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Water reflecting trees and light, cows visible on grassland above.

As evidence of the environmental crisis mounts, science is unable to respond fast enough. Nor can science sway hearts, minds, and actions as rapidly and transformatively as needed. 

The Religion and Ecology reading group sets out to attend to articulations of religion and the environment that offer a view into varied ways of thinking, being, and doing with nature. These themes tend to be overlooked in mainstream conversations about climate change, environmentalism, and sustainability. 

The reading group aims to foster interdisciplinary discussion about human–environment relations in, through, and around religious lifeworlds.

The group will meet approximately once per month. Upcoming sessions are included in CIP events listings, together with details of the suggested reading. The length of readings will vary, including a recommended portion for those with limited time.

This activity is part of the Religion & Global Challenges Initiative. The organisers hope this collaborative exercise of reading and discussion may prompt new collaborations and discussions for researchers at the University of Cambridge. The group is also open to others with an interest in the subject matter.

About the convenors

The reading group is convened by Professor Esra Özyürek, Academic Director of the Cambridge Interfaith Programme, and Dr Anastasia Badder.

Professor Esra Özyürek is Sultan Qaboos Professor of Abrahamic Faiths and Shared Values at the University of Cambridge. A political anthropologist, her body of work comprehends questions of conversion and identity, migration and citizenship. CIP’s Religion and Global Challenges Initiative is central to her vision for the Cambridge Interfaith Programme. 

Dr Anastasia Badder recently completed a fieldwork and literature study of the relationships between water use, religion, and belief, speaking with interlocutors in the Cambridge area. Her academic expertise is also anthropological, combining interests in multilingualism and citizenship, with education and Jewish identities.

Readings

This list of (past and upcoming) readings is intended to assist those joining. Links are to the relevant event pages. 

1: Thinking like a River (Franz Krause, 2023)

2: Braiding Sweetgrass (Robin Wall Kimmerer, 2020)

3: Reading the River (Anne Rademacher, 2011)

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