Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The 'Temple of the Vedic Planetarium' as Mission, Monument and Memorial

Urmila Mohan explores the monumental "Temple of the Vedic Planetarium" being built in Mayapur, West Bengal, India, as an example of mediation that intertwines the expansionary goals of Iskcon and the aspirations of local devotees and non-devotees. The temple/planetarium is critiqued for its ability to missionise by providing a compelling spiritual experience and view of a Vedic universe.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Food for Thought: The Contributions of 'Matière à Penser' to the Study of Material Culture

Jean-Pierre Warnier offers us a précis on the aims of the Matière à Penser working group. The French term -- 'Matière à Penser' -- translates into 'food for thought.' The group has developed a cutting edge approach to studying "bodily-and-material-culture" in motion by synthesizing a variety of theories regarding the body, subjectivity, and material culture.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Non-ordinary Powers: Charisma, Special Affordances and the Study of Religion

Ann Taves presents a rich theoretical work on religious objects. Reviewing Max Weber's ideas about charisma, J.J. Gibson's ecological psychology, and a range of other theorists too numerous to mention, Taves produces a novel account, deeply informed by cognitive science, regarding the fascinating roles objects have played in religious traditions.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Material Culture of Lived Religions: Visuality and Embodiment

David Morgan of Duke University comments on the entanglement of body, material culture, and lived religion in his article, "The Material Culture of Lived Religions." Of particular use, he offers a set of operational definitions regarding material culture, embodiment, lived religion, aesthetics, and the material economy of the sacred.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


John J. McGraw discusses the meaning and significance of the term "entheogen" in this extract from his book, Brain & Belief. He draws from numerous theorists who have made strong claims about the significance of entheogens in the history of religions and, in particular, for the genesis of basic religious concepts, including the idea of an immaterial soul. 

Friday, September 5, 2014


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