Justin Thomas McDaniel

Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities

20102011 Forum on Virtuality

Justin Thomas McDaniel

Associate Professor, Religious Studies

The Thai Virtual Monastery: Creating Sacred Space On-Line

The TDM (Thai Digital Monastery Project--tdm.sas.upenn.edu) is an interactive, immersive, 3D site which seeks to offer visitors a virtual view of Thai Buddhist monastic life. I am seeking to expand the TDM site so that it will allow visitors to virtually experience monastic life, as well as link to bibliographies, full text articles, manuscripts, and secondary sources, along with imbedded audio-recordings, expert commentary, ethnographic notes, comparative evidence, and historical primary and secondary sources. As Penn Mellon Research Fellow, I will explore theoretical and technical issues connected to creating virtual “religious sites.” I also want to open up discussions with other fellows about the “ethics” of virtuality when scholars attempt to (re)present the sacred on-line.