You are here

Comparative Religious Ethics Unit

Call for Proposals

Reflecting this year’s presidential theme of "Religion and Catastrophe," our call for papers focuses on the potential contributions of comparative religious ethics on understanding the catastrophes of the past and present and its role in analyzing, historicizing, and envisioning alternative forms of life in the context of climate change. Themes especially welcome this year include the following: 


  • Climate Change and Economic Justice 

What are the socio-economic consequences of climate change? How can religious ethics respond to the disparate impacts of climate change among different communities and populations? What are the ethical responsibilities of wealthier nations towards those states and regions who suffer disproportionately in regard to the effects of climate change? 


  • Faith-Based Environmental Activism 

How are particular religious communities and faith-based organizations mobilizing in regard to climate justice? What concrete forms of environmental activism have taken shape among religious communities in response to the climate crisis? What are religious ethical arguments for taking climate concerns seriously? 


  • Defining “Nature” and Its Normative Implications 

Religious traditions have defined “nature” and creation, as a matter of metaphysics, theology, and/or cosmology, to reflect particular normative agendas. How have religious and moral traditions imagined and conceptualized environmental degradation? What constitutes a "healthy" environment? What normative implications do they draw from the state of nature and its disintegration? 


  • Redemption, Repair, Restitution 

The tropes of redemption, repair, and restitution are often invoked and/or championed by religious traditions/communities when facing various aspects of (climate) disasters. What are the logics of such constructs and rhetoric? In which ways do they reinforce extant systems of excessive extraction and asymmetrical benefit? 


As climate change increasingly compels people to move and migrate beyond their borders, particularly those in climate “hotspots,” what should be our attitude in regard to immigration and asylum policies towards refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and the stateless who wish to escape the violence of the climate crisis? As climate change is a threat-multiplier, what constructive role should state and non-state actors play in the refugee crisis in the interest of decreasing the likelihood of mass atrocities? 


  • Anthropogenic vs Non-Anthropogenic Catastrophes

While many/most environmental disasters blur that distinction, there are still some that are due almost exclusively to human activity. For example, economic collapses, warfare (genocides, terrorism, etc.), intellectual degradation (willful ignorance, disinformation campaigns, excessive censorship, etc.) - are often as devastating as environmental crises and the like. How do religious ethics distinguish these kinds of catastrophes (if they do), and what sorts of responses/preventions do they propose? 

Statement of Purpose


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members