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World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History (WCFFH)


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World Conferences on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History
Including Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society
Next events:
WCFFH 2018:
Not Men Only: Sisters, Sororities, and Ritualistic Societies
 May 17 - 18, 2018
 The Historic Whittemore House, Washington DC
 WCFFH 2019:
 1000 Degrees: Constructing Fraternal Rites
June 13 - 15, 2019
The Bibliothèque Nationale - Paris, France
Recent event: 
May 26 - 27, 2017
The Bibliothèque Nationale - Paris, France
Videos on day 1 and day 2 of the 2017 conference by the Grande Loge Nationale Française
The World Conferences on Fraternalism are held alternatively in Paris (2019, 2021) in odd numbered years and in Washington in even numbered years. (2018, 2020). The Paris conferences are held at the French national library, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the Washington conferences at the historic Whittemore House. 
The conferences have themes but they are not exclusionary of other topics. For example, the 2017 Paris conference examined the career of the Chevalier Ramsay, a famous 18th century figure in French fraternalism, but there were many papers on other themes. We welcome papers on all aspects of fraternalism and its ties with social capital. The papers on freemasonry should not foreclose papers on many other aspects of the subject, including gender, college fraternities, clubs like Rotary, African-American topics, guilds, labor unions. The conferences gain from having a variety of subjects discussed. The committee are also open to presentations of art, dance, folk music and others if related.
Papers are both published in the Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society journal, and in books by Westphalia Press. Simultaneous translation is offered at the French conference. Both Paris and Washington are preceded by workshops to which scholars are invited to consider original materials and problems in fraternal reserach.
A theme of the May 2018 conference in Washington will be women's fraternalism.  A theme of the June 2019  conference in Paris will be the origin and creation of degrees and rites in fraternalism.
A look at past conferences on this site will help in  answering questions about avs, panel possibilities, hotels, and other queries.
Paul J. Rich, President of the Policy Studies Organization, Westphalia Press
Pierre MollierEditor-in-Chief of the Ritual, Secrecy & Civil Society journal
Guillermo de los Reyes, University of Houston
WCFFH 2015 conference videos:
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 is a part of the PSO's support of research into associations, civility, and the role of non governmental organizations in democracy.
At the same time in alternate years (2018 & 2020) the PSO hosts a conference in Washington on fraternalism.
PSO encourages 365 day conferences, those that interact and network between actual meetings and where early postings of drafts encourage ongoing discussion. We try hard to provide continuity so those who attend can mark their calendars with confidence. Our conferences, like our journals, are central to our role in dissemination and conversation.
No charge is made for registration for the conference, but registration is requested to plan for catering, headsets, and other conference needs. For information and registration please contact PSO Executive Director, Daniel Gutierrez, at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The conference has a general interest in fraternalism and is not confined to Freemasonry, nor is it under the auspices of any lodge. Rather, it is supported by the National Library of France, the Policy Studies Organization, and the American Public University.
The logo for the WCFFH series will approporiately be the Masonic Symbol of Point in a Circle, represented here in the painting, The Patron Saints and the Point Within the Circle, by Roy Mandell and Margaret Schmidt (Oil on canvas, 2014. Commissioned by John Mercer Lodge in Omaha Nebraska, Master of the lodge at the time: Brother David Long) 
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The amount of meaningful research into fraternalism now going on in Europe is unparalleled in quality and extent, and Paris is a center. With the return of the Masonic archives looted by the Nazis and then kept for many years by the Russian secret services, the already remarkable archival resources have grown to extraordinary dimensions.
International Commission for Fraternalism Studies: Guillermo De Los Reyes (Conference Chair- University of Houston), Paul Rich (George Mason University), Daniel Guiterrez-Sandoval (Policy Studies Organization), Pierre Mollier (Editor, Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society), Alain Bauer (National Conservatory for Arts and Crafts), Brent Morris (Scottish Rite Supreme Council), Yasha Beresiner (InterCol London),  Guillermo Izabal (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP).
Sponsors for the World Conferences on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History...
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