Transhumanism and Religion Group (American Academy of Religion annual meeting in Baltimore)

Dates: November 23 – 26, 2013
Location: Baltimore, Maryland

This Group welcomes papers on any aspect of transhumanism and religion and seeks perspectives from a variety of religious traditions. We encourage feminist analyses and more overtly philosophical critiques of posthuman discourse and we encourage original research. Papers may identify and critically evaluate any implicit religious beliefs, practices, and values that might underlie key transhumanist claims, goals, values, and assumptions. For example, are there operative notions of anthropology, soteriology, ethics, and eschatology at play in transhumanist quests? Papers might consider how transhumanism challenges religious traditions to develop their own ideas of the human future; in particular, the prospect of human transformation, whether by technological or other means. Papers may provide critical and constructive assessments of an envisioned future that place greater confidence in nanotechnology, robotics, and information technology to achieve virtual immortality and create a superior posthuman species.

American Academy Of Religion Transhumanism And Religion Group Mission Statement
“Transhumanism” or “human enhancement” refers to an intellectual and cultural movement that advocates the use of a variety of emerging technologies. The convergence of these technologies may make it possible to take control of human evolution, providing for the enhancement of human mental and physical abilities deemed desirable and the amelioration of aspects of the human condition regarded as undesirable. These enhancements include the radical extension of healthy human life. If these enhancements become widely available, it would arguably have a more radical impact than any other development in human history — one need only reflect briefly on the economic, political, and social implications of some of the extreme enhancement possibilities. The implications for religion and the religious dimensions of human enhancement technologies are enormous and are addressed in our Group. We are interested in encouraging and providing a forum for a broad array of input from scholars, including Asian and feminist perspectives.