Gurdjieff's teaching: for scholars and practitioners

G. I. Gurdjieff's teaching, research, books, conferences

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G. I. Gurdjieff: Armenian Roots, Global Branches
Editor: Michael Pittman

Date Of Publication: Dec 2008
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Isbn13: 978-1-4438-0019-8
Isbn: 1-4438-0019-8

This volume presents a selection of writings based on papers originally presented at the G.I. Gurdjieff: Caucasian Influence in Contemporary Life and Thought conferences or, as they came to be called, the Armenia-Gurdjieff Conferences, which were held in Yerevan, Armenia in the summers from 2004-2007. Gurdjieff was born in Gyumri, Armenia, to an Armenian mother and a Cappadocian-Greek father, and was raised in eastern Asia Minor and the Caucasus. According to his own accounting, he spent his early years traveling in Central Asia, Asia Minor, Egypt, India, and Tibet in search of undiscovered knowledge. Eventually, after 1921, his work led him to Europe where lived, wrote, and taught until his death in 1949. Though not having received great popular attention, he remains an important figure of the twentieth century and his influence continues to grow into the twenty-first century.

A growing body of secondary literature connected to the work of Gurdjieff has been produced in fields as disparate as psychology, philosophy, literature, health, ecology, and religion. The conferences and the book aim to provide a forum of exchange about the ideas, influence, and work of Gurdjieff, while making a contribution to the reintroduction of the work of Gurdjieff to Armenia, which had been cut off from his ideas and works during the Soviet period. The articles here reflect a range of work addressing key contributions and ideas of Gurdjieff, from more academic studies of All and Everything, or Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, to a discussion of the application of Gurdjieff’s ideas and principles in the education of children, to a chapter on the music and of Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann.

Michael Pittman is currently Assistant Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Albany, New York. Michael spent a year as a Volunteer Faculty Fellow in Armenia with the Civic Education Project, which led to the organization of the Armenia-Gurdjieff conferences. He completed a dissertation on Gurdjieff entitled, G.I. Gurdjieff: Medieval Textualizations of Oral Storytelling and Modern Teachings on the Soul. Michael continues to travel to Turkey and Armenia for research and teaching.

“The Armenian Gurdjieff conferences mark the significant and almost mythical return of the teachings of the greatest modern sage to his homeland. With imaginative insight and scholarly finesse, the papers in this volume confront the greatest human problem, man’s inability to take hold of reality —what Gurdjieff called sleep—and the catastrophic conditions that rise up from that cause, war, cultural irrationalism, over-consumption, and intractable hegemonies. The topics are timely, the exposition is clear and lively, and the information is crucial and compelling.”

Jon Woodson, Department of English, Howard University
Author of To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance




5th Armenia-Gurdjieff Conference Location: Armenia
Call for Papers Date: 2009-02-01 (in 8 days)
Date Submitted: 2008-11-30
Announcement ID: 165481

Paper proposals are invited for a conference entitled

The Life and Work of G.I. Gurdjieff

To be held 26-28 June 2009 in Yerevan, Armenia. Scholars and Presenters are invited to examine the various dimensions of the life and thought of G.I. Gurdjieff, and in particular the Armenian and Caucasian roots of his work.

Deadline for proposal submissions: 1 March 2009
Location: Yerevan, Armenia, June 26-28, 2009

Conference Theme: While many works have been written about his life and work, few have addressed the Caucasian and specifically Armenian character of his work. Further, even though Gurdjieff is known outside of the Caucasus, many Armenians remain unfamiliar with him. Building upon the success of the first two conferences, this conference will continue to take steps in redressing these imbalances. This year we hope to present a more in-depth three day conference in which presentations and discussions will take place that investigate Gurdjieff, his life, his work, as well as his ideas. In particular, we hope to highlight and explore the roots of his identity and his role as an important philosopher and thinker of Armenia and the Caucasus. We hope to introduce Gurdjieff to a wider, as well as local, audience and to present and discuss various aspects of his life and teaching. As a result of the conference we hope to form a bridge of exchange that will serve both the local communities and global community that holds an interest in Gurdjieff. By holding the conference in the very heart of Gurdjieff’s homeland, we hope to make new global connections to the Caucasus, a project that has only become possible since Armenia’s break from the Soviet Union.

Paper Proposals: Proposals addressing Gurdjieff’s thought and cultural identity and aspects of the cultures that influenced his ideas, teaching and writing are welcomed. However, papers are particularly encouraged that undertake original research speaking to one or more of the following areas of inquiry.

1. Gurdjieff’s Influence in Contemporary Culture
2. Gurdjieff’s Caucasian and/or Armenian Identity
3. Gurdjieff’s Writings: Language and Terminology
4. Gurdjieff’s “Toast of the Idiots”
5. Gurdjieff and Ethics

Scholars, researchers and students interested in presenting papers at the conference should send a paper proposal of not more than 500 words and a short CV, by e-mail to the conference coordinator: Michael Pittman. The working languages of the conference will be English and Armenian – there will be simultaneous translation. The deadline for the submission of paper proposals is 1 Feb 2009. Authors of the paper selected for the conference will be notified by 1 March 2009.

***Participants MUST submit the full text of their respective papers to the conference organizers by 5 June 2009 (4 weeks before the conference), otherwise the opportunity to participate in the conference may be forfeited.

It is anticipated that the conference papers will be published as a volume. Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the conference organizers will have first option on all papers presented at the conference, and will let participants know by 1 December 2009 whether they will exercise that option.

Informal preliminary inquiries regarding paper submissions are welcome and may be directed to the conference coordinator, Michael Pittman at:

Michael Pittman
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
106 New Scotland Ave.
Albany, New York 12208
Visit the website at


January 24, 2009 at 9:30 pm

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