The Science, Religion and Culture Program (SRC) at Harvard Divinity School owes its existence to the support of the late Richard T. Watson, a friend of Harvard and Harvard Divinity School. Richard Watson’s vision was to support new research on questions of science and religion and to help support a place for new conversations and impactful discussions. We owe tremendous thanks and gratitude to Richard Watson’s vision and support.
At SRC, a talented and motivated team of administrators, students, research associates, and faculty are interested in creating spaces for novel conversations that engage questions of science, religion and culture. Our team at SRC understands the study of “science and religion” to be rooted in both “science” and “religion” being historical and social paradigms that interact at many levels in the existing cultural and social space. This view allows us to go beyond questions of conflict and/or reconciliation to understand how these discourses and paradigms have interacted through history and continue to interact to create and structure our knowledge of the world and of ourselves. Here, questions of race, gender, and sexuality, along with socioeconomic and sociocultural questions and histories of colonization, marginalization and “modernization” are engaged, as each reveals additional layers in these ongoing conversations. We are also interested in having a more global discussion that intends to understand the specificity of these questions in different historical and social contexts around the world.
The activities and initiatives that we sponsor can be arranged along three axes. The first axis involves new research, where our team of research associates and affiliates conduct cutting edge research in different fields of the social sciences, humanities and hard sciences to explore questions related to science, religion and culture. Our research agenda ranges across many disciplines from theology, philosophy and history to public health to health policy and genetics. Our second axis aims at fostering new scholarly conversations across different disciplines on questions related to science and religion. Here, we organize series of colloquia, seminars and workshops that convene scholars and experts from around the world to share their ideas and develop new research questions and approaches. Our third axis involves educational outreach, where we recognize our role in the world outside academia and sponsor public conversations about high-profile issues and questions in recognition of our duty and Harvard Divinity School’s long interest in engaging with the world around us and in impacting change for a better world. In addition to these axes, SRC supports a number of teaching initiatives and continues to engage in providing educational opportunities to students at Harvard University and elsewhere through courses on science and religion, topical scholarly initiatives, direct training opportunities and teaching support, and curricular development initiatives.
Through our cooperation with our partners at and beyond Harvard, we hope to provide a space for constructive conversations and to sponsor innovative research that addresses critical issues, poses fresh questions, and devises original approaches to questions of science, religion and culture.
It is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to Science, Religion and Culture at Harvard Divinity School.
Ahmed Ragab, MD. PhD.