The Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series was founded at the College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1981 to provide a forum and formal vehicle for interdisciplinary academic exchange in the basic sciences, clinical sciences, and humanities. The lectures are designed to emphasize the cross-collaborative nature of scientific inquiry and to enrich the traditional scholarly exchange between the health sciences faculties, the other branches of Columbia University, and the metropolitan New York medical community—all while honoring the school's fundamental responsibility to maintain the highest standards of humanistic education.
Over the past thirty years, we have been fortunate to have as speakers some of the world's leading basic scientists, clinicians, and humanistic scholars, all of whom have made significant and outstanding contributions to their respective fields. Yet, as expert as all of these speakers are in their areas of specialization, they have been able to bring their thoughts and experiences to life for those outside their traditional academic disciplines—some of whom ultimately have found new ways to advance this knowledge at the intersection of the arts and sciences.
Through the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series, we look forward to continuing our tradition of bringing together students, professors, researchers and clinicians in the spirit of true intellectual curiosity and academic cooperation—sowing the seeds, perhaps, for the next great breakthrough discovery or cure in the process.
What is Religion?
Mark C. Taylor, Ph.D
Chair, Department of Religion
Co-director of the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life
Professor, Union Theological Seminary
Thursday, May 9
Hammer Health Science Center, Room 401
701 West 168th Street
Mark C. Taylor is the Chair of the Department of Religion, co-director of the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life, and a Professor at Union Theological Seminary. He is the author of many books on topics ranging from philosophy, religion, literature, art, and architecture to education, media, science, technology, and economics. His most recent work is a trilogy: Refiguring the Spiritual, Rewiring the Real, Recovering Place, published by Columbia University Press. He is also an artist and photographer whose work has appeared at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and will be included in an upcoming exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
Professor Taylor received a Doktorgrad (Philosophy) from the University of Copenhagen in 1981, a Ph.D. in religion from Harvard in 1997, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1968. He has received many awards and honors, including the Wesleyan University Distinguished Alumnus Award (1998), the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Professor of the Year award (1995), and the Rektor's Medal from the University of Helsinki (1993). Three of his books have received the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence.
Over the years Professor Taylor has also played a major role in introducing new technologies to the classroom. In 1999, he co-founded a company named Global Education Network to introduce high-quality online education in the arts, sciences, and humanities to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Beyond his scholarly work, Professor Taylor contributes to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, Fortune, National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Company, Canadian Public Radio, and the Australian Broadcasting Company.
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