TFF4390 – Religion and Ecology

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Course content

What is the relationship between religion and nature? What role can religious groups and leaders play in addressing climate change and other environmental challenges? And what are the various ways in which religions have responded to these challenges? What are the spiritual dimensions of activist groups engaged in environmental protection (e.g. Extinction Rebellion)?

In this course, we explore the intersections and entanglements of religion and ecology and invite students to critically reflect upon the role of religion in solving environmental challenges and deepening environmental concern. We will discuss how religion informs human relationships with nature and in what ways Western forms of Christianity may have contributed to our current environmental crisis. At the same time, we will explore how faith communities increasingly address environmental challenges and through which channels they facilitate (or prevent) transformative efforts toward more environmentally sustainable societies

In addition to focusing on traditional “world religions”, we will explore new forms of spirituality within environmental movements. Finally, the course discusses ritual, psychotechnic and spiritual responses to the ecological crisis (such as the performance of activist eco-liturgies) and the emergence of ecological movements that have responded by means of reclaiming Indigenous spiritualities in order to bring about global transformation.

Learning outcome

  • To develop students’ critical understanding of the role and relevance of religion in contemporary society.
  • To provide students with an understanding of the relationship between religion and ecology and in what ways religions (including spirituality) are relevant for environmental challenges such as climate change.
  • To provide students with knowledge concerning the ways in which religious traditions can address environmental challenges and enable them to analyse this intersection along a theoretical framework.
  • To provide students with skills to critically reflect on the potentials of religion to facilitate (or prevent) transformative processes toward more environmentally sustainable societies.
  • To enable students with the skills to develop research questions in the academic field of climate change and religion and design a contribution to the field of religion and ecology.
  • Pertaining to general competencies, the course provides students with the ability to systematize knowledge, critically reflect on this knowledge, and practice oral summaries of knowledge.

Admission

Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Teaching

The classes are seminars and active participation is expected. The seminar consists of a total of twenty-six hours. During the seminars, 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. The language of this course is English.

Mandatory requirements:

  • For selected seminar meetings (approx. 6 meetings), students prepare a reflection note (approx. 200 words) engaging with the primary theme and the reading for the seminar, identifying relevance of the topic for current public issues.
  • A co-written research summary (1500-2500 words) prepared and discussed throughout the semester and the presentation of the paper at the end of the semester.
  • A peer-review of another group's paper (approx. 400-600 words).

All the aforementioned items of the examination must be provided in English language.

Examination

Portfolio

The portfolio should contain the following:

  • 3 reflection notes, 600-800 words (20%)
  • Co-written research summary, 1500-2500 words (50%)
  • Peer-review, 400-600 words (30%)

In total: 2500-3900 words.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course

Credits

10

Level

Master

Teaching

Autumn 2021

Examination

Autumn 2021

Teaching language

English