This course examines the relationship between spirituality and the human encounter with the environment in history and today. Beginning with an examination of some of the ancient, Medieval and early modern religious foundations of ecology and the environmental movement, the course moves on to focus on contemporary green theology, the practice of religious environmentalism and the interaction between religious traditions and the environmental sciences and technologies. It engages with primary sources from and scholarship about Western (Abrahamic), Eastern (Dharmic) and indigenous religions, along with twenty-first-century green theology, religious environmentalism, ecofeminist perspectives and Dark Green Religion. Grounded in the history of science and technology, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to its themes, incorporating historical, literary, theological, political, sociological and philosophical perspectives.
This course can be used as an elective for the Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS) Program.
Students enrolled in this course are eligible for the Dr. Rowland Marshall History of Science and Technology Prize in Ecology and Environment. An award will go to the student with the best research essay written in Engineering the Planet: the Anthropocene Era, from Prehistory to Today’s Global Crisis, Ecology and Religion, and Environmentalism: origins, ideals and critique each year. The prize value is between $800 and $1,000.