Saturday, April 26, 2014

Searching for Common Ground in the Study of Religion

"My family thinks it is hilarious. My view hasn't changed since the early 1990s!" laughed Anne Monius, Professor of South Asian Religions at Harvard Divinity School.
Monius was referring to the coincidence that her faculty office was once the studio apartment where she lived as a resident at the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR). Although the view from her window hasn't changed, Monius, who is serving as acting director of the CSWR this academic year, can see how Harvard and the CSWR are changing.
Each year the CSWR accepts applications from Harvard faculty to design and implement a spring conference. This year, Monius proposed the conference "Studying Religion Across the Disciplines."
"My real goal with this conference was entirely born from my own frustrations," remarked Monius. "Since September 11, 2001, religion is being studied in every part of every university in this country. All of a sudden political theorists, economic departments, government departments, business schools, and law schools have a newfound interest in religion. Everyone is talking about religion but we don't have a common vocabulary. We aren't even sure we are talking about the same thing."
Monius hopes the conference, held in late March, will kick-start the vital and interdisciplinary work of discovering how scholars can study and discuss religion across the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences.
Read the rest here

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