April 5, 2006
Morningside College will host Dr. Carl Olson, professor of religious studies at Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn., who will present “The ‘Devil’s Music’: Religious Themes in Rock Music” on Wednesday, April 19, at 11:45 a.m. in the UPS Auditorium of the Lincoln Center, 3627 Peters Avenue. The free event, which is sponsored by Morningside’s Academic and Cultural Arts Series (ACAS) is open to the public.
Olson will explore different religious messages and themes in rock music by comparing rock compositions with the thought of religious scriptures and thinkers. Through discussion and video illustrations, Olson will present various characteristics of rock music, interpret various rock lyrics and explore religious concerns about the lyrics, examine religious phenomena connected to the genre, and discuss prophetic themes in rock music such as war and peace, violence, socio-economic problems, and ecology, to name a few.
Olson has published extensively in scholarly journals and anthologies and is the author of several books on religion and philosophy including “Indian Philosophers and Postmodern Thinkers: Dialogues on the Margins of Culture,” published in 2002 by Oxford University Press and “The Different Paths of Buddhism: A Narrative-Historical Introduction,” published in 2005 by Rutgers University Press, among others.
He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, American Asian Society, American Oriental Society, the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, and the North American Association for the Study of Religion.
Olson has been at Allegheny since 1981, where he teaches courses in Eastern and world religions and contemporary moral issues. He was the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair at Allegheny from 1991 to 1994 and chair of religious studies from 1994 to 1996. He was a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge in England in 2002, when he was elected to a life membership of the university’s Clare Hall, a college for advanced study.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, a master’s degree from Drew Theological School in Madison, N.J., and a doctorate from Drew University.