March 6, US Conference, The Psychology of Religion/The Religion of Psychology

March 6, 2015
9:00 amto5:00 pm

On Friday, March 6th, 2015, the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Martin Marty Center will host The Psychology of Religion/The Religion of Psychology, a conference exploring the relation between the two problem children of modernity.

Both to the discomfort and excitement of psychologists, scholars of religion, and religious practitioners, the overlap between the histories of psychology and religion is rather significant.  Like philosophy, psychology was once pegged, in the words of Frank E. Manuel, as the “newest handmaiden of true religion.”  However, with the emergence of new experimental methods in the late nineteenth century and of psychoanalysis (an inherently anti-religious discipline, according to its founder) in the early twentieth, psychology attempted to distance itself from religion, though with mixed results.  Although psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals today understand their respective disciplines to have grown increasingly scientific and thus less “religious,” the various ways in which psychology and religion were interrelated in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries could be used to tell a different story.

The conference will be keynoted by a roundtable discussion between:

  • Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor in the Anthropology Department at Stanford University, and author of Of Two Minds (2000) and When God Talks Back (2012).
  • Jonathan Lear, John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor at the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, and author of Freud (2005), Radical Hope (2006), and A Case for Irony (2011).
  • Jeffrey Kripal. J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Studies at Rice University, and author of Authors of the Impossible (2010), Mutants and Mystics (2011), and Comparing Religions (2013).
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