Beyond Secularization: Religion, Science and Technology in Public Life

Project Inquiry

Beyond Secularization Venn Diagram

We explore ideas of progress that underpin common understandings of what it means to be human, to live a good life, and to aspire to a better future. We examine how science, technology, religion, and secularism interact to shape these ideas—and with what effects.

Our focus

This interdisciplinary research project, funded by Templeton Religion Trust, looks at relationships between religion, science and technology in several important domains of public life:

  • in environmental movements; 
  • in shifting ideas of the spiritual self that draw upon science; 
  • in arenas of high-technology innovation that are reshaping how we live; and 
  • in the ways societies debate and govern technologies with the potential to remake human life.

This program of cross-cutting social research begins with two crucial observations: the boundaries between science and religion, and between the secular and the sacred are neither sharp nor self-evident; yet the idea that they are—and that scientific and technological advance inevitably drives secularization and diminishes religion—shapes public life in consequential ways. This project rejects the notion that science and religion are categorically distinct and intrinsically at odds, and problematizes the assumption that progress is intrinsically science-driven and secularizing. Instead, it takes as an object of social inquiry the interlacing of science, technology and religion in public life order to reassess—and re-imagine—dominant ideas of progress.

Working as a CoLab (a collaborative laboratory), this intellectual hub of ASU scholars organizes research around three areas of inquiry:

The Human

Biotechnologies capable of reshaping who we are raise fundamental questions about what it means to be human—and about who answers those questions and how, drawing upon what bodies of knowledge and what ideas of human nature, purpose and progress. As scientists, ethicists and publics seek to make sense of the significance of advancing biotechnologies like genome editing for the human future, questions of human identity, integrity and dignity have become central. Sites of scientific and technological innovation have also become sites of moral and spiritual inquiry. This area of research explores how conceptions of the rightful uses of science and technology that could, at the limit, alter our ideas of being human are taking shape in arenas of research, innovation and governance.


The Digital

Embedded in many innovation cultures is the idea that all aspects of life--from cells to societies to ecosystems—house information that can be directed and altered as easily as software engineers modify code. Built into this idea is the expectation that humanity can be improved and a better world built simply by working out the kinks or upgrading imperfections—aims that might be achieved by harnessing science and technology. Recognizing how Silicon Valley’s innovation culture, profoundly shaped by the idiosyncratic spirituality and culture of northern California, has traveled and given rise to a plurality of tech enclaves, this research area explores the complex spiritual visions these enclaves emerge from and give rise to—visions  in which technological innovation is the key to material abundance, political freedom, and the evolution of human consciousness.


The Natural

How we think about nature and how we think about the self are central concerns of both science and religion. These ideas frame a moral relationship, impacting how humans relate to the natural world and to each other. They even shape how we think we know—whether by intuition, reasoning, measured studies, mystical experiences, or something else—as well as what we think that knowledge is good for. Through case studies, field work, and interpretative analysis, this research area explores how the material world and the self are re-conceptualized and re-invigorated by ecotheologians, environmental activists, and spiritual entrepreneurs who connect science directly to religion and spirituality.

About the icons
Blurring the lines between the literal and the representational, the ill-defined and the evocative, these icons seek to conjure a spectrum of associations held within spaces of the “realistic” and the “figurative.” Each icon plays off of the acronymic visualization of an area of inquiry (H, D, and N) while also channeling and juxtaposing imagined connotations of each area's resonant concept: “The Human,” represented in figures that are tied together with DNA and a shared comradery; “The Digital,” represented in severe lines of runistic mystery and futuristic innovation of information architecture; and “The Natural,” represented in aerial views of steady streams or contour lines of earthly topography.
By creating icons that play with concepts through juxtaposition and varying degrees of ambiguity, the observer is invited to consider multiple methods of interpretation and challenged to consider how boundaries and conceptual distinctions might be working, that is how wide—and just as well, how narrow or even better, how fixed or elusive, how rigid or permeable—lines and gaps are between musings of objects, concepts, and meanings.


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Daniel Affsprung

Graduate Research Associate

PhD student, School of Life Sciences

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Sanghamitra "Sangha" Das

Graduate Research Associate

PhD student, School of Life Sciences (Biology and Society)

This interdisciplinary initiative hosts renowned Visiting Scholars to spend one- to two-week in periods of residence at the CoLab (collaborative laboratory). While in residence, scholars offer a seminar and a public lecture, and they serve as consultants to the project, exploring synergies and alternative innovative approaches to the project’s areas of research.

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Jason Ānanda Josephson

Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm is Chair and Professor of Religion and Chair of Science & Technology Studies at Williams College.


Below you will find the archive of scholarship from the Beyond Secularization team: books, scholarly publications, and public presentations.

Click on the accordion title to expand and review each section.

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Calhoun, Craig, Dilip Gaonkar, and Charles Taylor. Degenerations of Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2022).

Calhoun, Craig and Benjamin Fong, eds. The Green New Deal and the Future of Work (Columbia University Press, 2022). 

McCrary, Charles. Sincerely Held: American Secularism and its Believers (U Chicago Press, 2022).

Genovese, Taylor R. translation of Art and the Working Class by Alexander Bogdanov (Iskra Books 2022). 

Bennett, Gaymon. “The Digital Sublime: Algorithmic Binds in a Living Foundry,” Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, Angelaki, Taylor & Francis, Volume 25, Issue 3 (2020)

Bennett, Gaymon. “The Politics of Intrinsic Worth: Why Bioethics (Still) Needs Human Dignity.” In Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing, edited by Erik Parens and Josephine Johnston, pp.228-246. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Bennett, Gaymon with photography by Taylor R. Genovese. “Anima, Animism, Animate: Ethnography after Authenticity,” Techniques Journal 1, no. 1 (April 16, 2021)

Cady, Linell E. “’Wild Beasts of the Philosophical Desert:’ Religion, Science and Spirituality in a Postsecular Age,” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 32, no.1 (2020): 29-48.

Calhoun, Craig. “Knowledge and Social Transformations in Africa,” in Edwin Etieyibo, Obvious Katsaura, and Muchaparara Musemwa, Africa’s Radicalisms and Conservatisms, Vol. II, Leiden: Brill, pp. 11-36. (2022)

Calhoun, Craig. “For Sociology: May Our Arguments Unite Us.” Critical Sociology 48(2), 197–203. (2022)

Calhoun, Craig. “Degenerations of Democracy: Response to Comments.” Critical Sociology 49(2), 331-340. (2023)

Calhoun, Craig. “Secularism and Social Transformation,” Keynote Address to the European Academy of Religion,” in pp. 19-55 in EUARE Lectures, 2019. Bologna: European Academy of Religion (2020).

Calhoun, Craig. “Populism and Democracy: The Long View,” pp. 227-46 in B. Vormann and M. Weiman, eds., The Emergence of Illiberalism: Understanding a Global Phenomenon, London: Routledge (2020).

Calhoun, Craig. Moishe Postone and the Transcendence of Capitalism,” Critical Historical Studies, 2020, Vol. 7 (1): 145-65.

Дженовезе, Тейлор Р. «Мультимодальные подходы к изучению космических музеев». Этнографическое обозрение, No. 5: 22–40. doi: 10.31857/S0869541522050025. [Genovese, Taylor R. “Multimodal Approaches to the Study of Space Museums.” Ethnographic Review (Etnograficheskoe obozrenie), No. 5: 22-40. doi: 10.31857/S0869541522050025].

Genovese, Taylor R. “Under the Shadow of the Wall,” Visual Anthropology Review, 38 (2). First online, 17 January 2023.

Hammang, Annie. “Troubleshooting: The Automation of Synthetic Biology and the Labor of Technological Futures,” Science, Technology, & Human Values. (Jan., 2023)

Harsh, Matthew, Kerry Holden, Jameson Wetmore, G. Pascal Zachary, and Ravosh Bal, “Situating science in Africa: The dynamics of computing research in Nairobi and Kampala,” Social Studies of Science, 49 no.1 (2019): 52–76.

Hilgartner, Stephen, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, and Sheila Jasanoff. “Was ‘science’ on the ballot?” Science, February 2021, Vol. 371 (6532): 893-4.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “The Ethics of CRISPR,” (with Hank Greely) Pairagraph. Jun 16, 2021.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Dangerous Practices of Sovereign Science.” Somatosphere, March 3, 2021.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Decoding the CRISPR-baby stories.” A review essay of Kevin Davies’ Editing Humanity, Walter Isaacson’s The Code Breaker, and Ebon Kirksey’s The Mutant Project. MIT Technology Review, February 24, 2021.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Behold the Man: Figuring the Human in the Era of Biotechnology.” In A Critical Reflection on Automated Science: Will Science Remain Human? edited by Marta Bertolaso and Fabio Sterpetti, p. 249. New York: Springer, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin, Ingrid Metzler, Luca Marelli, and Sheila Jasanoff. “Bioconstitutional Imaginaries and the Comparative Politics of Genetic Self-Knowledge.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 45, no. 6 (November 1, 2020): 1087–1118.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin, Sheila Jasanoff, and Krishanu Saha. “Constitutionalism at the Nexus of Life and Law.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 45, no. 6 (November 1, 2020): 979–1000.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Imperatives of Governance: Human Genome Editing and the Problem of Progress.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 63, no. 1 (February 11, 2020): 177–94.

Jasanoff, Sheila, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, and Krishanu Saha, “Democratic Governance of Human Germline Genome Editing.” The CRISPR Journal 2, no. 5 (October 1, 2019): 266–71.

McCrary, Charles. “Producing Knowledge about Religion: Spies, Scholars, and their Approaches,” American Religion journal supplement (Jun., 2022).

McCrary, Charles, editor, “Operations of American Religion: A Conversation on Michael Graziano’s Errand Into the Wilderness of Mirrors,” a journal supplement in American Religion (Jun., 2022).

McCrary, Charles. "'a splendid norm': Human Plants and the Eugenic Secular, 1906-1926," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 90, no. 1 (March, 2022): 218–247.

McCrary, Charles. “‘Ash Like People Now’: Philadelphia Fire and Humanization,” Religious Studies Review 48, no. 2 (Spring, 2022).

McCrary, Charles. “Secularism and the Freedom to (Self-)Regulate.” Part of a review forum on Defend the Sacred: Native American Religious Freedom Beyond the First Amendment, by Michael McNally. Journal of Law and Religion 37, no. 1 (Jan., 2022): 191–195.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather.Global Christianity as Method: Seeing Korean Christianity in American Megachurches.” American Religion. (December 2021)

Mellquist Lehto, Heather.Grafting Missionary Infrastructures: Korean Missions to Cambodia in an IT Age.” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. (December 2021).

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. "Learning from Religious Diasporas in Pandemic Times" Religion and Society, vol. 11, no. 1 (November 2020).

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Designing Secularity at Sarang Church.” Journal of Korean Studies, vol. 25, no. 2, (October 2020): 429-454.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Debate: Religion and SARS-CoV2 (organized collection, with contributions from Marla Frederick, Yunus Telliel, and Heather Mellquist Lehto).” Religion and Society, vol. 11, no. 1, (September 2020): 186-204. 

Misha Angrist, Rodolphe Barrangou, Françoise Baylis, Carolyn Brokowski, Gaetan Burgio, Arthur Caplan, Carolyn Riley Chapman, George M. Church, Robert Cook-Deegan, Bryan Cwik, Jennifer A. Doudna, John H. Evans, Henry T. Greely, Laura Hercher, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Richard O. Hynes, Tetsuya Ishii, Samira Kiani, LaTasha Hoskins Lee, Guillaume Levrier, David R. Liu, Jeantine E. Lunshof, Kerry Lynn Macintosh, Debra J.H. Mathews, Eric M. Meslin, Peter H.R. Mills, Lluis Montoliu, Kiran Musunuru, Dianne Nicol, Helen O'Neill, Renzong Qiu, Robert Ranisch, Jacob S. Sherkow, Sheetal Soni, Sharon Terry, Eric Topol, Robert Williamson, Feng Zhang, and Kevin Davies. “Reactions to the National Academies/Royal Society Report on Heritable Human Genome Editing.” The CRISPR Journal 3, no. 5 (October 1, 2020): 332–49.

Nydal, Rune, Gaymon Bennett, Astrid Lægrid, Martin Kuiper “Silencing Trust: Confidence and Familiarity in Re-engineering Knowledge Infrastructures.” Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy (Springer, 2020)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. "The Transhumanist Pied Piers: A Jewish Caution against False Messianism," in Religious Transhumanism and Its Critics, ed. Arvin Gouw, Brian Patrick Green and Ted Peters, 183-214 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2022)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. "Human Flourishing in the Age of Technology," in Humanity, ed. Ingolf U. Dalferth and Raymond Perrier (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022), pp. 171–208.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. "Jewish Environmental Ethics for the Anthropocene: An Integrative Approach," in Kalman Bland Memorial Issue Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, 30 (no. 1) (2022): 363-388.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Nature, Book of, Judaism,” Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, vol. 20 (Berlin: De Guyter, 2022)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “The Paradoxes of Transhumanism: Technological Spirituality or Techno-Idolatry?” Theologische Literaruzeitung (Leipzig, Germany), March 2021

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Religion, Science, and Secularism,” in Bloomsbury Religion in North America, Theology an Religion Online, ed. Whitney Bauman and Lisa Stenmark (London: Bloomsbury Publishiing, 2021).

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. Review of David Seidenberg, Kabbalah and Ecology: The Image of God and the More-than-Human World (Cambridge, 2015), Worldviews; Global Relations, Culture and Ecology 25 (2021): 180-182. 

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Eliezer Schweid: A Zionist Prophet of Post-Secularism.” In Jewish Thought and Its Research: The Thought and Works of Eliezer Schweid, Vol. 2, edited by Yehoyada Amir and Joseph (Yossi) Turner, pp. 281-310. Jerusalem: Carmel. Hebrew edition, 2020.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. "Ethics of Care and Responsibility: Bridging Secular and Religious Cultures." In Environmental Ethics: Crosscultural Explorations, edited by Monika Kirlosak-Steinbach and Madalina Diaconou, pp. 29-57, Freiburg: Verlag Karl Alber, March 2020.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Human Flourishing and History: A Religious Imaginary for the Anthropocene," Journal of Philosophy of History, 14 (2020): 382-418 in special issue on Historical Thinking and the Human, ed. Zoltan Simon and Marek Tamm, (Brill).

Tirosh-Samuelson, HavaReligion and Environment: The Case of Judaism: Proceedings of the Goshen Conference on Religion and Science, 2016. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2020.

Zachary, G. Pascal. “Powerful Knowledge” review of Science and the State: From the Scientific Revolution to World War II by John Gascoigne in Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2020.

Zachary, G. Pascal. Book Review: The Technology Treadmill,” review of Ingenious: The Unintended Consequences of Human Innovation by Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2020: 69-71.

Bennett, Gaymon and Genovese, Taylor R. “Good/Evil: Anthropologies After Disenchantment.” Roundtable. 121st American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. Seattle, WA, November 10, 2022.

Bennett, Gaymon. “A Plague of Darkness: Pandemic, Policing, and Possession,” Annual meeting of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, October 2020

Bennett, Gaymon. “Authentic Madness: Technology, Soul and San Francisco.” St. Louis U research colloquium, October 2020

Bennett, Gaymon. “Pandemic and Possession: An Anthropology of Evil,” Annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, December 2020 

Bennett, Gaymon. “Biosecurity and Religion: Pandemic and Possession,” 5th Annual Arizona Biosecurity Workshop, December 2020.

Calhoun, Craig. “Immanuel Wallerstein’s Contributions to Social Science,” American Sociological Association, Los Angeles, CA, August 10, 2022.

Calhoun, Craig.Reversing the Degenerations of Democracy,” Clough Distinguished Lecture, Boston College, November 17, 2022.

Calhoun, Craig. “The Climate of History in a Planetary Age,” December 10, 2020.

Calhoun, Craig. “Polanyi’s Great Transformation and Transformations Today,” ISCTE Lisbon, November 2020.

Calhoun, Craig. “Simpósio 8 | Mundo Social e Pandemia.” BVPS, June 2020.

Calhoun, Craig. “Are Digital Futures Choice or Fate,” Keynote at launch of the Center for Digital Culture and Society, University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School, April 4, 2020,

Calhoun, Craig. “Human development as an individual, social and transformative process,”

Calhoun, Craig. “The Human in Human Rights,” LSE Human Rights Public Lecture, 3 October 2020,; Lecture 1 of 3; Lecture 2 on 11 May 2021.

Genovese, Taylor R. “Wandering Through the Land of Sunflowers and Steel: A Visual and Sonic Exploration of Ukraine on the Eve of War.” Society for Visual Anthropology Visual Research Conference. Seattle, WA. November 9, 2022.

Genovese, Taylor R. “Cryonic Assemblages: American Cosmism and the Commodification of Time.” Peredelkino House of Creativity, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Human Potential, Institute of Social Sciences, The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA/РАНХиГС). Moscow, Russia. October 14, 2022 (via Zoom).

Genovese, Taylor R. “Dark Cosmism: Contested Territories of the Counter-Human in (Extra)Planetary Philosophy.” Annual Conference of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, Philadelphia, PA, February 19, 2022.

Genovese, Taylor R. and Annie Hammang. “Panel: Troubling the Actor and Analyst in Ethnography,” American Anthropological Association, Baltimore, MD, November 17, 2021.

Genovese, Taylor R. “Russian Cosmists and Border Ghosts: Eclectic Anthropologies of Death and Memory.” American Anthropological Association, Baltimore, MD, November 17, 2021.

Genovese, Taylor R. “Cannibal Dialectics: Constructions of Memory and Progress Amid Soviet Ruins.” Techniques in the Making 2.0 Symposium, Center for Philosophical Technologies, November 10, 2021.

Hammang, Annie. “Contempt Ethics: Researcher Affect and Responsibility with San Francisco ‘Tech Bros.’” Annual Association for Anthropology Conference. Baltimore, MD. November 17, 2021. 

Hammang, Annie. “Consumptive Ethics of San Francisco Tech Gentrification.” Center for Philosophical Technologies Techniques in the Making 2.0 Symposium. November 10, 2021. 

Hammang, Annie. “Machineries of Re-enchantment in San Francisco Technology Cultures.” Graduate Student Research in Science and Technology Studies Conference. Boston, MA (Virtual). October 28, 2021.
Hammang, Annie. “’Emeryville is Weird:’ Cosmopolitics of Urban Renewal in San Francisco Bay Area’s Biotech Corridor.” Society for Social Studies of Science. August 18, 2020.

Hammang, Annie. “Blue Skies and Long Nows: The Future in Technomoral Reasoning of San Francisco Bay Area and Boston Startup Biotechnology” Science Democracy Network. August 13, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. Science, Technology and Law, Global Scholars Academy, Stellenbosch University 
and Institute for Global Law and Policy, Stellenbosch, South Africa, January 16, 2023.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Imperatives of Governance at the Frontiers of Life,” Department of Science and Technology Studies, Technical University of Munich. Munich, Germany, December 5, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Scientific Horizons and Ethical Limits of Gene and Cell Therapy” with Krishanu Saha (University of Wisconsin, Madison), American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy Professional Development Café, via Zoom, November 18, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Growing Up: Play, Progress and Biotechnologies of Maturation,” On Creation: Annual Conference of the De Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN, November 12, 2022

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. Making Progress, Science Technology and the Human Future, Harvard University, November 5, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Conditions of Participation,” Symposium on the Ethics of Participation in Health Research and Biopolitics. Hannover, Germany, November 3, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “A Critical Reflection on Media Coverage of SARS-CoV-2’s origin”, with Deborah Blum (MIT), Jon Cohen (Science), Jane Qiu (Independent), and Katherine Eban (Vanity Fair). New Horizons in Science, Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, ScienceWriters2022, Memphis, TN, November 2, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Governance at the Frontiers of Life,” 8th international conference on Stem Cell Engineering, Cambridge, MA, October 8, 2022

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Defensible Limits?” With Krishanu Saha and Sheila Jasanoff, Joint meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, Madison, WI, September 24, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “From Global to Cosmopolitan Governance”, How to Build Better Global Governance of Science: A US-China Dialogue, Biogovernance Commons Forum, via zoom, August 24, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Expertise, Trust and Democracy,” Harvard STS Summer School on Expertise, Trust and Democracy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, July 25, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. Science, Progress and Other Reasons, The Holberg Symposium: Expertise and Worldmaking, University of Bergen. Bergen, Norway, June 7, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Enlightened Limits?” In Search of Limits in the Age of Genome Editing, Harvard University, May 13, 2022.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. Discussant, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”: Towards Theory and Ethics in Society, Society for the Social Studies of Science, October 9, 2021

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. Harvard STS Graduate Summer School, co-organized, plus lectures: Introduction to the STS Lexicon; Genome editing and Bioethics, August 2, 2021 (200 + students from 5 continents)

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. Regulation as Governance? Heritable Human Genome Editing and the Politics of Ethical Judgment, Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics Annual Conference, June 10, 2021;

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. Faculty commentator, Disciplinary Encounters at the Crossroads of Law & STS, May 5, 2021

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. Covid Governance in Comparative Perspective, Thai Institute of Justice, Bangkok, Thailand (via zoom), March 24, 2021

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Constructing Common Ground: Biotechnology, Bioethics, and Public Deliberation.” ANSES International Symposium 2021: Credibility of Scientific Expertise, Paris, France (via WebEx), February 2, 2021.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Inevitable Progress: genome editing, sovereign science and the politics of the human future.” Program in Science, Technology and Society, Bar Ilan University, Israel (via zoom), January 17, 2021.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Taking Responsibility: Governing Research at the Edges of Human Life.” Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology, Kyoto University (via zoom), December 11, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “What Caused the Pandemic? Explaining Origins.” Southwest One Health Symposium. December 11, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “The Origins of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic,” Biosecurity, Biosafety and Bioethics Annual Conference, Society for Biological Engineering (virtual, via Zoom), December 4, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Technopopulism and Post-National Constitutionalism.” Commentary on Neil Walker “The Crisis of Constitutional Democracy in Pandemic Times,” Science and Democracy Lecture Series, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (via Zoom), November 10, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Breaking the Glass: Responsibility and Its Limits at the Frontiers of Genome Editing.” National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Lecture Series, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland (via WebEx), November 5, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin.Can’t Stop Progress: Inevitability as Authorization in the Politics of Human Genome Editing.” STS Circle, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (via zoom), November 2, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Genome Editing, Human Dignity and the Global Observatory Project.” Genome Editing and Human Dignity: Comparative Perspectives, Robert Bosch Academy, Berlin (via zoom), September 10-11, 2020.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin and Sheila Jasanoff. “Global Observatory for Gene Editing,” Presentation to the WHO Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Genome Editing, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland (via zoom), April 9, 2020.
Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “The Ethos and Ethics of Scientific Self-Regulation.” Arizona Biosecurity Workshop, ASU, December 6, 2019.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Rational Kernels and Religious Reasons: Governing Deliberation at the Frontiers of Biotechnology,” Symposium on Human Genome Editing, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY, November 20, 2019.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Imperatives of Governance: Pathways for Democratic Deliberation and the Global Observatory Project.” American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy Policy Summit: Ethical, Societal, and Policy Issues in Germline Gene Editing (co-panelist with Margaret Hamburg, NAS/WHO and Anne-Marie Mazza, NAS). Washington, D.C., November 6, 2019.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Sovereign Science, Laggard Law: Ethics, Deliberation and Governance at the Frontiers of Human Biology.” SFIS Unplugged. School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, October 31, 2019.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “The Global Observatory Project” CRISPR Consensus? public debate and the future of genome editing in human reproduction. Innovative Genomics Institute, UC Berkeley, October 26, 2019.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Guiding Conceptions: lessons for governance of heritable genome editing.” Kenneth J. Ryan Ethics Symposium: Ethics in Embryo Research: In Consideration of Patients, Progeny and Professional Norms (co-panelist with Feng Zhang, Broad Institute). American Society for Reproductive Medicine 2019 Scientific Congress, Philadelphia, PA, October 14, 2019.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “CRISPR conceptions: lessons for governance.” Cordell3: Ethics of Human Genome Editing. The Cordell Institute for Policy in Medicine and Law, Washington University in St. Louis. St. Louis, MO, October 11, 2019.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “CRISPR Conceptions: challenges of governance in heritable human genome editing.” Neuroscience Research Seminar, Biodesign, ASU, October 4, 2019.

Hurlbut, J. Benjamin. “Misguided conceptions: CRISPR Babies and the Human Future.” Emtech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, September 18, 2019.

Marquez, Schuyler. “Visualizing Vinyasa: Temporalities and Rhythms in Online Representations of Yogic Practice.” Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival March 19-28, 2021.McCrary, Charles. "Religious Freedom in the United States.” St. Louis University. November 5, 2020.

McCrary, Charles. “Christian Traits: Eugenics and the Inheritances of Religion.” American Society of Church History Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, PA. January 5-8, 2023.

McCrary, Charles. “Author-Meets-Critics: Charles McCrary, Sincerely Held: American Secularism and Its Believers.” American Society of Church History Annual Meeting. Philadelphia, PA. January 5-8, 2023.

McCrary, Charles. “When Rituals Don’t Feel Good: A Conversation on Dana Logan’s Awkward Rituals.” Roundtable participant. American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting. Denver, CO. November 2022.

McCrary, Charles. “Author-Meets-Critics: Charles McCrary, Sincerely Held: American Secularism and Its Believers.” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting. Denver, CO. November 2022.

McCrary, Charles. “Secularization in a 1920s Pro-Eugenics Polemic: ‘a millennium for the unfit would be a biological hell for the fit.’” Political Theology Network. April 9, 2022. 

McCrary, Charles. "Religion and Public Education" at University of Northern Iowa. October 22, 2020.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Speculative Technologies,” American Academy of Religion, November 20, 2022.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Holy Infrastructure: Ontologies of the Secular,” American Anthropological Association, November 10, 2022.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. "Holy Infrastructure: Technology in Korean Multisite Churches," University of Kansas: Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, April 26, 2022.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. "Holy Infrastructure." University of Mississippi: Department of Anthropology, April 12, 2022.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. "Media and Transnational Korean Christianity." Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Honolulu, Hawai'i, March 25, 2022 (online).

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. Skinship: Communion and Contagion in South Korea, Freie Universitat, Berlin, February 19, 2022, online.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Christianity in Korea,” University of Hawaii, February 15, 2022, online. 

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Global Christianity as a Method,” presentation and workshop at a field school operated by Korea University, February 7-12, 2022. 

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. Holy Infrastructure: Ontologies of the Secular in South Korea, American Academy of Religion, November 21, 2021.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. Skinship: Communion and Contagion in Yoido Full Gospel Church, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, November 18, 2021.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. "Panel: Religion in an Age of Information Technology," UC Berkeley, Social Science Matrix, November 2, 2021, online. 

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Skinship: Relationality and the Skin Microbiome,” Society for the Social Study of Science Conference, October 8, 2021, online. 

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Beyond Shincheonji: South Korean Megachurches during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” International Research Network for the Study of Science & Belief in Society, July 9, 2021. 

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. From Ethics to Politics: Performing Public Anthropology of Religion, Society for the Anthropology of Religion Biannual Conference, May 16, 2021.

Mellquist-Lehto, H., Genovese, T., Hammang, A., Marquez, S. “Noplace: An Introduction,” Roundtable. Society for the Anthropology of Religion Virtual Conference. May 14, 2021.

Mellquist Lehto, Heather. “Skinship: Communion and Contagion in South Korea.” American Academy of Religion. December 3, 2020.

Orospe Hernández, Mario. “Mining Rituals. From the Colonial Invention of Raw Materials to Tech Industry's Lithium Extraction, American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting, Denver, CO (November 2022)

Orospe Hernández, Mario. “Mining Rituals. From the Colonial Invention of Raw Materials to Tech Industry's Lithium Extraction," American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA (via Zoom, November 2022)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: A Post-Secular Political Theologian,” in “Rabbi, Professor, Lord: A Conference in Honour of Jonathan Sacks,” Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel (January 17-19, 2023).

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Jewish Environmetnalism and the Dialectic of Post- Secularism: Israel vs. Diaspora,” in “Religion and the Natural Environmetnal: Multiple Perspecitves: International Conference,” The Center for the Study of Conversion and Inter-Religious Encounters (CSoC), Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel (January 9-11, 2023).

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. (Participant) “Global Scientific Conference on Human Flourishing” (Nov. 29-30, 2022)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. (Panelist) “The Language and Politics of Science-Engaged Theology,” organized by Joanna Leidenhag, AAR Annual Conference (Nov. 20, 2022) Denver, CO. 

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Religious Pluralism and the Dialogue of Science and Religion,” World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, August 9, 2022.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Jewish Philosophy and the Critique of AI Technology,” World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, August 8, 2022. 

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Caring for Creation: A Judaic Approach,” Seminar Workshop on “Religious Communities and Sustainability: Ecological Perspectives on Religionus Practice,” Humboldt University, Berlin, June 25, 2022.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “On Friendship and Gender: Modernity, Secularization, and Philosophy,” International Conference on Practices of Friendship in History and Literature: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, (June 1-2, 2022)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Jewish Environmentalism in Retrospect: Assessment and Reflections,” Emory University (March 22, 2022)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Artificial Intelligence: Immortality or Immortality?” The Center for Ethics, Emory University (March 21, 2022)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Artificial Intelligence: Immortality or Immorality?” Emory University Center for Ethics (March 21, 2022.) 

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Judaism and Climate Change: Environmental Ethics and Social Activism,” 25th Annual Tenenbaum Family Lecture, The Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, Emory University (March 21, 2022)

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Ethics of Care in the Time of Pandemic,” Judaism and Ethics in Times of Crisis, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel, April 20, 2020, Online Conference.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Ludato Si’: The Cry of the Earth/The Cry of the Poor, Interfaith Power and Light, June 30, 2020.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. “Theology of the Earth Webinar, Hope of the Future,” UK Climate Charity, July 15, 2020.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. "Transhumanism from a Judaic Perspective," in a seminar on "Law, Halakha, and Ethics and the Challenges of AI," Hebrew University, Jerusalem Israel. December 31, 2020.

Zachary, G. Pascal. “Philosophical and Historical Approaches to Understanding Emerging Technologies,” SFIS Unplugged, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, September 19, 2019.


Virginia Tech Center for Humanities, November 2021, How are religious objections to and religious exemptions for vaccines redefining ethics as they blur the lines of religious, scientific and civic authority--and what is at stake in such moves?

Recovering Truth Podcast, November 2021, What is the role of science in a democracy? As the pandemic regains intensity in its second year, what are the stakes of the truth divide for the health of our nation?

Interviewed for NPR, May 2021, The International Society for Stem Cell Research released new guidelines permitting the study of embryos beyond the previous 14-day rule, raising questions about the ideals of progress and human life that govern guidelines for ethical scientific research. 

In Science, February 2021, Before despairing the loss of trust in science, we should be sure we are worrying about the right problem. Was "science" really on the ballot? Is it useful to imagine U.S. citizens as divided into pro-science and anti-science camps? Does the label anti-science serve the purposes of deliberative democracy? The answer is plainly no. A correct diagnosis is essential to repairing the sorry state of science-society relations in the United States. 

Article for The Wire, January 2021, A critical public discourse has emerged around the injustice of richer countries hoarding vaccines, leaving the rest with shortages. An important concern is how this vaccine nationalism builds on and intensifies long-term inequalities in the political economy of global health and how it interacts with a lack of public trust that contributes to vaccine hesitancy, raising significantethical questions for public health.

Report prepared for Futures Forum on Preparedness, January 2021, A central puzzle of COVID-19 is why some nations have so successfully contained the virus while others have failed. This comparative study of 23 nations looks at multilateral cooperation, leadership, public trust, testing and economic impact to explore pragmatic and ethical considerations for future public health policy.

Interviewed for Open Radio Source, March 2021, Biologists had learned before CRISPR how to read the coded map of genes that make you a one-of-a-kind human being. What CRISPR shows them is how to write the code, as well, and rewrite ours, for this lifetime and all of the generations following. But what should be changed, and why? Who decides which risks are worth taking, and how do they--or should they--come to those conclusions?

Op-ed for Religion and Politics, December 2020, What do the plaintiffs mean when they allege that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is both a cult and part of a larger religion called secular humanism? How did this line of thinking by the plaintiffs--that secular humanism is a religion and that it excludes by its racial inclusion--come to be possible in the public sphere?

Op-ed for Berkley Forum, December 2020, Is there a way to achieve a better politics of religious freedom and a more progressive role for religion in public life, after Trump and against the cultural and legal landscape he helped shape?

Interviewed for KJZZ The Show, October 2020, In every epidemic or pandemic the world has faced, there is a search for the so-called “patient zero.” From so-called “Typhoid Mary,” who was scorned for her supposed infectious state, to Gaétan Dugas, the flight attendant inaccurately blamed for starting the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, they are often unfairly vilified. What is the value of tracking a “patient zero?” And where does the drive to find one come from?

Interviewed for KBPS News, October 2020, Scientific research uses bodies to derive data, raising questions about whose bodies are exploited in scientific research and whose bodies most benefit from scientific research and medical innovations.

Religion & Society Religion & Society, September 2020, Our social and professional activities during this extended pandemic may be shot through with compromise and consolation (whenever is this not the case?) As Anand Pandian (2020) offered recently, "When the driving pressure of this moment begins to ebb, as it will, where might we find ourselves? What kind of anthropology will we have made possible?” When a vaccine emerges as our own  

Guest Series on Footnotes, June 2020, The guest series highlights the work of anthropologists who seek to unearth and transform academic practices that are entangled in hierarchical relationships, inviting scholars to reflect on how researchers may better embody the kinds of reciprocal relations they frequently theorize.

Op-ed in The Revealer, May 2020, "Tribalism" has been a handy framework for contemporary political discourse invoking racialized colonialist logics and reflecting the anxieties of a tenuously secular age.


How a Suburb of San Francisco Used Cottage Cheese toUnpoison Poisoned Land(add image)

Future Tense, Slate Magazine, April, 2021

Cleaning up a century’s worth of toxic waste is not straightforward, and that the process of environmental remediation can be strange and labyrinthine. So strange that in certain moments and from certain angles, like a team spraying cottage cheese into the ground in 2004, the science looks like it’s descending into witchcraft.

Inspiring Dialogues


Informal salons bring together unlikely dialogue partners around a provocative question or topic in unusual and inviting private spaces to foster safe, free-ranging exploratory discussions beyond the university with leading figures in science, technology, religion, and public life.

Coming soon in Fall 2022

Laid Bare: Vulnerabilities and Vitalities at the Nexus of Religion, Science and Technology

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis unlike any in recent memory. Yet even in this unprecedented time, covid-19 has contributed to a somewhat ironic outcome: it has laid bare cares, concerns, and contradictions that have long been present, re-establishing and re-framing everyday experiences and vulnerabilities intensified by the severity of our situation.

In this series of conversations, we bring together unusual pairings of guests from the world of science and religion, technology and public life to discuss the simple—but consequential—things of life that maybe didn’t get our shared attention, or not to the same degree, until the virus laid them bare.

Laid Bare, Episode I: Contagion & Community

As humans, we make meaning of our lives with other people and in the community, and yet during the pandemic, we must make meaning of a deadly and devastating virus in isolation from others. Exacerbating the isolation and frustration and grief that many face is the fact that those we might otherwise turn to for comfort might carry a contagion. How do we make sense of our own humanity at this intersection of contagion and community where we find so many human encounters, human needs, and human rituals--both sacred and mundane-under siege?


Lauren Gilger, Journalist & Host, NPR member station KJZZ


Ben Hurlbut, Associate Professor, ASU School of Life Sciences & Center forBiology and Society

Arnold Eisen, Chancellor & President of the Faculties; Professor of JewishThought, Jewish Theological Seminary

Laid Bare,Episode 2: Sacred Earth

The novel coronavirus continues to proliferate, causing much suffering and devastation,and other natural phenomena, including droughts, floods, storms and fires continue toset records, altering lives and landscapes. As necessary precautions have disrupted the rhythms of daily life and social support systems, they have also significantly benefited the natural world. This juxtaposition of environmental flourishing and human sufferingraises questions about humanity’s relations with the natural world.


Craig Calhoun,University Professor of Social Sciences at the School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures


Mary Evelyn Tucker,theco-director of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecologyat Yale University

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson,Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaismand director of the Center for Jewish Studies

Laid Bare, Episode 3: Surveillance, Eugenics, and Personhood

Taking “comorbidities” as an entryway, this discussion will focus on surveillance,eugenics, and personhood to raise questions about biopower, which considers howpeople’s everyday lives are governed, and necropolitics, which examines how the statedetermines who may live and who must die.


Craig Calhoun,University Professor of Social Sciences at the School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures.


Sylvester Johnson,professor in the Department of Religion and Culture atVirginia Tech; founding director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities; vice provost for the humanities at Virginia Tech; and executive director of theuniversity’s Tech for Humanity initiative

Charles McCrary, postdoctoral scholar at the Center for the Study of Religionand Conflict at ASU.

Pilot Project Salons

Monster Stories

Fall 2018

Marking the 200th anniversary of the publication ofFrankenstein, the discussionfocused on two questions that sit at the heart of Shelley’s novel and that remain centralto matters of science, law and ethics two centuries later:What makes amonster?andWho is responsible for its creation and consequences?Participants wereinvited to tell “monster stories” from their professional experiences, fostering a richdiscussion of responsibility, virtue, hubris and humility in a variety of science and technology domains.

Digital Immortality

Fall 2018

Participants engaged in rich and free-ranging discussions of Digital Immortality—fromwho owns brain scans of the dead, to whetherwe can engineer collective intelligence,to the ways DI may disrupt received notions of life and death.


April 27, 2023Logos, Culture, and the CommonsAkeel BilgramiVideo
February 23, 2023Religion/Science: A Devolved ManifestoJohn ModernVideo
October 27, 2021Remaking the Human: Technoscience, Dignity, and the Meaning of ProgressDr. Anya BernsteinDr. Patricia WilliamsDr. Antonio DamasioVideo
April 20, 2021Laid Bare: Surveillance, Eugenics and PersonhoodSylvester JohnsonCharles McCraryVideo
April 6, 2021Science, Religion, and Society: Lessons from the U.S. CaseAndrew JewettVideo
March 23, 2021“Opening a Star Gate to the Dark Gods”: Psychic Espionage, Satanic “Cults,” & Occult Nazis on the Dark Web  
January 27, 2021Laid Bare: Sacred EarthMary Evelyn TuckerHava Tirosh-SamuelsonVideo
October 27, 2020Pandemic Re-Attunement: Thinking with and Acting with Planetary TimesWhitney BaumanVideo
October 6, 2020Fragile Earth and the Sacred: From Rachel Carson to Earth 2.0Lisa SiderisVideo
June 11, 2020Laid Bare: Contagion and CommunityArnold EisenVideo


This project is made possible in partnership  with the Templeton Religion Trust. 

The Templeton Religion Trust, along with the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton World Charity Foundation, was founded by Sir John Templeton with the aim of fulfilling his vision “to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality."