Public Relations major Ben Demars, Creative Media major Desiree Carpenter, and Graphic Design major Daniel Johansen were accepted to present their CORE class “The Secular and The Sacred” research projects at the University of Lethbridge Research in Religious Studies Conference.
Demars’ project, “The Secularization of the Buddha: How American Counterculture Co-Opted Zen Ideology,” focuses on Buddhist principles found in today’s society. His paper “explores the way Buddhist philosophy gained its eclectic following in the United States” and how it became “an expression of the counterculture.” Taking from his studies of Buddhism in Western India and his time spent in Buddhist meditation centers in Vermont and Colorado, Demars looks at how secular representations of Buddhist practices resonate in today’s culture, specifically with the millennial generation.
Carpenter’s project, “The Fault in Their Stars: How Astrology Intersects With Traditional Notions of Belief And Faith-Based Practice,” explores how astrology involves ideas of faith and belief that are found in traditional religious practices. Her project “requires one to be open-minded toward supernatural ways of explaining the universe, spiritual notions such as fate, and addresses many of the same conceptual frameworks as traditional religions.” Carpenter offers up the idea that astrology is a religious-secular hybrid found at the intersection of science and faith and looks at it from multiple perspectives in order to reframe modern Western astrology.
Johansen’s project, “On Female Ordination and Religion in the 21st Century: The Tradition of Changing Tradition,” focuses on how the Second Vatican Council of the mid 1960s shifted the traditional role and identity of the Roman Catholic Church by adapting it to the changing needs of twentieth century Catholics. “The role of tradition within the Catholic Church and changing attitudes towards gender represent a significant challenge to the Vatican. A major initiative in the last half-century since Vatican II is the growth of women’s empowerment initiatives like equal pay for equal work and other feminist agendas.” Johansen’s study focuses on the prohibition of female ordination in order to understand Catholicism in the twenty-first century. “Through an analysis of both religious and secular sources to define context, and by research conducted at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Burlington, Vermont, this critique seeks to examine the intersection of Catholic doctrine and progressively oriented women’s empowerment initiatives of the 21st century.”
The CCM Division congratulates Demars Carpenter, and Johansen on their achievement.