Recent and upcoming events:
Pamplona, Spain. 4 Oct. 2016 Presentation on Religion and Film at the Institute for Culture and Society, University of Navarra.
New York City. 27 Oct. The Duffy Conversations at the Center on Religion and Culture, Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus.
Madrid, Spain. 11 Nov. Lecture Religious Objects at Universidad Complutense.
Houston, TX. 17-18 Nov. Lecture and workshop on "Sacred Objects, Sensual Objects, Healing Objects" at the University of Texas Medical Center, Institute for Spirituality and Health.
San Antonio, TX. 19-22 Nov. Participant in several sessions at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting, including the Religion and the Arts award given to Shahzia Sikander.
Madrid, Spain. 23 Jan. 2017 – Guest lecture on social documentary film in the MA program in Cine, Televisión y Medios Interactivos at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.
Berlin, Germany. 9-19 Feb. Juror for the Ecumenical Award at the 67th Berlinale.
Salisbury, England. 19-21 May. Delivering the "Edward Bailey" Lecture at the Implicit Religion conference.
Madrid, Spain. 12 July. Presentation on religious objects of Madrid for Stanford University in Spain program.
Seoul, Korea. 13-14 Oct. – Presentations at "Books as Sacred Beings" conference, Seoul National University.
Boston, MA. 17-21 Nov. – Presentations at American Academy of Religion annual meeting.
Iona, Scotland. 8-14 July. – Week session on "Healing the Senses, Healing the Soul" at the Iona Community
I'm a writer, public speaker, editor, and college professor. My work starts with a basic question: What does it mean to be human? For me, this question is inseparable from the question: What makes humans religious?
Based on my experiences traveling and talking with people, observing and reading, parenting and partnering, my conclusions about human life come back to the central role of simple physical experiences: eating bread together, looking at images, smelling spices, listening to music, and touching other bodies. These are all sensually symbolic, meaningful activities that engage communities of people, providing order and values for living and, more often than not, a little disorder.
Far from ideological arguments that pit theism against atheism, or science against faith, my writings and teachings show how religion is born of the body. I'm thoroughly undiscplined, reading around in cultural anthropology & creative nonfiction, art history & cognitive science, evolutionary biology & film studies, though I tend to graze most often in the field of religious studies.
I have conducted research and given lectures around the world, published more than a dozen books and over a hundred articles and essays, and taught at the Universities of Vermont and Colorado, Texas Christian University, and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Currently, I live in Madrid, Spain, and hold a visiting position at Hamilton College in New York.
Along the way, I've spent time at an ashram in Vrindavan, India, the Taizé community in France, an evangelical Christian retreat center in the mountains of Southern California, a Vietnamese Buddhist monastery in the Catskills, a two-week intensive seminar on Japanese gardens in Kyoto, and a four-week Fulbright seminar on visual culture in Germany. In the winter of 2016 I walked 750-kilometers of the Camino de Santiago.
Browse the other pages from this site to find out more.