SAMPLE: Public Theologies of Technology and Presence

The Public Theologies of Technology and Presence program gathers and funds a cohort of leading scholars of religion, theologians, and journalists for their work addressing a pressing concern of contemporary life: The ways in which technologies reshape human relationships and alter how people are or are not “present” with each other. The three-year program launched in 2018 and is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Over recent decades and continuing at warp speed, new technologies are radically reshaping human relationships. These shifts have profound implications both for individuals and for the webs of relationships in which they participate. Scholars of religion and theologians, from across the traditions, are ideally situated to address this issue of great public concern. Public Theologies of Technology and Presence supports this work through an ambitious agenda of research projects, conferences, popular and scholarly publishing, active engagements with Silicon Valley technologists, the development of models for integrating the subject into university and theological institution curricula, the publication of a digital forum, white papers, and public talks.

The grantees’ research and publication projects draw on the study and practice of many different religions—Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Africana religions, among others—to address cutting-edge technologies such as cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, human augmentation, surveillance technologies, video games, and social media. The projects offer new and exciting insights into technologies’ impacts on human relationships, including on friendships, introspective abilities, sexual relationships, moral attentions, and capacities for relational authenticity.

Address inquiries to Program Director Dr. Steven Barrie-Anthony: stevenba@shin-ibs.edu, (510) 500-9722.

1930s

1949

1966

1968

1969

1985

1986

1988

1994

2006

2008

2016

2017

1930s

Training programs for English-speaking ministers are established in Kyoto, Japan, and the United States.

1949

The Buddhist Study Center is established at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple. Within a decade, this program becomes the official ministerial training center for North American Shin Buddhists.

1966

The Buddhist Study Center relocates to the Haste Street dormitory and begins expanding its educational programs.

1968

Rev. Haruyoshi Kusada appointed Executive Director and begins laying the foundation for the graduate program.

1969

The Berkeley Study Center incorporates as the Institute of Buddhist Studies and registers with the State of California as a seminary and graduate school.

1985

IBS affiliates with the Graduate Theological Union, the largest and most diverse consortium of divinity and religious studies schools in the country.

1986

Dr. Alfred Bloom, a noted Shin Buddhist scholar, is appointed Dean and Head Professor.

Pictured here receiving the President’s award in 2016. The President’s Award recognizes an individual’s support for the Institute since its founding in 1949.

1988

IBS relocates its headquarters in Berkeley. The new headquarters are subsequently damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, forcing IBS to move its headquarters once again.

1994

Dr. Richard K. Payne succeeds Dr. Bloom as Dean of the Institute.

2006

The Jodo Shinshu Center is opened in Berkeley; IBS joins the BCA, Ryukoku University, and the Center for Buddhist Education as tenants in the new facility.

2008

IBS begins offering an educational program for Buddhist chaplains and further expands its programs and faculty.

2016

Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto and Dr. Scott Mitchell are appointed President and Dean of IBS.

2017

IBS awarded candidacy by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.