Year of the Body

The first year of the Science, Religion, and Culture Mahindra Humanities Seminar Series was overwhelmingly successful. Andrew Jewett (Harvard) provided our aptly themed inaugural lecture on science and religion by discussing the roles of each discipline in modern America. The audience was representative of the entire semester, with students coming primarily from the Divinity School and the Dept. of the History of Science at GSAS. Regional Studies students were also a frequent presence at the various lectures focusing on Asia and the Middle East. These lectures included: Marcia C. Inhorn (Yale) addressed the influence of Islam on the adoption of new methods of fertilization; TJ Hinrich (Cornell) spoke to the close relationship between religion and the state in Song China; a presentation on the importance of bodily markings in Hindu culture and its relationship to Buddhism and karma from Daud Ali (UPenn); and our closing lecture by Divinity School alumnus Jason Ananda Josephson (Williams) on the coterminous development and fundamental inseparability of science and religion in nineteenth-century Japan. Divinity students and professors were in the overwhelming majority to hear Alison Simmons (Harvard) lecture on Cartesian mind-body dualism, as well as K. Healan Gaston (Harvard Divinity) who addressed the importance of religious thinking to scientific pursuits expounded by the Niebuhr brothers. The quality of all lectures was high, and question and answer periods flowed smoothly. After the lectures, students and professors mingled in a casual atmosphere over wine and cheese, and were given the opportunity to talk directly with the day's presenter. This casual mingling of students and professors from history, divinity, and regional studies programs represents another success of our lecture series.
Seminar Chairs: Ahmed Ragab, Richard T. Watson Assistant Professor of Science and Religion at Harvard Divinity School and Affiliate Assistant Professor at the Department of the History of Science. Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies at Harvard Divinity School.
Sept 25: Inaugural Lecture
Tuesday, 6 - 7:30PM, Barker 113
Assistant Professor of History and of Social Studies, Harvard University
"I work at the intersection of political and intellectual history, with a focus on the interaction of knowledge production with political culture and institutions in the United States. I am especially interested in how discursive elements have moved between the public sphere and the increasingly specialized academic disciplines, and in the political contexts for this circulation."
Dec 13: Panel Discussion, Science, Religion, and the Body
Tuesday, 6 - 7:30PM, Barker 114
Jan 29: Lecture
Tuesday, 6 - 7:30 PM
William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, Yale University.
Inhorn’s research interests revolve around science and technology studies (STS), gender and feminist theory (including masculinity studies), religion and bioethics, globalization and global health, cultures of biomedicine and ethnomedicine, stigma and human suffering.
Feb 26: Lecture
Tuesday, 6 - 7:30PM
Associate Professor, History Department, Cornell University
"A central thread running through my research and teaching is the investigation of connections between intimate experiences such as illness and personal transformation; communal practices such as medical training and religious rites; and broader historical shifts such as the consolidation of the civil service examination system, commercialization and urbanization, the spread of printing, and the development of landscape painting."
Mar 26: Lecture
Tuesday, 6 - 7:30PM
Lecturer on American Religious Histor, Harvard Divinity School
Her research focuses on the role of religion in American public life, with particular emphasis on the relationship between theology and democratic theory.
Apr 22: Lecture, Being Human: Mind-Body Union and the Limits of Cartesian Metaphysics, or Making Sense of the Mind-Body Union
Tuesday, 6 - 7:30PM, Braun Room
Samuel H. Wolcott Professor of Philosophy at Harvard College
Apr 23: Lecture
Tuesday, 6 - 7:30PM
Assistant Professor of Religion, Williams College
"His research explores the contested borderland between “religion” and “science.” He focuses on practices and beliefs often considered “superstitions,” and therefore frequently dismissed as worthy of consideration in the disciplinary formations of science and religion."