Department of Religious Studies

Biological Gods: The New Mythmakers of Science (Fiction)

Guest Lecture by Professor Jeffrey J. Kripal

Wed, March 2, 2016 | CLA 1.302B

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Contact Prof. Brent Landau for more details!
Contact Prof. Brent Landau for more details!

Prof. Jeffrey J. Kripal's lecture will focus on three texts: Philip K. Dick’s VALIS (1981), Whitley Strieber’s COMMUNION (1987) and Barbara Ehrenreich’s LIVING WITH A WILD GOD (2014). In each case, we will see how the author describes a deeply personal, life-changing encounter with what any earlier culture would have recognized as a deity or demon. Each author engages these earlier religious interpretations but finally moves outside of them to posit actual invisible species in the environment that interact with human beings at their own whims and for their own interests, perhaps, the authors speculate, to "feed off" of human emotion or to tame, domesticate or evolve us via sexual communion and interspecies symbiosis. The result is a new set of evolutionary panpsychisms, erotic vitalisms and biological polytheisms that pose a challenge to the reigning materialisms and projection theories of conventional science and the humanities.

 

Prof. Kripal is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion at Rice University.

Sponsored by: Department of Religious Studies

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