Public Theologies of Technology and Presence is a new program, launching in fall 2018, that will gather a cohort of scholars of religion, theologians, and journalists to powerfully address a central concern of contemporary life: The ways in which technologies reshape human relationships and alter how people are or are not “present” with each other. This three-year program is funded by a $475,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. (See below for the requests for proposals for scholars/theologians, and journalists. Proposals are due by May 7, 2018.)
Over the past several decades technologies have radically reworked interpersonal presence. This is true across the full gambit of human interaction; wherever and however a person might come into contact with another person, new technologies are continually emerging that shape and host, that facilitate and block, these forms of contact. These shifts in presence have profound implications both for individuals and for the webs of relationships—local communities, broader publics—in which they participate.
Scholars of religion, theologians, and their institutions are ideally situated to provide insight, direction, and training on this issue of great public concern. But few are doing so. Public Theologies of Technology and Presence seeks to fill this vacuum, marshaling public theology, broadly construed, as a key framework through which to analyze and address issues of technology and presence.
Grantees will receive research grants in the amount of $10,000 each to support their projects on technology and presence as public theology. The program will facilitate an ambitious agenda of research; popular and scholarly publishing; regular in-person meetings; active engagements with Silicon Valley technologists; the development of pedagogical models for integrating the subject into university and theological institution curricula; the development of an innovative digital forum; White Papers; and public talks.
Applications are welcome from scholars in all academic disciplines with specializations in all religious traditions, and from theologians from all religious traditions, including traditions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and so forth that are underrepresented in theological study. As such, the grantee cohort will be diversely oriented as to what “theology” and “public theology” mean and entail, including moving beyond traditional definitions.
Applications are also welcome from professional journalists who are interested in covering, in profound and innovative ways, the impacts of technologies on human relationships; and who are interested in engaging on the subject with scholars of religion and theologian colleagues from diverse traditions.
The request for proposals for scholars of religion and theologians is available here.
The request for proposals for journalists is available here.
The deadline for submission of application materials is May 7, 2018.
Please address any questions about the program or the application process to Program Director Dr. Steven Barrie-Anthony: firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 500-9722.