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Symposia/Conferences



CSRES hosts paired sequences of conferences on two year cycles reflecting on a theme of broad interest in the study of religion, ethics, and society. The current theme is "Wonder and the Natural World."



 CSRES 2016 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE



"Wonder and the Natural World"

20-23 June 2016
 Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana


KEYNOTE PRESENTER

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David Abram

David Abram, Ph.D., is a cultural ecologist and philosopher. He is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology (Pantheon, 2010), and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World (Vintage, 1997). An accomplished storyteller and sleight-of-hand magician who has lived and traded magic with indigenous sorcerers in Indonesia, Nepal, and the Americas, he lectures and teaches widely on several continents. His essays on the cultural causes and consequences of ecological disarray have appeared in such journals as Orion, Parabola, Environmental Ethics, Tikkun, Wild Earth, Resurgence, and The Ecologist, as well as in numerous edited anthologies.Dr. Abram’s work has helped catalyze the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. Named by both the Utne Reader and the British journal Resurgence as one of a hundred visionaries transforming contemporary culture, he has been the recipient of various awards and fellowships, including Rockefeller and Watson fellowships and the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction. Abram’s work engages the ecological depths of the imagination, exploring the ways in which sensory perception, poetics, and wonder inform our relation with the animate earth.



INVITED SPEAKERS



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Whitney Bauman

Whitney Bauman is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Florida International University. His teaching and research interests in Religious Studies fall within the broad field of “Religion and Ecology.” The driving question of his interests and commitments to the field is: How do religious beliefs, insights, doctrines, and practices shape the material-physical worlds around us? In his work, he analyzes how the “big questions” that allow us to explore and make sense of the world and the meaning of life have shaped the human relationship with the rest of the natural world.

larson photoBrendon Larson

Dr. Larson is Associate Professor at the Department of Environment and Resource Studies, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Canada. His research concerns the challenge of conserving ‘nature,’ in light of its extensive interweaving with humans: humans have modified habitats globally, are changing the climate and the soils, and are moving species around the planet, among many other effects. These changes are so dramatic that geologists now refer to this epoch as the Anthropocene (‘the era of humans’). Dr. Larson balances his background as an ecologist and naturalist, which allows him to understand first-hand what we’re losing, with his current social scientific research, which allows him to take a critical perspective on scientific knowledge and which provides some awareness of the range of perspectives of contemporary change. His current research ranges from synthetic collaborative work, to investigation of the role of metaphors in conceptualizing and communicating ecological/environmental change, to empirical research into how people conceptualize these changes and the extent to which policy is adapting to them.

natal photoJudy Natal

Judy Natal is a Chicago-based artist, Professor of Photography and Coordinator of the Graduate Program at Columbia College, author of EarthWords, published in 2004 by Light Work, and Neon Boneyard Las Vegas A-Z, published in 2006 by Center for American Places. Since 1997, Natal’s photographs have explored the visual narratives that landscapes and alterations to those landscapes hold.



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Michael Northcott

Michael Northcott is Professor at the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburg. His teaching and research is in the areas of Christian Ethics, ecology and religious ethics, and economy and ethics. He has published 12 books and over 70 academic papers. He has been visiting professor at the Claremont School of Theology, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Flinders University, and the University of Malaya.

Sarah Pike

pikeSarah Pike is Professor of Religious Studies at California State University, Chico. Her training is in religion in America and her research and teaching blend ethnographic and historical methods and materials with an ongoing interest in media and popular culture. In her courses, she explores the relationship between religion and ethnicity, identity and cultural expression. Professor Pike is particularly interested in points of conflict and tension within and between religious communities. Her research has focused on ritual studies and new religious movements and she has written numerous books, articles and book reviews on topics including the New Age movement and the Burning Man festival. Much of her current research focuses on the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Professor Pike is particularly interested in points of conflict and tension within and between religious communities. Her research has focused on ritual studies and new religious movements and she has written numerous books, articles and book reviews on topics including the New Age movement and the Burning Man festival. Much of her current research focuses on the relationship between humans and the natural environment.

sanders photoScott Russell Sanders

Scott Russell Sanders is the author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction. From 1971 until his retirement in 2009, he taught at Indiana University, from 1995 onward as Distinguished Professor of English. His writing examines the human place in nature, the pursuit of social justice, the relation between culture and geography, and the search for a spiritual path. His recent books include A Private History of Awe, a coming-of-age memoir, love story, and spiritual testament; A Conservationist Manifesto, his vision of a shift from a culture of consumption to a culture of caretaking; and Earth Works, a selection of his best essays from the past thirty years. His latest book is the novel Divine Animal, a story of healing. He is currently at work on a collection of short stories, a book about the meaning of wealth, and a collection of essays about the role of writing in an age of climate disruption.

julia thomasJulia Adeney Thomas

Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology, received the John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association in 2002 and her essay on wartime memory in Japan, “Photography, National Identity, and the ‘Cataract of Times:’ Wartime Images and the Case of Japan” in the American Historical Review received the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ Best Article of the Year Award in 1999.  She brings her research interests into the classroom teaching courses that range from Neolithic Japan to politics and the environment, from comparative fascism to contemporary questions of photography’s relationship with suffering. Her current work also engages with Anthropocene narratives, science, and what it means to be human.

van wierenGretel Van Wieren

Gretel Van Wieren is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University where her courses focus on religion, ethics, and the environment.  She is author of the book, Restored to Earth: Christianity, Environmental Ethics, and Ecological Restoration (Georgetown University Press, 2013), and a paper based on a study (with Stephen R. Kellert) on “The Origins of Aesthetic and Spiritual Values in Children’s Experience of Nature” (Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 2013).  Dr. Van Wieren is a participant in the Values Roundtable of the New Academy for Nature and Culture, an informal coalition of scholars who have come together to explore a new theory of values for environmental thinking. Her current book project is on religious responses to key issues in food ethics.



Click here for information on the CSRES inaugural "Wonder and the Natural World" spring 2015 symposium.