Features

Concordance: An Evening With Susan Howe

Video: Concordance: An Evening with Susan Howe

April 24, 2019

Award-winning American poet Susan Howe visited Harvard Divinity School on April 24 to speak about the binding together of freedom and law, spontaneity and habit, as occasions for awakening a reader to the exaltation of spirit in process. Crossing the guarded borders between image and word, individual and community, history and the present, poetry provides an opening to the transcendent order that chance makes possible.

Susan Howe's collection of poems, That This, won the Bollingen Prize in 2011. In 2017 she received the Robert Frost award for distinguished lifetime...

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Nainoa Thompson

Video: The Land and the Waters are Speaking: Indigenous Views on Climate Change

April 4, 2019

The ongoing destruction of Earth’s natural systems is the result of decisions, made daily, by billions of people. These decisions are voluntary and involuntary at once, collective and personal. Two indigenous leaders—Nainoa Thompson and Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq (Uncle)—have both been identified by their communities as messengers who will guide us through climate challenges as they reflect on their traditions and spiritual practices.

Nainoa Thompson is the president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and a Pwo navigator, who, inspired by his kūpuna (...

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All One Stuff: Emerson's Materialism

Video: All One Stuff: Emerson's Materialism

April 3, 2019

This talk contradicts the longstanding reading of Emerson as invested in idealism and instead charts his obsession with matter both organic and inorganic, organized and unorganized. By attending to his interest in sciences of life, Branka Arsić reconstructs the geological and botanical theories that led him to formulate a genuinely vitalist ontology; and by outlining his vitalism... Read more about Video: All One Stuff: Emerson's Materialism

Tales of Sweetgrass and Trees

Video: Tales of Sweetgrass and Trees: Robin Wall Kimmerer and Richard Powers in Conversation with Terry Tempest Williams

March 26, 2019

Scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of the prize-winning Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Richard Powers, author of The Overstory, join Harvard Divinity School writer-in-residence Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place and The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks, in conversation....

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Damaris Parsitau, WSRP '19

Damaris Parsitau: Religion, Gender, and Sexuality in Africa

March 14, 2019

Residents at the CSWR are scholars deeply committed to the study of religion. Below, we spoke with Damaris Parsitau, WSRP '19, on her research in religion, gender, and sexuality in Africa.

CSWR: How has being a CSWR resident affected your HDS experience?

DP: I have enjoyed the sense of community and collegiality within the larger HDS community of scholars. As a result, I have learned and unlearnt a great deal of stuff. I have also been challenged by a community of diverse world class scholars and researchers who generously...

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Glenn Wallis

Video: The Case Against Buddhism

March 11, 2019

Presented as a rational, scientific, and practical religion, modern Buddhism appears to have all the answers. Even the secular forms of mindfulness promise ever-increasing practitioners that Buddhist meditation will provide the solutions to all their mental, emotional, and spiritual issues. But is there a problem with all of this?

In his new book, A Critique of Western Buddhism: Ruins of the Buddhist Real, scholar Glenn Wallis argues that there is, and that Buddhism as we know it "must be ruined." On March 11, 2019, Wallis was in conversation with HDS professor...

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The Song Within Thinking Outwardly

Video: The Song Within Thinking Outwardly: Navajo Thought and Poetry

March 7, 2019

In Navajo worldview, thought creates the world, which is then spoken into being. This process places sacred value on the power of language. Sherwin Bitsui’s poetry attempts to connect Diné thought to a changed world by translating the present through an encoding rooted in his culture and language. In this excerpt from his talk at Harvard Divinity School, he offered insight into how Navajo thought and language can inform a poetics, thus opening possibilities for poetry.

Sherwin Bitsui is the author of three collections of poetry: Dissolve, Flood Song, and ...

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Terry Tempest Williams

A Lifetime of Caring

February 22, 2019
The Los Angeles Times announced February 21 that one of its prestigious book prizes will be presented to HDS Writer-in-Residence Terry Tempest Williams.