The Religion & Culture Web Forum


March 2006
Contributor Biographies

Trading Faces: A Case Study in the Science of Identity, Aesthetics, Ethics

Naomi Beck is Collegiate Assistant Professor and Harper Fellow in the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Paris-1 (Sorbonne-Pantheon) in 2005. Her research focuses on the history of science in the broad cultural context with an emphasis on the relationship between scientific ideas and socio-political theories. She is currently revising her dissertation entitled The Diffusion and Metamorphosis of Herbert Spencer's Evolutionary Theories in France and Italy (a comparative study) for publication. She is also working on a new study of the role played by evolutionary ideas in twentieth-century economic theories, especially in the Chicago School of Economics.

Jeremy Biles holds a PhD in Religion and Literature from the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he is the managing editor of Sightings. He teaches Media Aesthetics at the University of Chicago and is currently teaching Religion and Popular Culture at DePaul University. His recent research has focused on that area, including the sacred meaning of monster truck rallies and the religious and ritual matrix of the "extreme makeover" reality show The Swan. His book Ecce Monstrum: Georges Bataille and the Sacrifice of Form is forthcoming from Fordham University Press.

Geoffrey Rees is Collegiate Assistant Professor and Harper Fellow in the Humanities, University of Chicago.

Brian Soucek is Collegiate Assistant Professor and Harper Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University in 2005. His dissertation and much of his current work centers on the personification of art: the way that notions such as autonomy, agency, authenticity, or expression are invoked analogously in discussions both of persons and of artworks. His work examines the widespread personification of art in contemporary aesthetics and criticism, and traces it back to the eighteenth century's entangled conceptions of moral and aesthetic judgment. Brian also writes on the philosophy of music, particularly opera. An essay on Mozart and Strauss is forthcoming in The Don Giovanni Moment (Columbia University Press, 2006).

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