In this interview, Brock Bahler, visiting assistant professor in Religious studies at the University of Pittsburgh, talks about his research on cognitive neuroscience, child psychology and embodied religious practices. Through the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Descartes, and Levinas on the relationship between the mind and the body, Bahler discusses the notion of ritual as a locus of power in terms of structure and agency. His recent book, Childlike Peace in Levinas and Merleau-Ponty: Intersubjectivity as a Dialectical Spiral (Lexington Books, forthcoming) focuses on neuroscience to grasp the topic power relations at the confluence of religion and other social influences on one’s trajectories. As such, Bahler examines, with a “phenomenological twist”, what rituals do in terms of education, psychology, and subjectivity.
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