Robert M Geraci
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
PhD, Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara
MA, Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara
BA, Plan II Honors in Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin
I'm Texan, but living, teaching, and writing in New York City. I'm
pretty sure that everyone loves robots, which is why I've written a
book about them. People love games too, so I wrote another book.
I'm also interested in the toadstool circles, the ancient temples, the
soaring cathedrals of our religious imagination. Likewise, the dark
tunnels of mining and rapid transit. I visit mountains, deserts, holy
places, laboratories, factories, and massively-multiplayer online
games, looking for the fantastic in all of them.
I believe that writing should be accessible and that readers should
never want to curse authors for producing unintelligible drivel. I want
my academic studies accessible and interesting to people who are not
college professors and I hope that my own work lives up to those
My past research focused upon the
relationship between artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and
religion (primarily the Singularity, mind uploading, & sentient
machines, but also Shinto and Buddhist ideas as they relate to the
development of Japanese robotics). That work led me to a first book, Apocalyptic AI, and a second book,
which is about online gaming and religion, and is in contract with
Oxford Univ. Press. That research resulted in a National
Foundation grant to further my studies into virtual worlds.
From December 2012 to April 2013, I spent 5 months in Bangalore, India
as a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Researcher and Visiting Scholar at the
Indian Institute of Science in order to research for my third book.
This new book will engage the cultural context of science and
technology in Bangalore.
I love that there are at least 3,333 projects worth writing, and quite
possibly more than that (in some multiple of 3, because 3 is the magic
number). I love my work.
Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life.
New York: Oxford University Press.
AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual
York: Oxford University Press.
2012. "Theological Productions: The Role of Religion in
Video Game Design." Cultural
Perspectives of Video Games: From Designer to Player (eds. Adalm
L. Brackin and Natacha Guyot), pp. 101-114. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary
2012. "Video Gaming and the Transhuman Inclination." Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
2011. "There and
Back Again: Transhumanist Evangelism in
Fiction and Popular Science." Implicit
Religion 14(2): 141-172.
Bliss: War and Peace in Popular Science
Technology 24(3): 339-354.
Robots, and Eternal Avatars:
Salvation at the Interface of Brains and Machines." Routledge Companion to
Religion and Science
(eds. Haag, Peterson, and Spezio), pp. 578-590. New York: Routledge.
Appeal of Apocalyptic AI." Zygon:
Religion and Science
2010. "Religion and
Science in Daily Practice." Religion
in the Practice
Daily Life (eds. Hecht and
Biondo). Westport, CT:
2009. "Religion and Technology." Masaryk
Journal of Law and Technology
AI: Religion and the Promise of
Artificial Intelligence." The
Journal of the American
Academy of Religion 76(1):
2008. Human Nature and the
Progress: Power and Purpose in 20th Century Religion, Science and Art.
Germany: VDM Verlag. (Reprinting of my dissertation)
Prestige: Popular Science
Robotics as Religion-Science Hybrids." Reconfigurations:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on
Religion in a Post-Secular Society (eds.
Ornella and Stefanie
Knauss). LIT Press. 43-58.
and the Sacred in Science and Science Fiction: Theological Implications
Religion and Science 42(4):
Robots: Religion and Our Scientific View of the Natural World."
Theology and Science 4(3):
Static: Artistic, Religious and Scientific Truths in a
Relational Ontology." Zygon:
Religion and Science 40(4):
Ritual: Experimentation and the Advancement of
Journal of Religion and Science
Published by the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago.
January 26, 2012.
Cult of Kurzweil: Will Robots Save Our Souls?" Religion Dispatches. April 5, 2011.
Salvation: The Sacred
World of Second
Life." SL'ang Life
“Religion for the Robots.” Sightings.
the Martin Marty
Center at the University
RELS 110 The Nature and Experience of Religion
RELS 300 Gnosticism
RELS 400 Religion and Contemporary Art
RELS 400 Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Religion
RELS 425 Religion and Psychology
RELS 463 Religion and Science
RELS 470 Religion Online and Online Religion
RELS 480 Independent Study: Virtual Lives and Virtual Worlds
(Ethics and the Divine in
RELS 480 Independent Study: The Death of God and Sexuality in
RELS 480 Independent Study: Religion and Modern Media
Awards and Appointments:
National Science Foundation EAGER Grant, Virtually Meaningful project
William A. Coolidge Scholar, Association for Religion and Intellectual
Life (Summer 2010)
Guest editor, Masaryk Journal of Law
and Technology 3:1. Special
edition on religion and technology.
Visiting Researcher, Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute
Manhattan College Summer Research Grant (2007)
Visions of Nature,
Science, and Religion Research Stipend (2005-2006)
Visions of Nature,
Science, and Religion Research Stipend (2004-2005)
"A Novel Society: Science Fiction Stories as Religious Actors" at the
annual meeting for the American Academy of Religion, November 20, 2011.
"Mythic Transhumanism: The Apocalyptic Use of Artificial Intelligence"
at the Columbia University Study of Religion Seminar, December 13, 2010.
"A Landscape of the Religious Imagination: Travel and Tourism in the
Work of Neil Gaiman" at the annual meeting for the American Academy of
Religion, October 31, 2010.
"The Mythic Power of Transhumanism" at Transvision 2010, October 23,
"The Singularity Solution: Ray Kurzweil, Artificial Intelligence, and
the American Public" at the annual meeting for the Society for Machines
and Mentality (Special Interest Group of the International Association
for Computing and Philosophy), December 28, 2009.
"Virtually Sacred: Popular Religion in Second Life"
at the William
Patterson University Philosophy Colloquium, December 1, 2009.
"Evolution and the Politics of Religious Practice" at the College of
Mt. Saint Vincent, November 17, 2009.
"Between Evangelism and Education: Transhumanist Religion in Pop
Science and Science Fiction" at the annual meeting for the American
Academy of Religion, November 9, 2009.
Virtual Sacred: Hierophanies
Future of Religions/Religions of the Future: Dialectics of Faith and
Technology in the Third Millennium
conference in Al-Andalus
June 4, 2008.
Spirituality and the
Avatar" at Sophrosyne's Salon in Extropia Core, Second Life,
are Never Quite Friendly
in Religion and Science” at the Manhattan College Dante
October 4, 2007.
Intelligence” at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics
of Robotics Group, Pittsburgh,
and Blame in Conceptualizing Humanity” at the Annual Meeting
for the American Academy of
D.C., November 20, 2006.
Intelligence, and the Persistence of the Sacred” at the
Annual Meeting for the American
of Religion, Philadelphia,
November 20, 2005.
Technology and Twentieth-Century Holiness” at the Consortium
Theory and Culture Conference, The
and the Profane, University
of California, Santa
May 21, 2004.
Cultural History of
Religions and Twentieth Century Temporality” at the
Department of Religious
Studies Research Colloquium, University of California, Santa Barbara,
Marginalization in the Gospel of Thomas” at the Annual
Meeting of the
Association of the Sociology of Religion, Anaheim, CA,
August 17, 2001.