Forum on Religions, Spirituality and Culture

Forum on Religions, Spirituality and Culture

In the academic year of 2015–16, the Faculty of the Department for Studies of Religions and Spirituality inaugurated its Forum on Religions, Spirituality, and Culture.  The Latin term “forum” originates from a Sanskrit term that means “door,” “gate,” or “passage.”  The Latin term literally refers to “the outside,” the “outdoors,” metaphorically signifying a public place or the marketplace.  In ancient Rome, the term “forum” designated an open space, a public place or courtyard, in which people could gather for discussion of, debate about, and deliberation on important issues, events, or decisions, a marketplace for the exchange of important ideas.

With this Forum, the Faculty in the Department for Studies of Religions and Spirituality aims to provide public opportunities in which to exchange information about important religious or spiritual experiences, phenomena, events, and ideas, offering such reports and research for discussion, debate, and deliberation.  In this venue, members from all major intersecting spheres of the academic community (faculty, staff, and students), as well as both scholars and practitioners of religions and spiritualities outside the community of the College, share and discuss their religious and spiritual experiences, their interests in academic studies of religions and spiritualities, and their research about religions, spiritualities, and cultures with diverse audiences on campus.

The Department of Religion typically holds this Forum several times during both the Fall and Spring semesters of each academic year.  This series of lectures, discussions, and presentations broadly focuses on ways in which religions and spiritualities emerge as expressions of the spiritual dimension of human culture.  The Forum examines instances in which religions and spiritualities, or other religious or spiritual phenomena shape or influence contemporary cultural concerns, on the one hand, and ways in which larger cultures shape or influence religious and spiritual cultural phenomena and concerns, on the other hand.

The Forum has provided public opportunities to consider a wide variety of religious and spiritual phenomena, experiences, events, ideas, and perspectives.