F&ES 783Ea/REL903H / 2017-2018

Introduction to Religion and Ecology (Fall 1 Dates TBD)

Credits: 2
Fall 2017: Tu, 4:00-5:30, ISPS- A001

This course introduces the newly emerging field of religion and ecology and traces its development over the last several decades.  It explores human relations to the natural world as differentiated in religious and cultural traditions.  In particular, it investigates the symbolic and lived expressions of these interconnections in diverse religious texts, ethics, and practices. In addition, the course draws on the scientific field of ecology for an understanding of the dynamic processes of Earth's ecosystems.  The course explores parallel developments in human-Earth relations defined as religious ecologies.  Similarly, it identifies narratives that orient humans to the cosmos, namely, religious cosmologies. 

For many years science, engineering, policy, law, and economics were considered indispensable for understanding and resolving environmental problems. We now have abundant knowledge from these disciplines about environmental issues, but still not sufficient will to engage in long-term change for the flourishing of the Earth community. Thus, there is a growing realization that religion, spirituality, ethics, and values can make important contributions, in collaboration with science and policy, to address complex ecological issues. We will examine those contributions, acknowledging both the problems and promise of religions.  In addition, we view religion and ecology amid the broader emergence of environmental humanities, namely, the examination of the roles of humans in nature through the lens of history, literature, philosophy, music, and art.

F&ES 783 is a prerequisite for:
F&ES 784: Western Religions and Ecology