Department : Religious Studies
Email : email@example.com
Phone : 718-862-7402
Office : MGL 418
Ph.D., Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara
M.A., Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara
B.A., Plan II Honors in Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin
I'm Texan, but living, teaching, and writing in New York City. I'm pretty sure that everyone loves robots, which is why I've written a book about them. People love games too, so I wrote another book. I'm also interested in the toadstool circles, the ancient temples, the soaring cathedrals of our religious imagination. Likewise, the dark tunnels of mining and rapid transit. I visit mountains, deserts, temples, laboratories, factories, virtual realities...the places where magic enters the world.
I study the ways in which technology is a meaning-making enterprise, a reconfiguration of the world to enchant it and make it purposive. My general interests include religious studies, the history of science, anthropology of science, literature, and Christian history.
My past research focused upon the relationship between artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and religion (primarily the Singularity, mind uploading, & sentient machines, but also Shinto and Buddhist ideas as they relate to the development of Japanese robotics). In those studies, I wrote a book that was published by Oxford University Press and then moved on to the study of virtual worlds and video games. That research resulted in a National Science Foundation grant and a new book published by Oxford.
In 2012-13, I was a Visiting Scholar at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, funded by a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Award. Thanks to that research, I am working on a book about religion and culture in Indian science and technology.
Publications & Professional Activities
- 2014. Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life. New York: Oxford University Press.
- 2010. Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Forthcoming. "Saffron Glasses: Indian Nationalism and the Enchantment of Technology." In Technology and Religion in Historical and Contemporary South Asia (ed. Knut Jacobsen).
- Forthcoming. "A Tale of Two Futures: Techno-eschatology in the U.S. and India." Social Compass 63(3).
- 2014. "A Novel Society: Science Fiction Novels as Religious Actors." Implicit Religion 17(4): 417-431.
- 2014. with Nat Recine. "Enlightening the Galaxy: How Players Perceive Political Philosophy in Star Wars: The Old Republic." Games & Culture 9(4): 255-276.
- 2013. with Jovi L. Geraci. "Virtual Gender: How Men and Women Use Videogame Bodies." Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds 5(3): 329-348.
- 2013. “A Virtual Assembly: Constructing Religion Out of Zeroes and Ones.” In The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality (ed. Mark Grimshaw), pp. 323-336. New York: Oxford University Press.
- 2012. "Video Gaming and the Transhuman Inclination." Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 47(4): 735-756.
- 2012. "Theological Productions: The Role of Religion in Video Game Design." In Cultural Perspectives of Video Games: From Designer to Player (eds. Adalm L. Brackin and Natacha Guyot), pp. 101-114. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.
- 2011. "Cyborgs, Robots, and Eternal Avatars: Transhumanist Salvation at the Interface of Brains and Machines." In The Routledge Companion to Religion and Science (eds. Haag, Peterson, and Spezio), pp. 578-90. New York: Routledge.
- 2011. "There and Back Again: Transhumanist Evangelism in Science Fiction and Popular Science." Implicit Religion 14(2): 141-172.
- 2011. "Martial Bliss: War and Peace in Popular Science Robotics." Philosophy and Technology 24(3): 339-354.
- 2010. "Science." In Religion in the Practice of Daily Life vol 3. (eds. Hecht and Biondo), pp. 703-740. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press
- 2010. "Popular Appeal of Apocalyptic AI." Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 45(4): 1003-1020.
- 2008. “Apocalyptic AI: Religion and the Promise of Artificial Intelligence.” The Journal of the American Academy of Religion 76(1): 138-166.
- 2007. “Robots and the Sacred in Science and Science Fiction: Theological Implications of Artificial Intelligence.” Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 42(4): 961-980.
- 2007. "Cultural Prestige: Popular Science Publications as Religion-Science Hybrids." In Reconfigurations: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Religion in a Post-Secular Societ (eds. Alexander D. Ornella and Stefanie Knauss), pp. 43-58. LIT Press.
- 2006. "Spiritual Robots: Religion and Our Scientific View of the Natural World." Theology and Science 4(3): 229-246.
- 2005. "Signaling Static: Artistic, Religious and Scientific Truths in a Relational Ontology." Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 40(4): 953-974.
- 2002. "Laboratory Ritual: Experimentation and the Advancement of Science." Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 37(4): 891-908.
Honors & Awards
Honors & Awards
- Visiting Scholar, Indian Institute of Science (Dec 2012-Apr 2013)
- William A. Coolidge Scholar, Association for Religion and Intellectual Life (Summer 2010)
- Guest editor, Masaryk Journal of Law and Technology 3:1. Special edition on religion and technology (2009)
- Visiting Researcher, Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute (summer 2007)
- American Academy of Religion Collaborative Research Grant (2016)
- Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Award (2012-2013)
- Virtually Meaningful: The Power and Presence of Meaning in Virtual Worlds (National Science Foundation EAGER grant, 2011-2013)
- International Society of Science and Religion Library Grant (2011)
- RELS 110 Nature and Experience of Religion
- RELS 366 Religion and Contemporary Art
- RELS 372 Religion and Science
- RELS 375 Religion and the Body
- RELS 400 Special Topics: Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Religion
- RELS 470 Religious Studies Seminar (Robots, Religion, and Ethics)
- RELS 470 Religious Studies Seminar (Religion and the Internet)
- RELS 470 Religious Studies Seminar (Religious Transhumanism)
- RELS 480 Independent Study in Religious Studies
- RELS 481 Honors Thesis in Religious Studies