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Philosophy and religious studies professor receives award from academic journal

February 7, 2012
Dr. Scott Lowe
Dr. Scott Lowe
EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire professor of philosophy and religious studies has received an inaugural award that recognizes and rewards excellence in the study of new religions originating in South Asia.

Dr. Scott Lowe, who also serves as chair of the philosophy and religious studies department, received the first Helen Crovetto Award for Excellence in the Study of New Religious Movements with Ties to South Asia. The award was presented by Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, considered to be the most important and reputable international academic journal focusing on new and emergent religious movements, Lowe said. The award, to be given annually for relevant meritorious articles accepted for publication in Nova Religio, is named for and funded by Helen Crovetto, an independent scholar of new religious movements within Hinduism.

Lowe said his winning article, "Transcendental Meditation, Vedic Science and Science," is an analysis of the Transcendental Meditation movement's various uses of science.

"I trace the changing definitions of science the TM movement has used in different periods of its six decades of outreach and show that the initial goal of this process appears to have been to use Western science and scientific evidence of TM's effectiveness to draw people to meditation and make it publicly 'respectable,'" he said. "Only later was the superiority of ancient Indian 'science,' what the TM movement calls 'Vedic science,' brought to the fore. According to the TM movement, Vedic science has superseded modern Western science as the correct lens through which the world should be observed."

Lowe joined the UW-Eau Claire faculty in 2004 and teaches classes in Hinduism, Buddhism, religion in China and Japan, and religion and the environment. His primary research interests are in old and new Chinese religions and new religious movements in the West.

Lowe will be on sabbatical leave next academic year to work on a book describing the four decades of challenging but productive interactions between the TM movement and the small town of Fairfield, Iowa, home of the TM movement's American university, the Maharishi University of Management.

Lowe received a doctorate in the history of Asian religions from the University of Iowa, his teacher certification from the University of Colorado and a bachelor's degree in natural resources from the University of Michigan.

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