This coming Thursday and Friday the Society for Philosophy and Religion at Claremont (SPARC) will be holding its second annual student conference “Live Options in the Study of Religion” in Claremont, California. If you look at the schedule below and click on the links to read the papers (not all are available because some are currently under review for publication elsewhere) you will notice that we have an odd smorgasbord of topics represented. That is the point. We want this to be a new sort of conference that brings different approaches to learning about religion together in creative tension. Getting graduate degrees too often means ignoring a breadth of interesting work being done in other areas of research. We are going to fix that problem, or at least try. Anyone interested in the dialogue between religion and science should also note that the first day of the conference is devoted to that topic.

The conference is free and open to the public, so everyone is encouraged to attend. For out-of-towners, stay tuned for information about videos of the conference that will be put online after the event.

Thursday, March 25th – Albrecht Auditorium, Claremont Graduate University


Welcome and Introduction

Benjamin J. Chicka, President of SPARC


Putting God Under the Microscope: Can There Be a Science of Spirituality?

Eric Kyle, Claremont School of Theology

Why We Fight: Evolutionary Reconceptualizations of Pierre Bourdieu’s Political Economy of Symbolic Power

Kevin McGinnis, Claremont Graduate University


The Place of Religion in Philosophy of Science: An Exploration and Assessment

Jim Sharp, Claremont Graduate University

Indigenous Religions and Science: New Conversations, Same Miscommunication

David Walsh, Arizona State University


Cantor’s Transfinites and Divine Infinity

Fady El Chidiac, S.J.

Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University

Lesbianism and Islamic Law: Examining the Boundary Between Love and Legality

Catherine Mary Lafuente, Claremont Graduate University

Friday, March 26th – Burkle 14, Claremont Graduate University Drucker School



What Has the Enlightenment to Do with the Reformation? Religion as Revealed, as Rational, and as Historical

Paul Capetz, Professor of Historical Theology, United Theological Seminary


The Organic Church as Parable of Jesus

Jeffrey W. Roop, Claremont Graduate University

Catholic-Mormon Dialogue: Intersections Between ‘Scripture’ and ‘Tradition’

Donald A. Westbrook, Claremont Graduate University


The Ethereal Etched into the Existential: Auerbach and Benjamin’s Literary Philosophy as Displayed Theologically by Tori Amos and Illogic
Jon Ivan Gill, Claremont Graduate University

‘Why Such a Big Deal?’: The didactic function of humor in Tibetan Buddhism

Manny Fassihi, Stanford University


Mark C. Taylor’s Religion without God: Coming After (the Death of) God

Tino Garcia, University of California at Santa Barbara

Kierkegaard’s Militant Christianity and Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil

John Altick, University of California at Irvine