Together we make a profound difference

As part of its collaborative partnership with the history department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the Institute for Masonic Studies presents an annual International Conference on Freemasonry on the UCLA campus. Open to students, historians, and members of the general public, these events seek to educate and inspire scholars of the craft.


Secular Enlightenment: Balancing Faith and Masonic Virtues

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, April 7, 2018
$30 Conference registration
$20 Optional catered lunch


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The Enlightenment created a new culture that formed the basis of our modern civil society. As this movement spread throughout Europe, Masonic lodges became an important enclave for social transformation. Learn how Masons balanced the intersection of religious and secular forces during this period, with an approach that was both radical and revolutionary. Hear from iconic Masonic scholar Margaret Jacob as she completes her pre-retirement tenure at UCLA. Speakers from around the world will travel to Los Angeles to honor Professor Jacob's remarkable career and share global perspectives of Masonic scholarship.

Hear the latest on Enlightenment scholarship with fascinating topics and speakers from around the world!

  • The French Revolution: Did existing Masonic values of fraternity and equality fuel the French Revolution, or was it the French Revolution that enshrined these values in Freemasonry?
    - José Antonio Ferrer Benimeli, University of Zaragoza, Spain
  • Early secular Freemasonry: Although early Freemasonry claimed to accept men of all faiths, in the 19th century, this aim was oftentimes limited by imperialist forces.
    - Jessica Harland-Jacobs, University of Florida
  • Secular spirituality: From the unique vantage point of 20th century Turkey, discover how Freemasonry offers men an avenue for exploring secular spirituality through universal esotericism.
    - Remzi Sanver, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
  • Lodges as sanctuaries or workshops for the world: In the 18th century, Masonic lodges found themselves at a crossroads when some members wanted to limit philanthropy to the intimate setting of the lodge and others wanted to promote Masonic values within the public sphere.
    - Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, University of Nice, France
  • Revisiting the Illuminati: Although the Illuminati Order was dismissed as a school for radicalism in the 1700s, contemporary research suggests that Illuminati degrees may in fact align with the central ideas of radical, secular Enlightenment thought.
    - Reinhard Markner, University of Innsbruck, Austria

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The UCLA International Conference is sponsored by:
CA Masonic Foundation

Past events

Past International Conferences have focused on American and Latin American Freemasonry, global Freemasonry, Freemasonry within civil society, Masonic conspiracy theories, Freemasonry's spread to Africa and the Middle East, and 300 Years of Freemasonry.

Read a selection of papers from past UCLA conferences.

For more information about the International Conference, contact Member Services.

Contact Us

Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
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p: (415) 776-7000