Religion and Technology Grad Syllabus

December 20th, 2010 by acjohner

ANTH 422

Spring 2014

RELIGION AND TECHNOLOGY

University of California in Los Angeles, Department of Anthropology

Class meeting time and place: Tuesday, 9:30-11:00 a.m., 402 Madison Hall

Professor AC Johner

 

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Skype name: acjohner

Office number: (323) 412-4545

Email addresses: HYPERLINK “mailto:acjohner@gmail.com” acjohner@gmail.com

 

Department Head: Peter Andrews (302 Madison Hall)

Department Staff: 408 Madison Hall

 

Course Description:

Can a technological culture accommodate spiritual experience and spiritual thinking?  This is the main question we will tackle in this course. Some researchers believe that the future holds a movement of re-enchantment which includes machines. This would lead us to reconstruct new theological models that bring religious questions of creation, metaphysics and immortality out of the context of religious beliefs and into the context of our own technological capacity. How will new perspectives on techno-spirituality and our relationship with machines alter our mythologies and dogmas? Will the course of our global culture be drastically altered from a future tech-gnosis of mankind? In this course we will discuss theoretical perspectives in anthropology, theology and philosophy of man’s sacred relationship with technology.

Course Materials:

 

Bishop, Jeffrey P. “Transhumanism, Metaphysics, And The Posthuman God.” Journal Of Medicine & Philosophy 35.6 (2010): 700-720.

 

Coeckelbergh, Mark. “The Spirit In The Network: Models For Spirituality In A Technological Culture.” Zygon: Journal Of Religion & Science 45.4 (2010): 957-978.

 

Davis, Erik. TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information. Five Star, 2005. 372.

 

Edwards Jr., Mark U. “The Pearly Gates Of Cyberspace.” Christian Century 117.36 (2000): 1327.

 

Farman, Abou. “Re-Enchantment Cosmologies: Mastery And Obsolescence In An Intelligent Universe.” Anthropological Quarterly 85.4 (2012): 1069-1088.

 

Jackelén, Antje. “What Is “Secular”? Techno-Secularism And Spirituality.” Zygon: Journal Of Religion & Science 40.4 (2005): 863-874.

 

Johner, Andrew. “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music. North Atlantic Books, San Francisco (in press).

 

Molendijk, Ariel L. “Religious Development: C. P. Tiele’s Paradigm Of Science Of Religion.” Numen: International Review For The History Of Religions 51.3 (2004): 321-351.

 

Sarewitz, Daniel. “Sometimes science must give way to religion.” Nature. 488.7412 (2012): n. page. Web. 10 May. 2013. <http://www.nature.com/news/sometimes-science-must-give-way-to-religion-1.11244>.

 

REQUIREMENTS:

(1) The majority of work in the course will be centered on participatory discussions in class over reading material.  For this reason, attendance is worth 50% of your overall course grade.

(2) You will be assigned one 25 page paper, which will be due at the end of the course.  This paper will make-up the other 50% of your grade.

 

WEEKLY OUTLINE:

Week One:

Read Erik Davis’s Techgnosis.

In class we will discuss man’s relationship with technology, as well as Davis’s Techgnosis.

At the end of the class we will have Erik Davis himself Skype in for a short question and answer discussion with the class.

Week Two:

Read Mark Coeckelbergh’s “The Spirit In The Network: Models For Spirituality In A Technological Culture.”

Read Mark Edward’s “The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace.”

In class we will discuss the age of information, the Internet, and how it has informed and transformed religions.

At the end of class we will discuss possible ideas for your papers.

Week Three:

 

Read Molendijk, Ariel L. “Religious Development: C. P. Tiele’s Paradigm Of Science Of Religion.” Numen: International Review For The History Of Religions 51.3 (2004): 321-351.

 

ReadAnd Sarewitz, Daniel. “Sometimes science must give way to religion.” Nature. 488.7412 (2012): n. page. Web. 10 May. 2013.

 

In class we will discuss the debate between science and religion and the effect on culture.

Due:  Your Paper Topics.  Write a one-page synopsis of your paper.

Week Four:

Read Jackelén, Antje. “What Is “Secular”? Techno-Secularism And Spirituality.” Zygon: Journal Of Religion & Science 40.4 (2005): 863-874.

In class we will discus what is secularism, and the secularization of society.

Due: Annotated bibliographies of your papers

Week Five:

Read Farman, Abou. “Re-Enchantment Cosmologies: Mastery And Obsolescence In An Intelligent Universe.” Anthropological Quarterly 85.4 (2012): 1069-1088.

Read Chapters 1-5 of Davis, Erik. TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information. Five Star, 2005. 372.

In class we will begin a discussion about technology and its influence on mythologies, both historically and contemporarily.

Week Six

Read the rest of Davis, Erik. TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information. Five Star, 2005. 372.

In class we will continue our discussion about technology and myth.

Week Seven

Read first half of AC Johner’s “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music. North Atlantic Books, San Francisco.

In class we will watch the documentary film “Electronic Awakening.”

Week Eight

Read the second half of AC Johner’s “Electronic Revival: Religion, Technology and the Rise of Electronic Dance Music. North Atlantic Books, San Francisco.

In class we will discuss the creation of new religious movements inspired by technology.

Due: Rough drafts of your papers

Week Nine

Read on article of your choice on transhumanism.

In Class, you will each give a 10 minute presentation on your article.

At the end of class we will all discuss the topic of transhumanism and how it may alter our spirituality.

Week Ten

Read Bishop, Jeffrey P. “Transhumanism, Metaphysics, And The Posthuman God.” Journal Of Medicine & Philosophy 35.6 (2010): 700-720.

In class we will finish our discussion on transhumanism.

Final Paper’s Due Next Week

Final Week

Due: Final Papers

You will all have 10 minutes to present your final papers in class.

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