A joint presentation of PhD research by Erin Prophet and Linda Ceriello, recent graduates of Rice University. The event is free and open to the public.
Evolution, Sex, and Self-Transcendence
How did “evolution” become associated with self-improvement and transcendence? The association was first made during the nineteenth century immediately after the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. Learn how this narrative developed and how evolution as self-improvement became a secularized way to talk about salvation. Meet the thinkers who shaped the discourse, including Alfred Russel Wallace, Helena Blavatsky, and Frederic W.H. Myers. Find out the different ways evolutionary thinkers thought about sex, and how evolution became associated with healing, therapy and the development of psychic talents.
Metamodern Mysticisms: Narrative Encounters with Contemporary Western Secular Spiritualities
Linda C. Ceriello
Have you noticed that it seems “normal” to be an oddball lately? That there is a certain cultural valuing of unusual experiences and of the “weird?” At the same time, popular culture shows us more portrayals of the mystical and supernatural than ever, and ordinary people as well as celebrities admit more freely to having spiritual experiences. My doctoral work addresses spirituality and the normalizing of the non-normal. I apply a framework of “metamodernism” to explain the rise of rogue spiritual movements such as the spiritual-but-not-religious and the cultural shifts of the “millennial period,” with its preferencing of this-worldly concerns over transcendence, and the framing of the awesome as ordinary and vice versa.