John W. Traphagan, Ph.D., is Professor of Religious Studies and Mitsubishi Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Traphagan’s research interests revolve around the intersection between culture and science and have explored issues such as the cultural construction of illness in Japan, concepts of autonomy in biomedical ethics, and the relationship between culture, religion, and science in the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
He has published numerous scientific articles and chapters in anthropology, medical, and religious studies journals and books and is the author of Taming Oblivion: Aging Bodies and the Fear of Senility in Japan (2000), The Practice of Concern: Ritual, Well-Being, and Aging in Rural Japan (2004), and Rethinking Autonomy: A Critique of Principlism in Biomedical Ethics (2013). His most recent book is Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Human Imagination: SETI at the Intersection of Science, Religion, and Culture, which was published in 2015.
Dr. Traphagan holds a Masters degree in social ethics from Yale University and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, specialized in medical anthropology, from the University of Pittsburgh. He did his postdoctoral research as a National Institute on Aging Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Studies Center of the University of Michigan.