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Religion and nature: redefining belief and practice in the face of the environmental crisis I 
Victoria Hegner (Göttingen University)
Peter Jan Margry (University of Amsterdam Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
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Tuesday 22 June, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

For religions, nature is a revealing context for orienting humans to the questions regarding the role of humans in relation with non-humans. In view of current debates on the ecological crisis the panel draws close to the ways, religions reshape assumptions about nature and how to interrelate to it.

Long Abstract

For religious worldviews and practices, nature is a revealing context for orienting humans to the questions regarding the cosmological origins of the universe, and the role of humans in relation to life processes. In the context of current debates on climate change and crisis, on mass extinctions and pandemic diseases, religious groups and protagonists assert the need to include awareness of environmental issues into religious ways of thinking about the world. Some groups start to break away from or fundamentally recontextualize long-hold religious assumptions about what nature means and how to interrelate to it.

The panel draws closer to the shifts of the "religion-nature" interdependence that catalyze in times of profound ecological transformations. We are interested in a broad set of questions and foci, for example:

How exactly do (radical) environmental changes recast the idea of the religious and the sacred?

How do religions in past or present symbolically and ritually negotiate relationships with their transforming environment?

What role do other species - non-humans, i.e. animals, plants - play within religious (knowledge) systems and practices and their (re)negotiation?

In what manner does the changing 'scientific' knowledge of nature reshape the relation of nature and religion and how does religious understanding inform scientific understanding?

Have threats to the natural environment stimulated the rise of nature-oriented religions, and in what way? Etcetera...

By inviting papers with diverse methodological and theoretical perspectives we aim to contribute to the intense debate on the "nature-culture" entanglement and the role of environmental crisis play in it

Accepted papers: