Research and Projects
Zombified Media and Channel Zed
ZOMBIFIED MEDIA is non-profit media company producing educational podcasts, TV shows and academic crossover events to help humanity survive the zombie apocalypse and other catastrophes. Channel Zed, is a fictitious online television station branded as “The World’s Leading Zombie Apocalypse Channel," which takes as its premise that it is producing television in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Channel Zed will accomplish two related goals: (1) provide engaging content for the public that communicates about the interdisciplinary scholarship happening as part of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Alliance, and (2) create a compelling forum for a diverse audience to engage with the question of what it means to be human. Channel Zed allows us to embrace the digital potential of transformative knowledge creation, outreach, and engagement by offering a broad platform for all of us to share our brains.
Craftwork as Soulwork
Craftwork as Soulwork has been an established research focus in the Center since 2017, but received funding in the summer of 2021 from the Templeton Foundation to establish proof of concept for a model of spiritual formation for genetics researchers, whether they identify as secular or religious.
Working with scientists from three participating labs, alongside experts in spiritual formation, the project seeks to collectively identify and recast a set of established techniques from a range of spiritual traditions to help researchers bring the technical dimensions of their work into a deeper and more integral relation to their own quest for spiritual purpose and collective responsibility.
The project is led by Gaymon Bennett, associate director of the Lincoln Center and associate professor of religion, science, and technology. He is joined on the project by fellow ASU humanists J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Erica O’Neil, and Jason Robert; ASU neurobiologists B. Blair Braden, Stephen Helms-Tillery, and Sarah Stabenfeldt; as well as Gil Stafford, director of the Wisdom’s Way school of spiritual direction, and Carolyn Forbes, assistant director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.
In view of the potential for radical transformation, scientists are being asked to take responsibility for our collective biological future, even while being expected to actualize and commodify those futures in the process. Navigating similarly turbulent crosscurrents has long been a mainstay of spiritual practice across traditions. We thus ask: how might traditions of craftwork as soulwork help scientists navigate the cultural call to be both responsible and entrepreneurial by refashioning their craftwork as a very means of spiritual growth? And how might productive answers to that question be regularized and scaled?
The primary output of our experimental efforts will be an open-access and revisable toolkit for other researchers to deploy in their own labs. The outcome of the project, if successful, will be the advance of more integral relation of craftwork and soulwork with the expectation that making explicit the tacit dynamics of spiritual formation will better prepare those in the advanced life sciences to navigate the power they wield, technically and socially, in a way that attunes scientific attention to the “big questions.