The Institute for Religion and Science Presents Lecture on the "Rediscovery of Place in Technology and Prayer"

Release Date: Monday, April 8, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA – John M. Staudenmaier, SJ, professor of history of technology and engineering ethics at the University of Detroit Mercy will present the lecture, “The Rediscovery of Place in Technology and Prayer” on Monday, April 8, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Commonwealth Chateau, SugarLoaf campus at Chestnut Hill College. This lecture is sponsored by the Institute for Religion and Science at Chestnut Hill College. 


For centuries, a city’s location depended critically on the availability of resources such as clean water and fertile topsoil. Then, in the mid-to-late 19th century, complex systems such as railroad and telegraph networks, electric light and power utilities, and urban and regional water systems were embraced with an almost religious awe. However, once key raw material advantages began shifting from being very cheap to being very expensive, this systems-based technological style became unsustainable. Today we tend to focus on location and on context-based technology.


Staudenmaier will discuss how this phenomenon shares a striking parallel with the present rediscovery of place and body in Western mystical prayer, and how scholars and spiritual directors have begun to retrieve the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius as mystical, and how prayer is understood to be richly embedded in one’s historical context.


John M. Staudenmaier, SJ has served as a visiting professor at MIT's Science, Technology and Society Program, a visiting scholar at Santa Clara University's Center for Science Technology and Society, and a research fellow at MIT’s Dibner Institute. A Thomas I. Gasson, SJ, professor at Boston College, Staudenmaierhas served as editor-in-chief of “Technology and Culture: The International Quarterly of the Society for the History of Technology” and received the Leonardo da Vinci Medal from the Society for the History of Technology. He regularly consults with museums, reporters, and television producers on topics related to technology, history, and science.


The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Kathleen Duffy, SSJ, Ph.D. at 215.248.7197 or