REECS: the Religion & Ecology Early-Career Scholars Reading Group

Russell Powell

Religion & Ecology Early-Career Scholars (REECS) is a new international and interdisciplinary reading group that aims to create a network of connection and support for early-career scholars (loosely defined as those working on their dissertations to pre-tenured faculty) working in the field of religion and ecology (broadly defined).  Meetings will take place on Zoom and any interested early-career scholar in religion and ecology is invited to join. 


Religion and ecology is now an established subfield within the broader discipline of religious studies, with its own small canon of major publications, peer-reviewed journals, and well-known scholars.  This reading group is a chance to drive conversations in the field forward, to turn the theory and method of religion and ecology towards otherwise understudied areas and to connect religion and ecology with new developments in related fields in environmental studies. 


The group’s aims are threefold: (1) to support meaningful regular conversations about new horizons of inquiry in religion and ecology; (2) to maximize on the internationality and interdisciplinarity of religion and ecology as a field, putting different scholars into conversation with one another across traditional disciplinary lines; and (3) to provide an additional network for building new relationships in the field on the basis of group members’ engagement with each other’s ideas and research pursuits. 


Here’s how things will work: Meetings will occur via Zoom once or twice a month during the traditional (American) academic year.  At each hour-long meeting, six randomly selected members of the reading group will have the opportunity to gather and discuss (a) a significant new publication in the field or (b) a group member’s work-in-progress (in which case the author will join the discussion).  While only the predetermined six discussants will take part in the Zoom conversation during a given meeting, everyone else in the reading group will be invited to listen in on the conversation (making each Zoom meeting a “fishbowl” conversation, so to speak).  Non-participating group members can choose to engage these discussions by using the Zoom chat feature. 


Reading group members will never be assigned a discussant role at successive monthly meetings.  This way, REECS hopes to maximize on the diversity of voices in its ranks (as well as prevents members’ group-related responsibilities from becoming unduly burdensome). 



If you are interested in joining REECS, please contact Russell Powell ( and/or Timothy Grieve-Carlson ( to let us know you’d like to be added to the reading group.  Meetings are slated to begin in March 2021. See the episode of Forum Spotlights below for additional information.