Science, Religion, and Culture at HDS

Inaugurated in 2012 by Ahmed Ragab, Science, Religion, and Culture at Harvard Divinity School (known as SRC) organizes colloquia, seminars, and workshops that promote interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration among scholars and students across Harvard University and beyond. 

Science, Religion, and Culture generates and sponsors conversations that critically interrogate the categories of science and religion and the socio-cultural, discursive, and societal processes that produce and transform these categories and the structures of authority and relevance attached to them. The program aims to carefully analyze anthropological, historical, philosophical, and theological dimensions of the particular discourses, conversations, and constructions that appear in these contexts. At the same time, SRC promotes scholarship that employs a variety of methods and tools—including queer and feminist theories, ritual and performance theories, actor-network theory, discourse analysis, and post-colonial methodologies—in the study of scientific and religious phenomena and their interactions.

Current SRC Programs comprised within The Forum

Science, Religion, and Culture Mahindra Humanities Seminar Series: Our collaboration with the Mahindra Humanities Center sponsors conversations among scholars using anthropological, sociological, historical, and philosophical methods, with special interest in questions of race, gender and sexuality, and different strategies of inclusion and exclusion that transform the production and consumption of knowledge. This seminar series will host several Harvard faculty members as well as scholars from the wider academy who will discuss general themes pertaining to the series. 

Ways of Knowing: Graduate Conference on Religion: The Graduate Conference on Religion is an annual multi-day gathering of graduate students of religion within a varied framework of academic disciplines. It is comprised of thematic panels that cross religious traditions, and intellectual and theological commitments.

For the 2012-2013 academic year, SRC promoted "The Year of the Body" as part of the Science, Religion, and the Body Colloquium Series, which explored several contexts related to gender and sexuality. The colloquium hosted speakers in conjunction with courses focusing on the body being taught at Harvard Divinity School by Janet Gyatso, Karen King, Ahmed Ragab, and Mayra Rivera Rivera.

2013-2014 SRC calendar

Film & Dialogue Series—High Noon
Lauren Taylor, MDiv candidate
Wednesday, October 2, 6:30-9:30 pm    
Braun Room, Andover Hall        

Second Annual “Ways of Knowing: Graduate Conference on Religion”
Friday and Saturday, October 25-26
Andover Hall, All Day
Keynote: Sherine Hamdy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Brown University: "Bioethics Rebound: Religion and Science as Social Practice”
Friday, October 25, 6:45 pm
Sperry Room, Andover Hall

Book Release—The American Health Care Paradox  (co-authored with Elizabeth H. Bradley)
Lauren Taylor, MDiv candidate
Wednesday, October 30, 5-7 pm
Braun Room, Andover Hall

Film & Dialogue Series—Inherit the Wind
Myrna Perez Sheldon, PhD candidate, Department of History of Science
Monday, November 4, 6:30-9:30 pm
Braun Room, Andover Hall

New and Ongoing SRC Research Themes

Ethics in Science and Religion
This new initiative for the 2013-2014 academic year encompasses conversations relating to medical ethics, bioethics, and environmental ethics and fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and conversation between faculty and students at Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Law School.

Urbanism, Spirituality, and Well-Being
By design, this project encourages and engages interdisciplinary discussions about historical and contemporary architectural and urban forms and the role that they play in representing and reflecting specific forms of religious awareness and experience, technological and artisanal knowledge, artistic forms and traditions, as well as the ways in which these forms function as conduits of "well-being." 

Religion, Science, and Sexuality
This research investigates how individual and communal understandings and practices of sexuality influences medical and religious thought and practice and how, in turn, medical and religious views on normality/abnormality, right/wrong, virtue/non-virtue influence the perception and practices of sexuality leading to different forms of societal and cultural practices such as inclusion/exclusion, marginalization, medicalization, and legitimation.

Health & Religion in the Global Context
This initiative fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and conversation relating to public health, health policy, global health, ritual and medical practice, chaplaincy and spiritual care, gender and sexuality, religion in clinical practice, religious communities and illness, disease and suffering, and perceptions of the body.

Evolution and Religion 
This research theme looks at the entanglements of evolution and religion in the production of knowledge, identity, and social categories through history. Evolutionary theory and religion both seek to provide a synthetic framework for understanding the world and our place in it. We largely set aside the question of whether evolution or religion are fundamentally in conflict or in harmony in order to ask how each have served as bases for morality and broad social decisions.

Contact information

The SRC office is located in Andover Hall, Room 309B, at the heart of Harvard Divinity School. For all inquiries, please contact Cyndi Wigdahl, SRC coordinator, 617.496.9221. For more information on all SRC programs please refer to the SRC website.