The disruption and suffering caused by the novel coronavirus seem unprecedented, but pandemics are not new to human experience. Throughout history, disease, disaster, catastrophe, and chaos have shaped human society and culture in profound ways.
Religions in particular have shaped and been shaped by our experiences of illness, isolation, uncertainty, and loss. They provide crucial perspectives, wisdom, and practices that enable communities both to endure crises like the current pandemic and, by working together, to emerge from them.
In that spirit, we hope you will join us Sunday, June 7, through Thursday, June 11, for “Religious Resources for Living Through Crisis,” a new, virtual seminar that looks at religion across time and place to mine answers to today’s most pressing questions.
We will start with a short introductory session on Sunday night. Monday through Thursday will consist of half-day sessions where some of Harvard’s leading scholars will lead you through an exploration of the ways the spiritual, moral, and historical lessons of the world’s religions can help us both to understand our global predicament and to create new ways of responding to it. These faculty include:
- Professor Matthew Potts, who will discuss how Julian of Norwich’s revelations, composed during the Black Death in Europe, manage to generate hope in the midst of suffering. (Featuring Matt: Christianity, Race, and Mass Incarceration)
- Professor Janet Gyatso, who will consider the twelfth century meditation Hojoki, written in the wake of famine, earthquake, and conflagration in Kyoto, to explore the ways the Buddhist tradition might inform our response to crises. (Featuring Janet: Attending to Animals)
- Professor Davíd Carrasco, who will uncover the ways in which the colonial encounter in Mexico and the "Ten Plagues" it occasioned resulted in a demographic catastrophe and the Mexican Days of the Dead. (Featuring Davíd: Picturing a New Human Family)
- Professor Stephanie Paulsell, who will help us explore solitude as a purposeful practice of reorientation to our own lives and the life of the world. (Featuring Stephanie: Religion in a Time of Pandemic)
The engaging lectures will be followed by small facilitated breakout sessions where students discuss what they heard and reflect on what it means to them personally. Optional spiritual practices will be offered before we start the day. These practices may range from buddhist meditation, centering prayer, and yoga.The entire program will be presented via the Zoom platform.
At a time when the earth seems to be shifting beneath us, ground yourself in the history of human survival and in the timeless insights of the world’s religious traditions.
View the program schedule (PDF)!
- Email us
- Call to schedule a chat with Alison Harvey, program manager: 617.998.5384