Abstract:

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has engaged extensively and often critically with modern science. A small field of scholarship highlights conflict themes in ISKCON’s most visible science-religion media, but little attention is directed to examples of complexity and accommodation, or to the broader contexts in which ISKCON-science discourse arose. My research traces the development of both oppositional and accommodating ISKCON-science narratives while considering the processes and conditions by which conflict emerged as ISKCON’s most prominent mode of science-religion discourse. Drawing upon Walter Fisher’s communication theory and Gerard Bouchard’s recent work on social myth, I propose that ISKCON-science narratives are emergent and embedded within a broader sociohistorical and organisational ‘narrative ecology’, they are persuasive due to ‘coherence’ and ‘fidelity’, and the most prominent among them draw upon three mythical themes: the infallibility of Bhaktivedanta Swami, the role of ISKCON in catalysing a golden age, and the inherent enmity of science. This paper will situate the project within existing scholarship and outline the proposed conceptual and methodological approach.

Venue

Room: 
E356, Forgan Smith