Postdoc: LENK Sabine (UA/ULB) Supervisor: NASTA Dominique (ULB)
Different Belgian interest groups used the lantern to disseminate their convictions. Some operated publicly, trying to win an audience beyond their own community (church, missions, charities), others more discreetly, almost invisibly, such as the Freemasons. Many masonic slide sets, mostly of American origin, have survived and are accessible on the internet, but little is known about the way the Freemasons (and other spiritual groups such as the Rosicrucians) used them. Freemasons played an influential role in Belgian local politics and founded, for example, the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). They were despised by the Catholics and were openly attacked again and again. On the one hand, the Postdoc project will look at how Freemasons in the academic world of the ULB used the Magic Lantern as a tool for teaching, research and secret propaganda. On the other hand, an analysis of surviving slide series will study their narrative strategies and the symbolic rhetoric in their iconography. It will show similarities to topoi used by the Catholics, but also the differences, notably the refusal to use melo-/dramatic and moralizing effects that often characterize slides for religious education.