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Paul Bramadat asks what the study of religion can contribute to our understanding of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and what do we learn about religion and spirituality by thinking about conspiracy and spirituality ("conspirituality")? Normally, we distinguish between "cultural" and "religious" forms of vaccine hesitancy, but reflecting on the shared roots of these phenomena raises some questions: from the vantage point of a hesitant individual and community, what sort of world is being imagined as the problem–and the solution? While the COVID-19 pandemic has created much anxiety, "vaccine hesitancy" itself reflects other deeper concerns about personal autonomy as well as the "ambient toxicity" of the world.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Paul Bramadat is Professor in the Religion, Culture, and Society Program, and Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. He enjoys an international reputation for his work on the relationship of religion and spirituality to diversity, health, security, and civil society. He is co-editor of Public Health in the Age of Anxiety: Religious and Cultural Roots of Vaccine Hesitancy in Canada. Earlier he co-edited Religious Radicalization and Securitization in Canada and Beyond and Spirituality in Hospice Palliative Care.