Anthropomorphic practices — attributing human characteristics to non-human entities — in Hindu culture will be the focus of a lecture at Hope College on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 4:30 p.m. in Cook Auditorium of the De Pree Art Center and Gallery through the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The lecture, “A Little of that Human Touch: Why Anthropomorphize?,” will be presented by Dr. David L. Haberman, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University Bloomington.  He will explore the function of anthropomorphism, from a variety of academic disciplines, in the context of the worship stones from Mount Govardhan, a sacred hill located in north-central India.  As Haberman explains, a key component of the worship involves the intentional anthropomorphic practice of adding a human-like face to the stones.

Haberman is the recipient of Guggenheim, Fulbright and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) fellowships.  His current research involves the relationship of religion, ecology and nature, with a focus on Hindu attitudes and practices.  His publications include “Journey Through the Twelve Forests: An Encounter with Krishna,” which received the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence.

The national Phi Beta Kappa honor society’s Visiting Scholar Program makes scholars in a variety of fields available to campuses that have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.  As described on Phi Beta Kappa’s website, the purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the visiting scholars and the resident faculty and students.  The visiting scholars travel to more than 100 colleges and universities each year, spending two days on each campus, meeting informally with students and faculty members, participating in classroom discussions and seminars, and giving a public lecture open to the academic community and the general public.

Hope is one of only 286 colleges and universities nationwide to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which is the nation’s oldest and most widely recognized collegiate honor society.  The college’s Zeta of Michigan chapter was chartered in 1971.

The purpose of the national society, which was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, is to advocate and recognize excellence in the study of the liberal arts and sciences.  Institutions that have a chapter, fewer than 10 percent of America’s colleges and universities, have earned the right by demonstrating that the liberal arts and sciences are at the center of their educational program, and by showing that excellence in such studies is achieved, maintained and celebrated.

The De Pree Art Center and Gallery is located at 275 Columbia Ave., between 10th and 13th streets.