AAR panel on Latour’s Gifford Lectures

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AAR panel on Latour’s Gifford Lectures

he AAR panel responding to 2013 Holberg Prize winner Bruno Latour’s Gifford Lectures has now been scheduled. Information is as follows.

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QUERYING NATURAL RELIGION: IMMANENCE, GAIA, & THE PARLIAMENT OF LIVELY THINGS

Session A23-203

(Co-sponsors: Social Theory & Religion Cluster and Religion & Ecology Group)

Saturday November 23 – 1:00 PM-3:30 PM

Baltimore Convention Center (room TBA)

Presider: Sarah M. Pike, California State University, Chico

Panelists:

  • Adrian Ivakhiv, University of Vermont (organizer)
  • Bron Taylor, University of Florida
  • Jane Bennett, Johns Hopkins University
  • William Connolly, Johns Hopkins University
  • Daniel Deudney, Johns Hopkins University
  • Timothy Morton, Rice University

Responding: Bruno Latour, Science Po Paris

This roundtable session will explore and respond to the themes of the 2013 Gifford Lectures, delivered by anthropologist of science and philosopher Bruno Latour on the topic of “Facing Gaia: A New Inquiry into Natural Religion.”

 

Full description:

The facets of Bruno Latour’s scholarship span a diverse breadth and depth: the sociology of science and technology, the formulation and development of actor-network theory, the theorization of agency in a more-than-human world, and the anthropology of modernity, including changing relations between science, politics, and the secular and sacred. In his 2013 Gifford Lectures, Latour probed the theme of “Facing Gaia: A New Inquiry into Natural Religion.” Nature, Latour posited, can be seen as a theological construct that ought to be “secularized,” but this should enable us to renew our attention to the “agencies” and “collectives” we composit in our interaction with the world. The Gaia hypothesis, like the term “anthropocene,” presents for Latour an enigmatic set of features that redistribute agencies in all possible ways, raising the question of how to develop a “diplomacy” for a post-humanocentric world, a Gaian “political theology” by which we might develop new collective rituals – “works of art and experiments able to explore in sufficient detail the scientific and political composition of the common world.”

Latour’s arguments touch on several vital strands of theoretical debate within the study of religion, including the historical construction of the very category “religion” and its interaction with changing ideas about science and nature, modernity and postmodernity, relativism, pluralism, globalization, and the possibility of critique. This roundtable will encompass a range of responses to Latour’s challenge from leading scholars at the intersections of nature, science, religion, cultural theory, popular spirituality, and the micro and macro politics of an ever more global society. Confirmed panelists include scholars of religion and nature (Bron Taylor), immanence and secularism (William Connolly), ecology and enchantment (Jane Bennett), ecological cultural critique (Timothy Morton), and global geopolitics and identity (political scientist Daniel Deudney). Between them, the panelists will query Latour’s “cosmopolitical” proposals and respond to the questions his lectures raised from a variety of scholarly and applied perspectives.

The panel is being organized in parallel with a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture (JSRNC) dedicated to Latour and his Gifford Lectures on “natural religion.”

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