TFF3390 – Religion and Ecology
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
What is the relationship between religion and nature? What are the various ways in which religions have responded to the environmental crisis? What are the particular symbolic, mythic, ritual and ethical resources employed in our contemporary age (the age of the anthropocene) to develop ecological theologies (ecotheologies) and philosophies? Which critical potential does theology offer in relation to apocalyptic scenarios and religious activism? To what extent are ontological, ethical, and epistemological issues affected by ecological issues? And, finally, why should we care?
In this course we explore the intersections and entanglements of religion and ecology and invite students to critically reflect upon the ways in which notions of being and becoming (broadly conceptualized) are informed by religious beliefs, ethics and practices, whilst also depending on ecological contexts (local and global) wherein environmental degradation manifests in multiple ways. In addition to focusing on religious worldviews and practices, we explore the philosophical perspective of deep ecology and investigate the ways in which this eco-centric paradigm has been taken up by religious and activist groups. Finally, the course discusses liturgical and spiritual responses to the ecological crisis (such as pilgrimage) and the emergence of ecological movements that have responded by means of engaging in forms of ritualized activism to bring about global transformation
• To develop students’ critical understanding of the role and relevance of religion in contemporary society
• To provide students with an in-depth understanding of the relationship between religion and ecology
• To provide students with the skills to engage critically and constructively in normative controversies from philosophical and theological perspectives
• To provide students with a thorough theoretical and methodological framework for analyzing the relationship between religion and ecology
• To provide students with the ability to critically engage the various ways in which environmental challenges is a religious issue
• To provide students with the competence to make a unique contribution to the field of religion and ecology
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The classes are seminars and active participation is expected. The seminar consists of a total of thirty-two hours. These are divided into eight seminar sessions of four hours each during the course of the semester. During the four hour seminar there will be given short lectures to introduce new themes/subthemes and short student presentations of relevant texts. Priority is given to discussion, application and reflection exercises in relation to primary themes.
• For each seminar, each student is to prepare a 1 page reflection note engaging the primary theme for the seminar. A total of six reflection notes during the course of the semester.
• Presentation of research paper outline.
The portfolio should contain the following:
1. Reflection essay: Select one of the primary themes we have engaged with in our seminars and write a reflection essay 2000-2500 words.
2. Research paper 5000 Words.
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