Dispatches from the Rhodian Shore: A (Tough) Love Letter io Religious Studies
By Todd Levasseur
February 10, 2021
When writing as critical scholars of religion about the impacts and role of religion in society we need to broaden our remit, and must do so quickly. Let me explain why.
It’s probably best to start with environmental history, thus the name for this dispatch. It’s a riff on the geographer Clarence Glacken’s magisterial 1967 opus with the completely accessible title, Traces on the Rhodian Shore: Nature and Culture in Western Thought from Ancient Times to the End of the Eighteenth Century. The book is similarly dry, but oh so full of important facts and syntheses of Western (and of course, sadly, male) intellectual thought about interactions between humans and nature. Glacken condenses 2000 years of Western thought about nature to three themes, the third of which I’m interested in here: “the idea of man [sic] as a geographic agent.”