Academic Lectures and Discussions

Writing and the Art of Attention

Video: Writing and the Art of Attention

September 12, 2018

Religious traditions insist on the importance of cultivating our faculty of attention, whether it be attention to ourselves, others, our environment, or the presence of the divine in any of these three. This panel will explore whether and how the practice of writing, especially fiction writing, helps us cultivate this art of attention. What is it about writing, and the imagination and patience required, that helps us learn how better to attend?

Federica D'Alessandra

Sustaining Peace: The Role of Ethics, Law, and Policy

April 24, 2018

On May 3, the RPP Colloquium dinner series hosted by Religions and the Practice of Peace (RPP) will feature lifelong peace advocate Benjamin B. Ferencz, JD '43 Harvard Law School (HLS), the lead prosecutor and last living prosecutor of the Nüremberg Military Trials. Ahead of this special event, Federica D'Alessandra, Harvard Divinity School (HDS) fellow and RPP adviser, discussed her work with Ferencz and the urgent need to uphold international law and human rights norms in our era.... Read more about Sustaining Peace: The Role of Ethics, Law, and Policy


Video: The Future of "Spiritual, But Not Religious"

April 13, 2018

“I am spiritual but not religious.” We have all heard this phrase. But, where did this expression come from? What does it mean today? And what may it mean tomorrow? This panel explores these questions, clarify surrounding scholarship, and forwards the conversation. Panelists include Charles M. Stang, Robert C. Fuller, Linda A. Mercadante, and Jeffrey Kripal.


Video: The Liturgy of Home: Terry Tempest Williams

April 12, 2018

Terry Tempest Williams, the 2017–18 Writer-in-Residence at Harvard Divinity School, delivers the 2018 Ingersoll Lecture.

She has been called "a citizen writer," a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A conservationist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. "So here is my question," she asks, "what might a different kind of power look like, feel like, and can power be redistributed equitably even beyond our...

Read more about Video: The Liturgy of Home: Terry Tempest Williams
Francisca Cho

Video: Ritual Apparitions and a Buddhist Theory of Film

April 2, 2018

Francisca Cho proposes that Buddhist epistemic frameworks regarding the nature of ritual apparitions offer an account of the religious possibilities of film that is absent in Western phenomenological conversations on the same topic.


Video: The Spacetime of Dreams

March 5, 2018

This talk examines the higher-dimensional time theories of the British aviator and writer John Dunne. Dunne developed a theory of time in which human beings transcended time and space in dreams. His views reverberated throughout popular culture in Europe and America, inspiring writers—including the British broadcaster and novelist J.B. Priestley, H.G. Wells, and Christian writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis—seeking ways of transcending the terrors of the world wars or triumphing over suffering and death.

Robert Jones, founder of PRRI. Photo by Jonathan Beasley/HDS

Worry in White, Christian America

February 26, 2018

Robert Jones, the founder and CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, characterized white, Christian America as representing centuries of cultural, political, and economic domination. Over the last couple of decades, however, demographics and culture have shifted dramatically, he said during a conversation at HDS with journalist and political analyst E.J. Dionne.