-edited with Geoffrey Plank (University of Illinois Press, 2014).

Mark Florman has advised a wide variety of governments and industries. He is  also an entrepreneur, having founded businesses in technology, media, transportation, publishing, private equity, banking and leisure, as well as think tanks, school building and international development programmes, charities and political campaigns. Mark is a member of the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established by the G8 and is Chairman of The Centre for Social Justice, as well as holding principle positions on a number of other boards and committees.

Sir Roger Gifford is the UK Country Head of SEB where he has worked for over 30 years. He was the Lord Mayor of London in 2012/13 and lived in the Mansion House during that year. In that role he promoted the UK and the City of London as a global hub for banking, insurance, maritime and all other professional and financial services. Roger is a strong believer in the importance of culture and the arts in people’s lives and he supports a number of arts charities. He also believes in the importance of education about religious tolerance and diversity. He is a trustee of the Co-Exist House project and St Pauls’ Cathedral Foundation.

Anders Hallengren is a former Harvard fellow, a research affiliate of Stockholm University, and currently Vice President of the Swedenborg Society of London. He has published books on Swedenborgian thought (Gallery of Mirrors, 1998; The Grand Theme, 2013); ethics and natural law (The Code of Concord, 1994); international law and African affairs (Kuba i Afrika, 1984); integration in a multicultural world of change (Nobel Laureates in Search of Identity and Integrity, 2004); and is internationally renowned for his Nobel essay ‘Nelson Mandela and the Rainbow of Culture’, first published on 9/11 by Nobelprize.org.

Jonathan Howard is a Swedish architect who grew up in Britain. After graduating from Cambridge in 1956, he worked in Canada, Africa and Sweden, where he now lives. During the last five years, he has researched the late eighteenth-century European settlements in West Africa, in which a dozen Swedes were involved.

Neil Kent is an Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Cambridge Security Initiative. He was formerly Professor of European History and Culture at the St Petersburg State Academic Institute of Art, Sculpture and Architecture and a member of the Board of the Finnish Institute, London. Neil’s publications include The Triumph of Light and Nature: Nordic Art 1740 – 1940 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1987); The Soul of the North: a Social, Cultural and Architectural History of the Nordic Countries (London: Reaktion Books, 2000); and A Concise History of Sweden (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Forthcoming are Crimea. A History (Hurst and Company, 2015); A Cultural and Literary History of St Petersburg (New York: Signal Books/Oxford University Press, 2015); and Denmark and its Imperial Legacy (Hurst and Company, 2016).

James Lawrence teaches Spirituality and Historical Studies at Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. His research areas include mysticism, esotericism, and spirituality. His publications include: ‘Swedenborgian Spirituality’, in The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005); ‘An Extraordinary Season in Prayer: Warren Felt Evans’s Journey into “Scientific” Swedenborgian Spiritual Practice’, in Studia Swedenborgiana (12:3, 2002); and ‘Telling the Old, Old Story Anew: George Dole’s Developmentalist Reading of the Bible’, in Principles in Play: Essays in Honor of George Dole’s Contributions to Swedenborgian Thought, ed. James Lawrence (Berkeley: Studia Swedenborgiana Press, 2012).

David Lindrooth studied at George Washington University and at Bryn Athyn College Theological School. He is director of the General Church, Church Outreach.

Alexander Malmaeus, Chairman of the Anglo-Swedish Society, is a Swedish architect working in London. The Anglo-Swedish Society runs an arts-focused scholarships and awards programme in the UK and Sweden as well as events to explore the crossover between the two cultures. Anyone is welcome to join the Society.

Stephen McNeilly is Executive Director and Museum Director of the Swedenborg Society. He oversees the Society’s publishing, exhibition and events programme. He has edited numeorus books on Swedenborg and during 2010 he was the producer of a documentary on Swedenborg, commissioned by the Society. That same year he curated an exhibition of international artists for the Society as part of its 200th anniversary. In 2011 he set up the Society’s Swedenborg Archive imprint. As part of his ongoing research he lectures in Art and Critical Theory at the University of Creative Arts at Canterbury. He has previously lectured at Central St Martins, London and other universities on undergraduate and post-graduate courses.

Anders Mortensen (conference organizer) is associate professor of comparative literature at Lund University; vice director of Centre for Scandinavian Studies Copenhagen – Lund; a member of the Committee for Swedish Studies Abroad at the Swedish Institute, Stockholm; and former editor of Scandinavian humanist journal Res Publica. His fields of research are aesthetics and economy in European romanticist and modernist literature; processes of canon formation in Scandinavian literature; and the writings of Carl Jonas Love Almqvist and Gunnar Ekelöf. This Autumn he will issue a monograph on Almqvist’s aesthetic economics and an edition of Ekelöf’s complete poems in the series Swedish classics published by the Swedish Academy.

Robert W Rix is associate professor at the University of Copenhagen. He has published widely in several areas relating to the eighteenth century: politics, language, book history, nationalism and religion. Rix has written a number of articles on William Blake and his connections with the milieu that included C B Wadström and the Swedenborgians. He is the author of the monograph William Blake and the Cultures of Radical Christianity (2007). In recent years, Rix has published The Barbarian North in Medieval Imagination: Ethnicity, Legend, and Literature (Routledge, 2014) and edited a volume of essays on romantic-era print history (MT Press, 2015). Works in press examine Scandinavian romanticism and the English prophetess Joanna Southcott.

Klas Rönnbäck is associate professor of economic history at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. His research interests include the transatlantic trade in slaves and commodities, and the socio-economic impact that this had on Africa, the Americas and Europe. He has published a number of articles in various academic journals, including Slavery & Abolition, History in Africa, Economic History Review, African Studies, European Review of Economic History and Itinerario. His book Labour and Living Standards in Pre-Colonial West Africa: The Case of the Gold Coast will be published by Pickering & Chatto/Routledge in the autumn of 2015.

Inga Sanner is professor of History of Ideas at the University of Stockholm. Her research is centred around the process of secularization in Sweden during the 19th and 20th centuries, with special focus on the different efforts to formulate alternatives to traditional Christianity. From this perspective she has explored utopian ideas and theories about love and the unconscious in her monographs: Att älska sin nästa såsom sig självom moraliska utopier under 1800-talet (Carlssons, 1995); Den segrande eroskärlesföreställningar från Emanuel Swedenborg till Poul Bjerre (Nora: Nya Doxa, 2003); Det omedvetna: historien om ett utopiskt rum (Nora: Bokförlaget Nya Doxa, 2009).

Fredrik Thomasson is a research professor at the Department of History, Uppsala University. His present research project concerns the legal system of the Swedish Caribbean colony, Saint Barthélemy, and he is the first historian to systematically investigate the Swedish court of justice records in the Archives nationales d’outre mer in Aix-en-Provence. His publications include The Life of J.D. Åkerblad: Egyptian decipherment and orientalism in revolutionary times (Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2013) and ‘A dangerous man of the Enlightenment’: J.D. Åkerblad and Egyptology and Orientalism in times of revolutions (Florence: European University Institute, 2009).

Jane Williams-Hogan is Professor Emerita and Co-director of MA in Religious Studies programme at Bryn Athyn College, PA, USA, teaching sociology, history and courses in Swedenborg studies. Jane’s research interests include Emanuel Swedenborg’s life and times; the history and sociology of the New Church; and Swedenborg’s influence on art, literature and culture. Amongst her recent publications are: ‘Emanuel Swedenborg’, in The Occult World, ed. Chris Partridge (London: Routledge, 2015); ‘The Influence of Emanuel Swedenborg and the New Church on Spiritualism’, in Spiritualism, 3 vols., ed. Christopher M Moreman (Westport, CN: Praeger Publishers, 2013); and ‘Swedenborg’s Aesthetic Philosophy and Its Impact on Nineteenth Century American Art’, in Toronto Journal of Theology, 2012. Forthcoming in 2016 is ‘Swedenborg and Swedenborgianism’, in The Cambridge Handbook of Western Mysticism and Esotericism, ed. Glenn Magee (London: Cambridge).

James Wilson has worked for the Swedenborg Society for a number of years as the librarian and as one of its editorial staff. He is the author of a collection of essays documenting Swedenborgian themes in film, Images of the Afterlife in Cinema (London: Duchy of Lambeth, 2011) and two collections of prose poems, All the Colours Fade and The Song Remains the Same (both Miami, fl: The Hippocrene Society, 2012). His debut novel Three Bridges was issued by Neverland Publishing in 2014 and he most recently co-edited (with Devon Pearse) an anthology of new poetry and prose entitled Flaws of Oblivion (Miami: The Hippocrene Society, 2015).

More to follow

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