Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mellon Seminar

The semester is a week advanced and this year I am facilitating a Mellon Seminar. The topic? Mapping Death: Religious Preparations for the Afterlife Journey. The Seminar consists of myself, five graduate students from various departments (Religious Studies, French Studies, and Anthropology) and a webmaster. We are in the process of developing a webpage for the Seminar, so if you are interested you can track our progress.

Each student has an individual research project to work on, and then we are collaborating in terms of method and theory, sharing our approaches with each other. It is an exciting seminar and I am so pleased to be part of it. My own individual research project involves mapping ancient Gnostic metaphysics and praxis.

Here is a short description of the seminar:
This is a collaborative research seminar consisting of fellows working on cross-culturally mapping death journeys and religious preparations for them in order to investigate the relationship between the anticipated afterlife journey and the group's metaphysics and praxis. The fellows will be engaged in the creation and cultivation of a rich interdisciplinary approach to the comparative study of traditions, a 'new' history-of-traditions approach that is conscious of the historical contexture of traditions, their referentiality, confluence, communal generation and conveyance, responsiveness, changeability, accumulative nature, and variability in transmission. Members will be working on individual research projects related to the seminar's mission and their dissertations. At the end of the year, they will present their final projects in a roundtable symposium that also will feature invited papers from three external scholars who will visit the seminar at various sessions during the Spring semester. The papers from the symposium will be edited for publication in a volume.


Jim Deardorff said...

I hope you don't overlook preparation for the afterlife in the modern sense. That consists of becoming well acquainted with the evidence of individuals' past lives. This includes the thousands of childhood "cases of the reincarnation type" as well as numerous books by MDs and PhDs on the favorable results from hypno-therapy through pastlife regressions. Although this lends very strong support to the reincarnation aspect of Hunduism, it lends little or none to its belief in transmigration to lower animals.

David Larsen said...
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David Larsen said...

Professor DeConick,
I will be watching the progress on this seminar with great anticipation. It's a wonderfully interesting topic and I'm excited to see what your group comes up with!