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Religion and Ecology Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

The Religion and Ecology Unit seeks individual paper and complete panel proposals relating to a wide range of themes in religion and ecology, especially proposals that resonate with the 2024 thematic emphasis on “Violence, Nonviolence, and the Margin.” Proposals that address environmental justice, (nonviolent and violent) environmental activism, ecofascism, visible and invisible violence, and structural and systemic violence as it relates to climate change, environmental degradation, and mass species extinction. Why is violence against the natural world embedded within the sacrificial structure of capitalism’s socio-economic system? What is the role of nonviolent activism in a system that profits off of, and is bolstered by violence to, the natural world? How does one undermine this violating system? What role does religion play, and what responsibility do scholars of religion have, in deconstructing this system? What is the role of violence and non-violence in dark green resistance? Looking at the work of environmental activist organizations (e.g. Earth First and Extinction Rebellion), what is the difference between eco-sabotage and eco-terrorism? At what point is eco-violence self defense? What is the boundary between violence and non-violence in this context? What are some religious arguments addressing this?


We are also interested in looking at the ecological impact of war and violence. What is the environmental impact of the violence in Israel, and other conflict zones, or historical conflict zones? Other areas of interest include: the concept of slow violence, which looks at environmental pollution as a different type of violence on a different timescale. We are interested in nonviolent ways to disrupt the violence of modes of production, including slow food and slow thought. We are also interested in the violence inherent in climate change: fire as it relates to the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland, people being burnt on pavement from global warming, burning oneself as a form of climate protest.


We welcome proposals that critically examine our understanding of ecology at the margins, including religious frameworks that consider nonhuman and animal sentience and sapience, and how the marginalization of these perspectives and frameworks is harmful to maintaining sacred ecological balance.


We also acknowledge the interdisciplinary nature of and multifaceted approaches to research on the connections between religion and ecology. We especially welcome new contributions to religion and ecology intended to develop and push the field in methodology, topics, themes, texts, authors, objectives, and/or audience.


The Religion and Ecology Unit is also pursuing possible co-sponsored sessions with the following Units:


The Native Traditions Unit in the Americas:

Examination of work within Native communities to combat the violence against the land, waters, and plant and animal beings, and violent responses to non-violent land and water protection, with consideration to how Native religious traditions can or have influenced global and dominant discourses related to nature and the environment.


Religion and Food Unit:

With potential to respond to the overall meeting call, we welcome papers, which consider in/justice and non/violence in human-made food systems linked to particular ecological territory. Examples might address extractivist economies and extractivist logic in various spaces for food, people, and land, relevant to resource conflict and food security in climate weirding, indigenous people and traditional ecological knowledge, variations in animal agriculture, and unjust working conditions among food producers: farmers, migrant workers, etc. We encourage papers offering critical-constructive work to both understand concerns and address them, intellectually and practically, through, for example, enabling religious/ethical efforts to reframe, redirect, restore, replenish, renew, strengthen, or rebuild communities and the living world at the intersection of food, environment, and religion.


Class and Religion Unit:

We are seeking papers addressing the following themes: Solidarity between labor (productive and reproductive) and the environment, the inclusion of nature as subaltern class, the exploitation of the labor of our nonhuman kin, ecology as a site of solidarity. If in fact, most of us are the 99%, how might we begin to develop a sense of kinship with the natural world rather than seeking inclusion in the value system of the 1%?

Statement of Purpose

This Unit critically and constructively explores how human–Earth relations are shaped by religions, cultures, and understandings of nature and the environment. We are self-consciously inter- and multi-disciplinary and include methods from a variety of social sciences such as those found in the work of theologians, philosophers, religionists, ethicists, scientists, activist-scholars, sociologists, and anthropologists, among others. We also strive to be a radically inclusive unit and welcome papers that challenge the dominant Eurocentric environmental discourse while envisioning new conceptual frontiers.


Steering Committee Members



Review Process

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