Transhumanist Imagination

transhumanist imagination


This project addresses meta-questions posed by the program in Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs by highlighting the interplay among religion, imagined futures, and technological innovation. More specifically the project seeks to accomplish the following goals:

  • reveal the transformation of traditional Judeo-Christian motifs in the presumably secularist discourse of transhumanism;
  • highlight the causal relationship between visions of the eschaton and interpretation of technological innovation;
  • explore how the imagination of the future mobilizes human behavior in a given socio-cultural context, especially in regard to innovation;
  • shed new light on the connection between religion and innovation in the modern world;
  • expose the internal contradictions within the transhumanist imagination; and
  • offer a critical vantage point from which to assess the cultural impact of transhumanism and from which to discern the wider cultural and historical moment of which transhumanism is an expression.

Transhumanism serves as a particularly noteworthy expression of the postsecular moment, and thus as a fruitful context through which to interrogate the interplay of eschatological vision, projects of technological innovation, and forms of normative imagination in modern secular societies.

The project is directed by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Ben Hurlbut and is supported by a grant from The Historical Society's program in Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation.

News & Events

The Technological Singularity: A Crucial Event in God's Self-Actualization?, with Michael Zimmerman (The Transhumanist Imagination Lecture Series – March 20, 2014)

"Lecture to address religious roots of technological visions" (ASU News - March 17, 2014)

The Singularity: Film Screening and Conversation, with film director Doug Wolens, Transhumanist Imagination project directors Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Ben Hurlbut, and professors Andrew Pilsch and Clark Miller (March 4, 2014)

The Transhumanist Imagination: Innovation, Secularization, and Eschatology, a Workshop with John Evans, Nassar Zakariya, Ben Hurlbut, and Margo Lipstin (December 13, 2013)

"Workshop to explore influence of religion on scientific imagination" (ASU News - December 11, 2013)

"Transhumanism: A Secularist Re-Enchantment of the World?"by Franc Mali, Christopher Coenen, and Hannah Weinhardt. A report from the international research symposium, “Imagining the (Post-) Human Future: Meaning, Critique and Consequences,” held July 8–9, 2013, at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (November 2013)

Governance, Progress and Converging Technologies, with Brice Laurent, Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation (The Transhumanist Imagination Lecture Series – April 8, 2013)

Technologies of Imagination: Fifty Years Beyond Man and His Future, Various Speakers, Arizona State University (April 5, 2013)

Vannevar Bush, Endless Frontiers, and Human Enhancement, with Gregg Zachary (The Transhumanist Imagination Lecture Series – February 25, 2013)

"ASU receives grant to study transhumanism, religion, and innovation" (ASU News - October 31, 2012)

"Building better humans? New book explores transhumanist scenarios" (ASU News - October 31, 2012)