Perry Myers is currently Professor of German Studies at Albion College in Michigan, USA. Myers’ research interests span the long 19th century from the German romantic period to the interwar era in the 20th century. His research topics include literature, the history of the social sciences, and in particular the history of alternative religious movements. Myers’ new research ideas encompass religious responses to issues of migration during the interwar period in Germany and France. He has received grants from the DAAD in Germany and recently held a short-term guest professorship at the École normale Supérieure, Labex TransferS, in Paris. Prior to his academic career, Myers earned an M.B.A. and worked in investment banking for eleven years in Germany. He has previously held positions at the University of Texas Austin, Baylor University, and the University of South Carolina.
Second Reich period in Germany, Comparison of cosmopolitan religions in Germany, England, France and India at the turn of the XIXth to XXth century.
Spiritual Empires in Europe and India: Cosmopolitan Religious Movements and their National Factions (1875 – 1932)
During the era 1875-1932, an array of intellectually and geographically diverse heterodox religious movements emerged in England, France, Germany, and India. These movements demonstrated a common spiritual leitmotif and espousal of alterity and inclusiveness—a disregard for race, class, creed or gender. The shared spiritual affinities of these diverse transnational groups—Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Monism, L’Ordre Martiniste, among others—became frequently galvanized through the prodigious intersection of Western and Indian philosophy and religious thought, around which a cosmopolitan religious field coalesced. Yet these eclectic religious factions and their acolytes engaged actively in the era’s political, social, cultural, and scientific debates and thus provide a significant and understudied comparative portal to the transnational intersection of cosmopolitan spiritual aspirations and national, secular agendas. This research project explores the incessant tension—cognitive dissonance, in modern terms—of the contradictory assertions of the era’s spiritual trailblazers that was manifest in their cosmopolitan visions of inclusion and jingoistic assertions.