The James Ackerman Distinguished Alumni Lecture was held on March 31st at FAR Center for Contemporary Arts. Jason Bivins, Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at North Carolina State University, presented a lecture titled “Track Changes: the Fantastical, the Esoteric, and the Electric; or How Indiana Taught Me to Think about Blood, Hell, and Jazz.” Following the lecture, Jason and friends performed a live jazz show.
Jason is a specialist in religion and American culture, focusing particularly on the intersection between religions and politics since 1900. His most recent book is Embattled America: The Rise of Anti-Politics and America’s Obsession with Religion (forthcoming, Oxford University Press, April 2022). While still focused on how Americans think broadly about “religion” as a register of public panic and/or public virtue, his work is now a sustained argument that, for the sake of reassessing democratic fundaments, Americans should stop wrestling over outrageous religion.