Thursday, May 12, 2022
Robertson Gym 1000A
In scientific laboratories around the world ecstatic acts of attention are taking place. And in each instance, regardless of what, exactly, is being studied, the reification of the secular category par excellence—religious difference—is being conjured over and over again. Rather than assume that religion and science are inevitably in conflict or independent from one another, or in dialogue with one another, or even potentially integrated, this talk argues that scholars must, first and foremost, reflexively account for the historicity of this categorical distinction. Drawing from the neuromatic archive as well as the post-punk art scenes of Akron, Ohio (Devo, Kent State Chemical Group, and New Wave Psychology) the talk will explore the production of the religion-scientific difference as a way to counter approaches that frame religion instrumentally, that is, in terms of what is valuable, therapeutic, or pathological about its practice.
John Lardas Modern is Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College; Modern is the author of Neuromatic; or, a Particular History of Religion and the Brain (2021), Secularism in Antebellum America (2011), and The Bop Apocalypse: The Religious Visions of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs (2001). He co-curated Frequencies and co-edits Class 200: New Studies in Religion at the University of Chicago Press (both with Kathryn Lofton). Modern is currently producing a multimedia project called Machines in Between.
This event is co-sponsored by UCSB’s Religious Studies Department.