Religion & Ecology Sessions at Virtual AAR 2020

Tara C. Trapani

From November 29-December 10, 2020, the American Academy of Religion will hold its first-ever virtual annual meeting, in response to the CoVid crisis. To help you prepare for this online event, we've pulled together a list of sessions of interest to those in the field of Religion and Ecology. If the entire session is of interest, we've provided only the general information. If there is just an individual paper in the session that is of interest, we've listed the paper author and title. Sessions which appear to have a focus on ecojustice are indicated by an asterix (*). For more information on any of these sessions, go to the searchable AAR online Program Book or access the PDF version here.


Monday, November 30

11:00 AM-1:00 PM (EST UTC-5)
Buddhist Critical-Constructive Reflection Unit
Theme: Joanna Macy and the Work of Our Time (Shambhala, 2020)

1:45 PM-3:15 PM (EST UTC-5)
Religion and Food Unit
Theme: New England, Thanksgiving, and the American Context
Paper: Lydia Willsky-Ciollo, Fairfield University “Not-so Forbidden Fruits”: Wild Apples, Thoreau, and the Tasteful Sacrament of Healing

4:00 PM-5:30 PM (EST UTC-5)
Buddhist Philosophy Unit
Theme: Buddhism and Animal Ethics


Tuesday, December 1

11:00 AM-1:00 PM (EST UTC-5)
Religion and Ecology Unit
Theme: Religion and Ecological Futures

Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit
*Theme: Rising the Feathered Serpent: A First Flight Over Indigenous Contemplative Traditions

1:45 PM-3:15 PM (EST UTC-5)
*Practical Theology Unit
Theme: Vulnerability, Dignity and the Ecological Crisis

4:00 PM-5:30 PM (EST UTC-5)
Mysticism Unit and Platonism and Neoplatonism Unit and Pragmatism and Empiricism in American Religious Thought Unit
Theme: Mysticism and Ecology: On Willemien Otten's “Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking: From Eriugena to Emerson” (Stanford University Press, 2020)


Wednesday, December 2

1:45 PM-3:15 PM (EST UTC-5)
Religion and Ecology Unit
Theme: Looking Back to Move Forward: The Legacies of McFague, Edwards, and Ruether

Open and Relational Theologies Unit
Theme: Moral Injury, Interdependence, and Nature: Open & Relational Perspectives

Evangelical Studies Unit
Theme: Evangelical Political Identities
Paper: Caleb Brown, Regent's Park College, the University of Oxford: Liberty University and the Ecological Import of “Fill the Earth, and Subdue it”: A Dialogue Between Two Nexus of Evangelical Identities


Thursday, December 3

1:45 PM-3:15 PM (EST UTC-5)
Religion and Ecology Unit and Study of Islam Unit
Theme: New Book Roundtable: Anna M. Gade's Muslim Environmentalisms: Religious and Social Foundations (Columbia University Press, 2019)

4:00 PM-5:30 PM (EST UTC-5)
Mysticism Unit
Theme: Mysticism in the Wild: Ecology and Nature in the Mystic Frame

4:00 PM-6:00 PM (EST UTC-5)
North American Religions Unit and Religion and Economy Unit
Theme: Religious Liberty Incorporated
Paper: Dana Lloyd, Washington University, St. Louis: From Corporate Personhood to Environmental Personhood

4:00 PM-6:30 PM (EST UTC-5)
*Native Traditions in the Americas Unit
Theme: Sacred Lands and Waters: Legal Challenges in Indigenous Efforts to Protect Sacred Spaces


Monday, December 7

11:00 AM-1:00 PM (EST UTC-5)
Animals and Religion Unit and Study of Judaism Unit
Theme: Roundtable on Critical Animal Studies and Jewish Studies: Intersections, Open Questions, New Directions

Ethics Unit
Theme: New Directions in Religious Ethics
Caleb Brown, Regent's Park College, the University of Oxford: Acts of God and Humans: Addressing the Monotheistic Tension Between Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility in Ecological Ethics
Fred Simmons, Princeton Theological Seminary: Evolutionary Biology, Ecological Crisis, and the Character of Christian Salvation History

*Religion and Ecology Unit
Theme: Religion, Ecology, Coloniality and Settler Colonialism: Life at the Intersection
Business Meeting Forrest Clingerman, Ohio Northern University, Presiding

4:00 PM-5:30 PM (EST UTC-5)
Ethics Unit and Science, Technology, and Religion Unit
Theme: Ethical Implications of Scientific Theories

4:00 PM-6:00 PM (EST UTC-5)
Religion and Food Unit
Theme: Religion and Food in Global Perspective


Tuesday, December 8

11:00 AM-1:00 PM (EST UTC-5)
Contemplative Studies Unit
Theme: Creating Communities of Care Through Contemplative Praxis
Paper: Colin Simonds, Queen's University at Kingston: Buddhist Moral Phenomenology, the Ecological Crisis, and the Ethical Implications of Contemplative Practice

1:45 PM-3:15 PM (EST UTC-5)
Religion, Memory, History Unit
Theme: Mounds, Burial Grounds, and Memory: The Ethics and Politics of Claiming and Stewarding Land on Turtle Island

4:00 PM-5:30 PM (EST UTC-5)
Class, Religion, and Theology Unit and Religion and Disability Studies Unit and Religion and Ecology Unit and Religion and Migration Unit
*Theme: Survivance, Integrity, Divine Economies and Habitats: the Ecological Crisis and Vulnerable Peoples

Religion and Human Rights Unit
*Theme: Activism, Sacred Space, and the Human
Paper: James Waters, Florida State University: Kinship, Activism, & Sacred Space: How the Standing Rock Sioux Expanded Human Rights to Their More-Than-Human Tribe


Wednesday, December 9

11:00 AM-1:00 PM (EST UTC-5)
Animals and Religion Unit
Theme: Ritualizing and Remembering Animal Death

Space, Place, and Religion Unit
Theme: Place and Religious Performance
Paper: Hans Olsson, University of Copenhagen: The Performance of God’s Champion Farmer: Place-Making, (Environmental) Restoration and Charismatic Christianity in South Africa

Exploratory Sessions
Theme: Jewish Theology Today
Paper: Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, Arizona State University: Jewish Theology for the Anthropocene: Ethics of Care and Responsibility


Thursday, December 10

11:00 AM-1:00 PM (EST UTC-5)
Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit and Religion and Ecology Unit
*Theme: Indigenous Ecologies: Trees, Temples, Texts, and Sacred Territory in an Era of Climate Change

4:00 PM-5:30 PM (EST UTC-5)
Platonism and Neoplatonism Unit
Theme: Nature

Tibetan and Himalayan Religions Unit
Theme: Interspecies Relations in Tibet and the Himalayas