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Energy, Extraction, and Religion Seminar

Call for Proposals

The Energy, Extraction, and Religion Seminar (EER) solicits paper proposals that provide insights at the intersection of religion, extraction, energy, and catastrophe. An emerging body of postcolonial, critical race, and environmental humanities scholarship takes extractivism as a functioning paradigm of modernity and frames the current climate crisis in this scope. As indigenous environmental humanities scholar Max Liboiron argues, “pollution is colonialism” (2021). In this vein, the EER is eager for papers that consider the religious contexts of climate catastrophe as a materialization of entwined extractive projects of colonization, racialization, and exploitation.

If the study of religion is a practice of understanding how worlds are imagined, made and inhabited, what extractions and energies are required in these processes? What religious spatializations make extractivism possible? How do extractive practices shape religious affects, concepts, and rituals? In this inaugural CFP, the EER solicits reflections on religion that consider the analytic of extraction to examine catastrophe: its precedence, its singularity and multiplicity, the worlds it destroys, and the worlds it creates. We further invite proposals that examine extractivism in the study of religion and the role of religion scholars in confronting the colonial legacies of our discipline(s).

Through the lens of extraction, temporalities of catastrophe collapse while its effects diversify. On the one hand, analyzing the ongoing effects of human, mineralogical, hydrocarbon, or animal extractions demonstrates that a “present” catastrophe is haunted by an ongoing past. Extraction is also a technology of future making, requiring inquiry into the religious imagination of what worlds are being made, what their ends might be, and what materials and labors are required in these makings and endings. On the other hand, an analytic of extractivism presses closer attention to effects and ongoing benefits of exploitation, prompting the question, “catastrophe for who?” Religion is key to understanding what power, politics, and culture decide whose end times matter.

Though we are also interested in broad methodological analyses including those that consider archival and textual insights into this history of catastrophe and contemporary ethnographic imaginings of catastrophic pasts, futures, or experiences, the EER especially requests proposals that provide insight into the meeting of religion and extraction in Denver’s settler colonial mining history and contemporary resource culture

Statement of Purpose

This seminar provides an intellectual space to foreground relations, dynamics, and critiques among religion, energy, and extraction. For scholars in a variety of humanistic and social scientific disciplines, extractivism provides a conceptual rubric through which to re-conjoin analyses of racialization and exploitation with concerns about ecology and sustainability. This is particularly the case in the environmental and energy humanities. In light of multidisciplinary scholarly discourses on extractivism, this seminar aims to conscientiously link social and ecological justice questions as a matter of theoretical and methodological rigor; to explicitly and directly attend to racial capitalism and coloniality as constitutive of environmental crises; to facilitate and improve dialogue between religion scholars and the environmental humanities, focusing attention on the religious dimensions of energy intensive and extractive cultures; and engage in reflexive analyses of the study and constructions of religion in, with, and through cultures of energy and extractivism.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs and steering committee members at all times