Searching for the Soul in the Doll’s Body: Spiritual Technologies from Golem to Barbie, Sex Dolls to Artificial Intelligence

S. Brent Plate (Hamilton College)

Convinced that religion has less to do with beliefs than with bodies, Professor S. Brent Plate’s research, teaching, and writing center on the ways people connect with physical objects through sense perception. The things we humans see, hear, smell, taste, and touch are what give us our spiritual dimension. He is the author of four books, including A History of Religion in 5 ½ Objects, and editor of another ten books, including Key Terms in Material Religion and Religion in Museums. His essays have appeared in Newsweek, Slate, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Christian Century, The Islamic Monthly, Huffington Post, and Religion Dispatches. He is the President of the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life/Cross Currents, co-founder and managing editor of the academic journal Material Religion, and serves on the board of the Interfaith Coalition of Greater Utica, in upstate New York, where he lives with his partner, two kids, and a black mutt. He is Associate Professor by Special Appointment of Religious Studies at Hamilton College.


Prof. Elizabeth Rhodes, Professor of Hispanic Studies and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Boston College, will offer closing remarks.