Iris Book Award 2022

The Iris Book Award at the ISSRNC Conference




The Iris Book Award Prize Ceremony took place on February 4, 2023 at the meeting of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, held at Arizona State University, where Mary-Jane Rubenstein also presented a keynote address.
Rubenstein presented a reading from her award-winning book, Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse (Columbia University Press, 2014), and joined in conversation with Alexus McLeod, Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University, and Catherine Newell, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami.

The Iris Book Award is an annual prize honoring outstanding work that gives new insight into the meaning and status of the human in relation to science, religion, and nature. The award is an initiative of the Center for Religion and the Human at Indiana University and directed by former IU faculty member Lisa Sideris (now at UC Santa Barbara). 

“Multiverse” cosmologies imagine our universe as just one of a vast number of others. While this idea has captivated philosophy, religion, and literature for millennia, it is now being considered as a scientific hypothesis--with different models emerging from cosmology, quantum mechanics, and string theory. In their very efforts to sidestep metaphysics, theoretical physicists propose multiverse scenarios that collide with it and even produce counter- theological narratives. Far from invalidating multiverse hypotheses, Rubenstein argues, this interdisciplinary collision actually secures their scientific viability. We may therefore be witnessing a radical reconfiguration of physics, philosophy, and religion in the modern turn to the multiverse. Rubenstein is Professor of Religion and Science in Society at Wesleyan University, and is affiliated with the Philosophy Department and the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program.

Books considered for the award are nominated by academic and popular presses, and by scholars working in interdisciplinary areas related to science, nature, religion, and technology. The award is one of several initiatives supported by an initial $1M grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for the “Being Human” project.

The Iris Book Award is made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation.