If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Encountering When Prophecy Fails, Encountering Cognitive Dissonance: A Forum
When Prophecy Fails was published in 1956 and is considered a “classic” by many in the field of social psychology and, arguably, in religious studies (e.g., in history of religions, biblical studies) and other fields as well.
Like many such works, the book as its theory of cognitive dissonance has shaped numerous fields – and wider culture – in ways often unacknowledged. But how do the book and its theory speak to us today? How best to understand the long resonances of this book and its theory within academic study and in everyday life? Does the book’s popularity tell us anything about the book’s influence on religion, psychology and science? Did the book alter the object of knowledge in religion and/or in psychology? Does critical reflection suggest new ways to think about the religion, science and psychology relation that moves beyond applying psychological models to religious experience or using religious or spiritual experience to secure psychological concepts or evidence?
This symposium will begin with a brief talk on the history of the books' nearly sixty years. Several scholars will join Dr. Bayer to offer further reflection on their own use of the book in their teaching and research. Together these trackings and tracings lend themselves to what may be called an ethnography of encounters with the life-world of a book, its ideas,
culture, habitus of its catchy concept of cognitive dissonance, and spheres of action amongst religion, psychology and science.
Lowell Bloss, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies and of Asian Languages and Cultures, (University of Chicago Divinity School, History of Religion, PhD 1972)
W. Clark Gilpin, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity and Theology in the Divinity School; also in the College; Interim Director of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion
Susan E. Henking, President, Shimer College (University of Chicago Divinity School, Religion and Psychological Studies, PhD 1988).
Seth Patterson, MFA, a professional theater artist and current M.Div. student, will provide a dramatic reading.
Betty M. Bayer is professor of Women’s Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, where she teaches courses on notions of human nature in histories of women’s psyche, imagining peace, and debates amongst psychology, science, religion and spirituality. Most recently, she has published essays on spirituality and Enchantment in an Age of Occupy (2012). While a senior fellow at the Martin Marty Center she will be working on her book “Revelation or Revolution? Cognitive Dissonance and Persistent Longing in an Age Psychological.” This book entails a history and rethinking of the renowned 1956 book When Prophecy Fails by social psychologists Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken and Stanley Schachter.