Convened by the journal Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society, in cooperation with the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France, the second World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History: Research in Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society (La Conférence Mondiale sur la Fraternité, la Franc-maçonnerie et l’Histoire, recherche sur les notions de rituel, de secret et leur rapport à la Société civile), focuses on the study of the lasting influence of the Enlightenment, ritual, secrecy, and civil society vis-à-vis the dynamics of scholarship around the world. The conference explores how civil society, social capital, secrecy, and ritual have been important elements during different episodes of local and world histories, and indeed still are. The WCFFH 2017 is a part of the PSO’s support of research into associations, civility, and the role of non governmental organizations in democracy.
Although Freemasonry prides itself as being universal, it is divided along historic cultural lines based on sex, religion, and – in some cases – ethnicity and race. This conference will examine the uniqueness of these streams of Freemasonry, as well as what they have in common. Papers are solicited that discuss, among others, the following questions:
- Are the divisions of Freemasonry into a male-only fraternity, a female-only fraternity, and a mixed gender fraternity helpful or harmful to its universality?
- Is it possible for a form of Freemasonry which requires a belief in a Supreme Being as a condition of membership to be compatible with a form of Freemasonry which has no such requirement?
- Can historic forms of Freemasonry which originated in racial distinctions, such as Prince Hall Freemasonry, make a positive contribution to the universality of Freemasonry?
- Can there be an organizational framework within which all expressions of Freemasonry work in harmony?