In this Book

Deus in Machina
summary
The essays in this volume explore how two domains of human experience and action--religion and technology--are implicated in each other. Contrary to commonsense understandings of both religion (as an "otherworldly" orientation) and technology (as the name for tools, techniques, and expert knowledges oriented to "this" world), the contributors to this volume challenge the grounds on which this division has been erected in the first place. What sorts of things come to light when one allows religion and technology to mingle freely? In an effort to answer that question, Deus in Machina embarks upon an interdisciplinary voyage across diverse traditions and contexts where religion and technology meet: from the design of clocks in medieval Christian Europe, to the healing power of prayer in premodern Buddhist Japan, to 19th-century Spiritualist devices for communicating with the dead, to Islamic debates about kidney dialysis in contemporary Egypt, to the work of disability activists using documentary film to reimagine Jewish kinship, to the representation of Haitian Vodou on the Internet, among other case studies. Combining rich historical and ethnographic detail with extended theoretical reflection, Deus in Machina outlines new directions for the study of religion and/as technology that will resonate across the human sciences, including religious studies, science and technology studies, communication studies, history, anthropology, and philosophy.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-22
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  1. Equipment
  2. p. 23
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  1. Calendar, Clock, Tower
  2. pp. 25-42
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  1. Ticking Clock, Vibrating String
  2. pp. 43-60
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  1. The Electric Touch Machine Miracle Scam
  2. pp. 61-82
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  1. The Spiritual Nervous System
  2. pp. 83-114
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  1. Bio-Power
  2. p. 115
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  1. An Empowered World
  2. pp. 117-142
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  1. Does Submission to God’s Will PrecludeBiotechnological Intervention?
  2. pp. 143-158
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  1. The Canary in the Gemeinschaft?
  2. pp. 159-180
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  1. (Re)Locating Religion in a Technological Age
  2. p. 181
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  1. Thinking about Melville, Religion,and Machines That Think
  2. pp. 183-212
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  1. Amazing Stories
  2. pp. 213-238
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  1. Virtual Vodou, Actual Practice
  2. pp. 239-260
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  1. TV St. Claire
  2. pp. 261-280
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 281-352
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 353-354
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