Today the great weapon used to stifle critical thinking is a raw overwhelm of meaningless language at every turn—on our phones, on our TV’s, in our periphery on billboards and subways. So often the language is passionately absolute: immigrants are evil, climate change is a hoax, and this new Rolex will make you irresistible. Interesting poetry awakens us, asks us to slow down our metabolization of language, to become aware of its materiality, how it enters into us. Sacred poetry, from antiquity to the present, teaches us to be comfortable sitting in mystery without trying to resolve it, to be skeptical of unqualified certitudes. In reminding us that language has history, density, complexity, such poetry becomes a potent antidote against an empire that would use empty, vapid language to cudgel us into inaction. ... Read more about THE WORD DROPPED LIKE A STONE: Sacred Poetics Under the Reign of the Money God
Welcome to the first event of Gnoseologies: Transcendence and Transformation Today in which we will discuss “magic” with Dr. Susan Greenwood. This series focuses on ways of knowing that are often labeled as “non-rational.” Traditionally referred to as gnosis in Western philosophical and religious traditions, and often understood in contraposition to science (episteme), these ways of knowing are becoming more and more influential in contemporary societies, popular culture, and academic research. What is the place of spirit...
Fellows Hadi Fakhoury and Mimi Winick for a discussion with Joy Dixon (University of British Columbia) of her first book, Divine Feminine: Theosophy and Feminism in England, along with her new book project tentatively titled, Sexual Heresies: Religion, Science, and Sexuality in Modern Britain. Among other things, the discussion will explore a genealogy of the concept of the “divine feminine” in modern esotericism, and its intersection with questions of politics, religion, sex, gender, and sexuality. This event is the first in the CSWR’s year-long series on “The Divine Feminine and Its Discontents.” ... Read more about Video: The Divine Feminine: A Modern Genealogy
A conversation with Native American Church leaders Steven Benally and Sandor Iron Rope, who discussed the centuries-old sacramental use of plant medicines such as peyote. They explored the history of the persecution of this plant medicine and the Indigenous peoples and cultures for whom it is sacred, and how Indigenous perspectives might complicate or challenge the contemporary “psychedelic renaissance.” ... Read more about Video: The Native American Church and the Sacrament of Peyote
Charles M. Stang, Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR), discussed the Center’s new initiative, “Transcendence and Transformation,” and introduced its first cohort of research associates and post-doctoral fellows: Matthew Dillon, Hadi Fakhoury, J. Christian Greer, Giovanna Parmigiani, and Meryl (Mimi) Winick.... Read more about Video: Transcendence and Transformation
Todne Thomas, HDS Assistant Professor of African American Religions, discusses her recent publication, "Kincraft: The Making of Black Evangelical Sociality." Judith Casselberry (Bowdoin College) and Soong-Chan Rah (North Park University) served as respondents.
This lecture focused on the Hindu view of life from the margins. While the “Hindu margin” is a fairly large heterogeneous group, this lecture laid the lens on the third gender, Kinnars (pejorative term hijṛā) and spiritual partners, categorized as “consorts.” Both these groups were discussed within the ritual praxis of “lived religions,” within the larger world of Śākta Tantra (Goddess esoteric traditions).... Read more about Video: The Hindu Margins: Third Gender and Women Spiritual Partners
Where do our ideas about how the economy works, and our views on economic policy, come from? Critics of contemporary economics complain that belief in free markets, among economists as well as many ordinary citizens, is a form of religion. The foundational transition in thinking about what we now call economics, beginning in the eighteenth century, was decisively shaped by the hotly contended lines of religious thought at that time within the English-speaking Protestant world.... Read more about Video: Religion and the Rise of Capitalism