A New Field of Academic Inquiry
Since the mid-20th century, the subject of Freemasonry and related fields like the Western Esoteric Tradition or the contemporary emphasis on networks, public spaces, social identity and deliberative democracy have gained enhanced respectability as serious historical inquiry. This open-ended transformation often uses transdisciplinary studies into the emergence and transformation of the individual and group in an environment in modern civil society. More than sixty Ph.D. dissertations produced in universities around the world in little more than the past decade – and well more than a thousand articles – have focused on some aspect of Freemasonry. Yet these have often been disjointed. There has been insufficient communication and sustained planning, between the Masonic community, non-profit corporations, foundations, the learning public and potential centers of academic excellence worldwide.
The goal of the Roosevelt Center is to help foster sustained conversation, inquiry and action in the digital humanities across diverse languages in the emerging scholarly fields of civil society and interrelated Freemasonry. The Center approaches Freemasonry as an association historically representative of civil society giving considerable focus to the Enlightenment, as well earlier and later periods. It supports inquiry into the role Freemasonry assumed in private and public life. It explores Masonic thought in a variety of contemporary settings. The approach is multidisciplinary and intended to support a communication network across multiple institutions including independent scholars.
* Promote and diffuse a scholarly understanding of the origins and contingent maturation of civil society and the related geographically-integrated history of Freemasonry in the Enlightenment and surrounding centuries.
* Highlight the advantages and need for local and transnational studies in deepening our understanding of the rich complexities of the Enlightenment.
* Facilitate funding for research honoraria, essay prizes, travel grants, lectures, and communication, including important translation work of both the printed text and video often with subtitles.
* Convene conferences and exhibitions at appropriate facilities all the while developing an online, accessible prosopographic data base of diverse, relevant times and places, and full utilization of 3d geographic information systems, and digital communications.