Keynote Speaker

Sherine Hamdy 

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Kutayba Alghanim Professor of Social Science at Brown University

Sherine Hamdy is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Brown University where she also serves on the faculty committee of Science, Technology, and Society and the faculty committee on Middle East Studies. Sherine Hamdy’s first book was published in 2012 with University of California Press, entitled: Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt. In it she calls for a bioethics thoroughly integrated with political and economic realities of disease and medicine, and analyzes a heated debate in Egypt about the ethics of transplantation of body parts that exposes what she calls the “twin crises” of Islamic and medical authority in the context of a brutal political regime. Her current work continues with the theme of bioethics, medicine, and disease in Egypt as she follows the political dramas unfolding there. She is currently collaborating with Professor Soha Bayoumi (Harvard, History of Science) on a project called Doctors of the Revolution, on the role of medics in Cairo’s political uprisings. In 2009, she was named the Kutayba Alghanim Assistant Professor of the Social Sciences. Her article "When the State and Your Kidneys Fail: Political Etiologies in an Egyptian Dialysis Ward" (American Ethnologist 2008) won the 2009 Rudolph Virchow Award from the Society of Medical Anthropology. She was a Member of the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton from 2011-2012. She is currently a Greenwall Foundation Scholar in Bioethics as she continues to research and teach medical anthropology at Brown.

“Constructions of Autonomy in Early Modern and Modern Contexts" Module Speaker
David C. Lamberth
Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Harvard Divinity School

David Lamberth is Professor of Philosophy and Theology in the Faculty of Divinity, where he teaches a range of courses in Western theology and philosophy of religion that emphasize modern liberal thought and probe the interconnections between theological and philosophical reflection in American and continental thought. He joined the faculty in 1997 as an assistant professor after spending two years at Florida State University, and he served a three-year term as associate dean for academic affairs at HDS from 2000 to 2003. His 1999 William James and the Metaphysics of Experience exhibits his interest in the revival of pragmatism and demonstrates the inherent engagement with religion in James's philosophical system, as well as James's pluralism. He is currently preparing two books: "Religion: A Pragmatic Approach," which analyzes both historical and contemporary treatments of religion in the pragmatic tradition; and the volume on William James for the Routledge Philosophers series. Other research interests include religious experience, and the construction of the field of the philosophy of religion in modernity. 

“Ritual as a Category of Religious Experience” Module Speaker
Michael James Puett
Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion and Professor of Chinese History at Harvard University

Michael Puett is Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion and Professor of Chinese History in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago and his interests are focused on the inter-relations between religion, anthropology, history, and philosophy. Puett is the author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China and To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self- Divinization in Early China, as well as the co-author, with Adam Seligman, Robert Weller, and Bennett Simon, of Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity