October 31-November 2, 2014
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
“Religion and the Natural Elements” aims to cultivate new ways of thinking about religion and the natural world. The conference will focus on religion’s intersections with aspects of nature, from the environment, climate, flora, and fauna, to human interactions with the natural, in the form of spirits, gods and goddesses, and miracles, exploring the relationships among ecosystems, religious practice, and religious thought.
The study of these intersections is not limited to any one methodology or discourse. Papers will explore the modes by which humans interact with the natural world in ritual practice, in religious text, and in theological inquiry. A striking example might be the financial and theological responses of international religious organizations to the devastation of Typhoon Hayian in the Philippines in 2013. Papers might also address contemporary and/or historical issues of environmental change, cosmology, bioethics, evolution, or natural symbolism, among other topics that contemplate the natural environment, lived religion, and religious reflection.