REL 460

Religious Technologies

This advanced seminar theorizes the intersections of religion and technology as a critical site for exploring broad topics in religious studies. The course will take various approaches to relations among religion, technique, and knowledge production: we examine rhetorical constructions of the religious and the technological; explore religious influences on invention and scientific progress; analyze spiritual ideals and contemporary machines; and theorize ways that religious practices and traditions operate as techniques and specialized knowledges. Course topics will include steam-propelled engines and electromagnetism, physical regimens and body modification, cartography and cyberspace, confession and self-help. With attention to interdisciplinary method, students will also work on a specific project throughout the semester that proceeds through topic selection, question formulation, research, analysis, and argumentation to produce a final research paper.

Prerequisites: Two courses in Religion and permission of the instructor.