The essays in this volume explore how two domains of human experience and action--religion and technology--are implicated in each other. Contrary to commonsense understandings of both religion (as an "otherworldly" orientation) and technology (as the name for tools, techniques, and expert knowledges oriented to "this" world), the contributors to this volume challenge the grounds on which this division has been erected in the first place.
What sorts of things come to light when one allows religion and
technology to mingle freely? In an effort to answer that question,
Deus in Machina embarks upon an interdisciplinary voyage
across diverse traditions and contexts where religion and
technology meet: from the design of clocks in medieval Christian
Europe, to the healing power of prayer in premodern Buddhist Japan,
to 19th-century Spiritualist devices for communicating with the
dead, to Islamic debates about kidney dialysis in contemporary
Egypt, to the work of disability activists using documentary film
reimagine Jewish kinship, to the representation of Haitian Vodou on
the Internet, among other case studies.
Combining rich historical and ethnographic detail with extended
theoretical reflection, Deus in Machina outlines new
directions for the study of religion and/as technology that will
resonate across the human sciences, including religious studies,
science and technology studies, communication studies, history,
anthropology, and philosophy.