2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion



The 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) will be held November 18-21, 2017 in Boston, MA. While the Mormon Transhumanist Association will not be officially participating in the event, it is noteworthy that the meeting will have sessions related to transhumanism and human enhancement. We encourage all to consider attending.

Highlights include:

1. The question of human germline gene editing and its potential for human enhancement will be explored at a session on Friday, Nov 17, from 2:30 to 5:00. Speakers include MIT Professor Richard O. Hynes, who co-chairs a committee of the National Academy of Sciences charged with exploring the ethical and legal challenges of human germline modification, especially in light of CRISPR and other new gene editing technologies. Others on the panel include Laurie Zoloth, Dean of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and 2014 Past President of the AAR. This event is open to the public without registration and will be held at the Sheraton Boston, Republic B (second level). This session is sponsored by the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR). More details can be found at https://papers.aarweb.org/program_book?keys=CRISPR&field_session_slot_nid=All

2. The Human Enhancement and Transhumanism Unit of the AAR offers two events in 2017. On Saturday, Nov 18, the Unit offers a session on “Barbies, Bots, and Mere Mortals: Images of God?” The session runs from 1:00 to 3:30 in Sheraton Boston-Back Bay B (Second Level). For more, see https://papers.aarweb.org/program_book?keys=Barbies&field_session_slot_nid=All. Then on Monday, with the joint sponsorship of the Religion and Science Fiction Unit, a session entitled “Religion, Science Fiction, and Transhumanism” will be held in the Hynes Convention Center-202 (Second Level) from 1:00 to 3:30. See https://papers.aarweb.org/program_book?keys=gittinger&field_session_slot_nid=All.

3. A session on “Human Enhancement: Biological Frameworks and Cyborg Theologies,” under the sponsorship of the ISSR, will be held on Saturday, 4:00-5:30, in Fairmont Copley Place-State Suite A (Lower Lobby Level). This session features two authors and their new books, Harris Wiseman’s The Myth of the Moral Brain (2016) and Scott Midson’s Cyborg Theology: Humans, Technology and God (2017), with a response by Jennifer Thweatt. See https://papers.aarweb.org/program_book?keys=m18-306&field_session_slot_nid=All

SCHEDULE OVERVIEW:


Friday, 2:30-5:00, “CRISPR/Cas and Human Germline Gene Editing.” Sheraton Boston-Republic B (second level).

Saturday, 1:00-3:30, “Barbies, Bots, and Mere Mortals: Image of God?” Sheraton Boston-Back Bay B (second level).

Saturday, 4:00-5:30, “Human Enhancement: Biological Frameworks and Cyborg Theologies.” Fairmont Copley Place-State Suite A (Lower Lobby Level).

Monday, 1:00-3:30, “Religion, Science Fiction, and Transhumanism.” Hynes Convention Center-202.

Additional information about the 2017 Annual Meetings and the AAR can be found here.

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