This Unit supports scholarship that explores the relationship of religion, theology, technology, and the natural sciences. We support research that attempts to bridge the gap between religious and scientific approaches to reality and encourage the development of constructive proposals that encourage engagement and dialogue with the sciences, along with a critical assessment of the meaning and impact of technologies for the human condition and the natural world.
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Science, Technology, and Religion Unit
Call for Proposals
The Religion, Science, and Technology Group seeks paper and panel proposals on the following themes:
• Cruel Science and Religion
For a possible co-sponsored session with the Religion, Holocaust and Genocide Unit, we invite papers on cruel science and religion. What are specific ways that the uses of science and technology have contributed to human rights abuses, genocide, and other mass atrocities? What role has science (or perhaps, pseudo-science) played in justifying such tragedies? Specific papers could focus on historical or contemporary examples of the intersection of science and violence (including both the role of technological development in facilitating genocide, and the role of genocide in facilitating technological development through medical experimentation on prisoner populations). Of particular interest are submissions that attend to how religious actors and institutions have abetted or resisted these instances of cruel science. Papers accepted for this session will be considered by Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal for possible inclusion in a focus issue.
• Science and Ethics
For a possible co-sponsored session with the Ethics Unit. Technological developments often pose obviously ethical questions for religious traditions. Do scientific developments (e.g., the Copernican revolution / evolution / Big Bang / plate tectonics) also pose ethical questions for religious traditions? If so, how? And do these scientifically induced questions differ in kind from the ethical questions that technological developments prompt?
• Science and Secularism
What roles do science, technology, and religion play in shaping secular life? How do different religious traditions participate in the making of scientific knowledge and/or technological innovation? How might religious studies scholarship help us to understand ongoing contestations about nature, ecology, and the human?
• The “Field” of Science and Religion
In light of the 2020 AAR theme, we invite papers that reflect upon the scholarly guild with respect to the field of science and religion. How have intellectual trends influenced the development of science and religion over the past fifty years? Has the field of science and religion made any intellectual contributions to other fields, or does it only import theories from other disciplines? How successful have scholars been at engaging in robust conversations across different fields and communities? Is the field unified in some way or is it inherently pluralistic, even with respect to the sciences? Who is the audience that science and religion scholarship is trying to reach (e.g., scientists, religious communities, the science and religion guild)?
What are the sciences discovering about time (e.g., recent results on time-reversal in quantum experiments reopen the debate about A time vs B time.) In what ways should recent scientific explorations of time affect thinking in various religions?
Finally, STR is always open to paper proposals or panels that do not fit any of these particular parameters.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Peter Jordan, University of Oxford1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Heather Mellquist Lehto, University of Toronto1/1/2019 - 12/31/2024
Sarah Lane Ritchie, University of Edinburgh1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Yunus Dogan Telliel, Worcester Polytechnic Institute1/1/2017 - 12/31/2022