2016 – Religion, Science and the Future | University of Gainesville, Florida (Jan 14-17, 2016)
The ISSRNC celebrated its 10th Anniversary by returning to the University of Florida, where its inaugural meeting was held in 2006. Over 140 scholars presented their work exploring the religion/nature nexus on a wide range of topics to 260 registered conference participants, including a number who had received international travel grants.
Highlights of the conference included a full-day workshop on “the Greening of Religion Hypothesis” with over thirty participants; Professor Sarah Pike’s Presidential Address, “Mourning Nature: The Work of Grief in Radical Environmentalism”; presentations by <#featured>14 prominent scholars from diverse disciplines wrestling with the conference theme (including several of the world’s most influential indigenous thinkers); the first-ever awarding of the ISSRNC’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Philosopher J. Baird Callicott; a post-conference field trip led by Francis “Jack” Putz, one of Earth’s foremost forest ecologists, to two, outstanding environmental systems (a local prairie and wetland full of gators supervised by circling eagles and vultures), and an example of one of the remaining fragments of long-leaf pine forests, which were once managed with fire by the region’s indigenous peoples, later largely supplanted by European settlers and agro-ecosystems.
Evenings concluded with warm socials as members lingered over conversations well into the night. One evening social included appreciative comments from Kent Fuchs, President of the University of Florida. To top this off, our final evening featured a festive banquet with reflections on the field from Professor Callicott. You can read his remarks here.
Looking forward, the ISSRNC has established working groups to promote further research, including some of which will be featured in future issues of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. With this conference the ISSRNC is well positioned – both intellectually and financially – to promote critical enquiry into the religious and spiritual dimensions of biocultural evolution well into the future.
The conference was made possible in part by a grant written by ISSRNC founder Bron Taylor to the John Templeton Foundation, supplemented by generous donations from The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, The University of Florida’s Division of Research and its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, its Center for Spirituality and Health, and Department of Religion.
J. Baird Callicott is the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy and has served as the President of the International Society for Environmental Ethics, Yale University as Bioethicist-in-Residence, and as Visiting Senior Research Scientist for the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center as funded by the National Science Foundation. He is also the ISSRNC’s inaugural 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
Graham Harvey is Professor of Religious Studies at the Open University, UK and was the President of the British Association for the Study of Religions from 2011-15.
Ursula Goodenough is Professor of Biology at Washington University and President of the Religious Naturalist Association.
Ailton Krenak , an indigenous activist for human rights, born in the region of Vale do Rio Doce, Minas Gerais, Brazil, is the Executive Director of the Nucleus for Indigenous Culture, an NGO that he idealized and programmer for the Festival of Indigenous Dances and Cultures in Serra do Cipó (Minas Gerais). Twitter: @AiltonKrenak
Winona LaDuke the Executive Director of Honor the Earth, a national Native advocacy organization, is also an author, an economist, a community organizer on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, has been Vice Presidential candidate in l996 and 2000, with Ralph Nader. Twitter: @WinonaLaduke
Timothy James LeCain is Associate Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, USA. Twitter: @timothylecain
İbrahim Özdemir is Professor of Philosophy and the Founding President of Hasan Kalyoncu University. Currently, he is an advisor at ?pek University.
Lisa H. Sideris is the Director Indiana University Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics, and Society. She is an associate professor in the Religious Studies department at Indiana University. Twitter: @lhsideris
Emma Tomalin is the Director of the Centre for Religion and Public Life and a Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Leeds.
Bron Taylor is Professor of Religion and Nature at the University of Florida and a Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich Germany. Twitter: @BronTaylor
Kocku von Stuckrad is Professor of Religious Studies and, since 2013, the Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Twitter: @KvStuckrad
Jace Weaver is the Franklin Professor of Native American Studies and the director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of
Kyle Whyte holds the Timnick Chair in the Humanities in the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University. Twitter: @kylepowyswhyte
David Sloan Wilson is Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University, USA. Twitter: @David_S_Wilson