Pixel Tracker

Monday, December 17 , 2018, 9:36 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 56º

 
 
 
 

UCSB Religious Studies Scholar Receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Ann Taves, professor of religious studies at UC Santa Barbara, has received a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013.

Ann Taves (Ron Searcey photo)
Ann Taves (Ron Searcey photo)

She is one of 175 artists, musicians, scholars and scientists from the United States and Canada to be so honored by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and one of only four in the field of religion.

Guggenheim Fellows are selected on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishments.

Taves, who holds UCSB’s Virgil Cordano OFM Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies, is a prolific scholar and award-winning author, and is well known for her work on religious experience. She will use her fellowship award to continue work on her current project, “Revelatory Events,” a book-length comparative study of the role of unusual experiences in the earliest stages of four well-documented movements –– Mormonism, Alcoholics Anonymous, A Course in Miracles study groups, and New Age channeling.

Taves is a scholar of religion whose research has focused for some time on how people, both historical and contemporary, interpret unusual, seemingly involuntary experiences in which the usual sense of self is disrupted by anomalous perceptions or sensations.

She is the author of two highly regarded books, Religious Experience Reconsidered: A Building-Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things (Princeton University Press, 2009), and Fits, Trances and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James (Princeton University Press, 2009).

In Fits, Trances and Visions, Taves traces competing religious and scientific explanations of unusual experiences over time, to arrive at three key insights. The first is that seemingly involuntary experiences are unstable and can shift in response to suggestions from and encounters with others who variously explain, condemn, or encourage the experience in question. Second, the categories used to characterize these experiences, e.g. hysteria, mysticism, spiritual, religious, occult, are ideologically laden, theoretically unstable, and difficult to study apart from a history of discourse. And finally, it is important to figure out how to constitute historical or ethnographic objects of study in such a way that academic categories don’t interfere with tracing this morphing of experience at the level of discourse –– categories and theories –– and practice.

In Religious Experience Reconsidered, Taves demonstrates how scholars could disaggregate the concept of “religious experience” and draw on research from psychology and sociology to study the wide range of experiences to which people have –– under some conditions –– attached religious significance. Building on her previous work, as well as more recent scholarly efforts to integrate cognition and culture, her current project integrates the close reading of historical sources with research on mental and social processes to better understand how unusual experiences give rise under some conditions to new visionary movements.

Taves received her Ph.D. in the history of Christianity and American religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School and taught at the Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University for many years. At UCSB, she teaches courses that explore the role of experience in the context of emergent movements and established religious traditions. She is a past-president of the American Academy of Religion, and has served on the steering committee of the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion and the Council of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.