Schedule

All seminar sessions will take place in Nau Hall, room 342 (#3 on the Google map). Gibson and Nau halls are connected and mirror images of one another, which can be confusing, but Nau is on the side that’s closer to the main road. 

Nau 342 will also be open to you on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons on days when no formal events are scheduled, so you can use this space to gather for informal group discussions. 

Week One: Studying Religion in Humanities in the Wake of the Sciences. The sciences, and in particular the biological, evolutionary, and neuroscientific sciences, offer potentially destabilizing critiques of both religion and humanistic approaches to the study of religion. These sciences have also become major cultural influences beyond the laboratory, with the ability to speak authoritatively on practically any facet of life today. We begin with a history of the concepts of “religion” and “science”, and move quickly to three books that seek to relate these two domains of inquiry within the context contemporary humanities scholarship.

  • Day One (Tuesday, May 31)
    • Morning Institute session (9am-12pm)
      • Harrison, Peter. The Territories of Science and Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.
        • Discussion leaders: Barger, Rollens, Whelan
    • Afternoon session (3-4pm)
      • Library orientation at Alderman library, room 421 (optional, but helpful and a good opportunity to get library privileges).
        • Walk in to the main doors of Alderman library, head straight back, hang a left when you get to the elevators, and there you are.
  • Day Two (Wednesday, June 1)
    • Morning Institute session (9am-12pm)
      • Slingerland, Edward. What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body and Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
        • Discussion leaders: Cann, Crislip, Kessler
  • Day Three (Thursday, June 2)
    • Afternoon session (3-5pm)
      • Discussion with Edward Slingerland
  • Day Four (Friday, June 3)
    • Morning Institute session (9am-12pm)
      • Taves, Anne. Religious Experience Reconsidered: A Building-Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.
        • Discussion leaders: Heriot, Osborne, Stephens
    • Afternoon session (2:30pm)
      • Visit to Monticello and the Jefferson Memorial Library
        • Assemble in parking lot behind Gibson Hall at 2:30 pm to arrive at Monticello at 3 pm. Our tour will begin at 3:40.

Week Two: Conceptualizing Religion across Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences: Ancient Religion. The origin of human culture is a major space in which the nature of religion is mapped, defined, and debated. It is also a site of convergence between humanistic and scientific modes of research and inquiry. The two books in this section offer two levels of focus, a macro-view of religion over a period of several thousand years throughout the world, and a micro-view of a single, very old site of human activity.

  • Day One (Monday, June 6)
    • Morning Institute session (9am-12pm)
      • Hodder, Ian. Religion at Work in a Neolithic Society: Vital Matters. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
        • Discussion leaders: Anderson, Gupta, Larsen
  • Day Two (Tuesday, June 7)
    • Afternoon session (3-5pm)
      • Participant-led discussion
  • Day Three (Wednesday, June 8)
    • Morning Institute session (9am-12pm)
      • Bellah, Robert. Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011.
        • Discussion leaders: Asadi, Bialecki, Thasiah
  • Day Four (Thursday, June 9)
    • Afternoon Session (3-5pm)
      • Participant-led discussion
  • Day Five (Friday, June 10)
    • Morning Institute session (9am-12pm)
      • Witzel, Michael. The Origins of the World’s Mythologies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. With review by Bruce Lincoln.
        • Discussion leaders: Sanders, Schadler
    • Afternoon session (2:30 pm)
      • Visit to Montpelier
        • Assemble in parking lot behind Gibson Hall at 2:30 pm to arrive at Montpelier at 3:30 pm. Our tour will begin at 4 pm.

Week Three: Conceptualizing Religion across Humanities and Social Sciences: Contemporary and Future Religion. Inquiry into contemporary religion, spirituality, and secularism in a global context also serves as a significant occasion for debating the nature of religion. These three books each use case studies to reflect on the category “religion” in contexts ranging from the scholarly, the personal, the political, and the colonial.

  • Day One (Monday, June 13)
    • Morning Institute Seminar (9am-12pm)
      • Bender, Courtney. The New Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
        • Discussion leaders: Grieve, Perry
  • Day Two (Tuesday, June 14)
    • Afternoon session (3-5 pm)
      • Participant-led discussion
  • Day Three (Wednesday, June 15)
    • Morning Institute session (9am-12pm)
      • Mahmood, Saba. Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.
        • Discussion leaders: Bose, Galarreta, Hertzberg
  • Day Four (Thursday, June 16)
    • Afternoon session (3-5pm)
      • Discussion with Courtney Bender
  • Day Five (Friday, June 17)
    • Morning Institute session (9am-12pm)
      • Lewis, Thomas. Why Philosophy Matters for the Study of Religion: And Vice-Versa. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
        • Discussion leaders: Carnes, Ranganathan, Schewel