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Jacob Boss


Research Interests


I began my college education at Maharishi University of Management, where I studied environmental science, and as a transfer student finished a Bachelors in Asian Languages and Literature at University of Iowa. While at Iowa I also studied the anthropology of religion and ecology, which led me to investigate the influence of Asian religions on agricultural practices in South-East Iowa for a capstone project. As an MA student at Indiana University I wrote my thesis on corporations and guru movements, suggesting that in the religious and legal climate of the USA, religious freedom may be available in greater measure to registered corporations than recognized religions. I am currently working on a PhD dissertation about do-it-yourself human augmentation.

Some of my activities as a graduate student include:

In 2019 I gave a paper entitled, “The Steel Cocoon” to the Society for the Anthropology of Religion, at Victoria University, Toronto, Canada. I also designed and taught my own version of our religion and ethics course, which I renamed “Come Hell or High Water,” focusing on human extinction and technologically facilitated transcendence. I continued leading a workshop series in our department on alternative approaches to grading, using my experience as instructor of record to explore the importance of narrative self-evaluation in the classroom. I will be delivering a paper to the Annual Conference on South Asia in Madison, Wisconsin in October entitled “Virtual Asuras and Ascetic AI: Digital Media Arts and Pedagogy for the South Asian Religions classroom." I will also be delivering a paper at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in San Diego, California, this November, entitled “Punks and Profiteers in the War on Death.”

In 2018 I gave a paper entitled, “Transhumanist Ethics in the Anthropocene” at the Religious Perspectives and Alternative Futures in an Age of Humans conference. I designed and taught my own version of the core intro class, “Religions of Asia.” I also led a workshop series for my department on alternative approaches to grading and evaluation.

In 2017 I gave a paper, "The Harmony of Metal and Flesh: Ecotheology and Cybernetics," to the Midwest Region conference of the American Academy of Religion. Also in 2017 I gave a paper, "Artificial Beings, Natural Feelings: Rudolph Otto's Phenomenology of Religion and Robots," at the religious studies conference hosted by Indiana University Bloomington.

In 2015 I founded and lead the Graduate Religious Studies Association of the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University. In October of 2014 I gave a paper at the Annual Conference on South Asia hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison entitled, "Public Performances of Dissatisfaction: Looking Beyond Nation-States in Maharishi Vedic City." My trip to Madison was supported by a generous grant from the Dhar India Studies Program. I also served as department representative to the Graduate and Professional Student Government for the 2014-2015 school year.


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