Graduate Conference in Religion & Ecology: Ethos, Ethics, and the Environment

Event time: 
Friday, April 21, 2017 - 12:00am
409 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

The Yale Divinity School’s environmental student interest groups FERNS and YDAWG, in collaboration with the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, and the Yale Graduate & Professional Student Senate are excited to announce the first Graduate Conference in Religion & Ecology (GCRE). Following the 20th anniversary conference of the World Religion and Ecology Conference series at Harvard.

The conference’s theme, Ethos, Ethics, and the Environment, reflects a desire to provide a space for students to engage in dynamic, interdisciplinary conversations across curricular boundaries, and strives to connect ethos with ethics, and ethics to applicable practicality. How do beliefs about the environment affect the use of and engagement with the natural world?

As an international interdisciplinary conference, we have students presenting on Environmental Studies, Environmental Humanities, Forestry, Conservation, History, Historiography, Social Sciences, Food Studies, Philosophy, Ethics & Morals, Theology, Religious Studies, Animal Ethics, Law & Policy, and Business & Management, among others. We have strongly encouraged interdisciplinary work across these topics to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of this conference. Our presenters range from undergraduate students to PhD candidates, and even include farm & faith professionals who are implementing our academic work in the workplace.

Interested attendees are welcome to come and watch students present. We recommend an RSVP by April 15th to to accommodate seating and room preparation. Admission is free to the public. Lunch is provided for conference presenters, and the Yale Divinity School Refectory will be open for attendees to purchase food and beverages. An updated conference program will be posted mid-March.

If you have questions, please direct them to We look forward to having you at the first Graduate Conference in Religion & Ecology.

Hours of operation: 

SCHEDULE | Yale Divinity School, RSV ROOM - Printable schedule (pdf)

8:00AM - 8:20AM Breakfast & Opening Remarks

8:25AM - 9:35AM Panel 1 – Art, Literature, and Philosophy

Shame, Society, and the Spiral Jetty: A Response to Ecological Violence through the Art of Robert Smithson, Anna Thurston, M.A.R. Candidate, Religion & Visual Arts, Yale Divinity School

Fertile Grund: Tillichian Ground Rematerialized as Soil, O’neil Van Horn, M.A. Candidate, Religion and Ecology, Drew University

“The Poem of Creation”: Thoreau’s View of Nature in Walden, Colin Devine, M.A.R. Candidate, Philosophical Theology, Yale Divinity School

Cultivating a Political [Eco]Theology of Displacement, Jennifer Maidrand, M.A. Candidate, Drew Theological School

9:40AM – 10:50AM Panel 2 – Christian Traditions

From Stewardship to Creation Spirituality: The Evolving Ecological Ethos of Catholic Doctrine, Lukas Szrot, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Kansas

Sin & Sex After Darwin: Reinventing Sexual Ethics in Light of the New Story, Michael Taylor Ross, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto

God-Given Right: A theology of Private Property Rights, Mary M. Bathory Vidaver, M.Div. Candidate, Yale Divinity School

Fifty Shades of Green: Moving from “Orthodoxy” to “Orthopraxis” in Assessing the Ecological Impact of Christian Monasticism, Stefano Zordan, Ph.D.  

10:55AM - 12:05PM Panel 3 – Non-Christian Perspectives

Food as Dharma: An Engaged-Buddhist Eco-Theology of Foodways, Solomon Pesach, Buddhist Studies, Marlboro College

A Comparative Ecofeminist Study of Carol Christ’s Goddess Theory and Hindu Spiritualty, Jeffrey Holmes, M.A. Candidate, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Education that Transforms: Exploring the Roles of Sacredness, Wonder, and Nature in Schools with a Case Study on Educational Practices among Lakota Peoples, Jordan Boudreau, Yale University

The Bhagavad Gita and Ecology: Death, Detachment, and Devotion, John Kennedy, M.Div. Candidate, Yale Divinity School

12:05PM - 1:00PM Lunch & Plenary – Food & Faith

Deeper Than Belief, Nathan T. Stucky, Ph.D. Princeton Theological Seminary, Director of the Farminary Project

Food as a Religious Act in Baltimore, Darriel Harris, Ph.D. Candidate, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Coordinator of the Baltimore Food and Faith Project

1:05PM - 2:15PM Panel 4 – Religion and Animals

The Buffalo Teacher: A Biomimetic Interpretation of Bovine Veneration, Tom Berendt, Ph.D. Candidate, Temple University

And Say the Sea of Galilee Responded? Dong Hyeon Jeong, Ph.D. Candidate, Drew University

Speaking of Home: Companion Animals, Ethics, and End-of-Life Care, Amy Defibaugh, Ph.D. Candidate, Religion, Temple University

The Rational Elephant in the Room: Kant and Ethical Considerations on Wildlife Tourism in Thailand, Sean Massa, M.A.R. Candidate, Yale Divinity School

2:20PM - 3:30PM Panel 5 – Judeo-Christian Scripture

Land as “Text” Prior to Text: How Interpreting Land Relates to Interpreting Scripture(s), Daniel R. Nasry, M.Div. Candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary

Limited Dominion: The Answer to the Relationship Between the Bible and Ecology, Adam Kelley, M.Div. Candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary

Vineyard and Lamentation: The Relationship Between Land and Person in Amos 5:1-17, Mark A. Almquist-Murray, M.Div. Candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary

Listening to the Waters: Ecomimetic Interpretation of Genesis 16:1-16 & 21:8-21, Becky Copeland, Ph.D. Candidate, Emory University

3:35PM - 4:00PM Coffee & Music

Marshall Island, Hilary Purrington, Music Composition, Yale University

Marquand Chapel

4:00PM - 5:10PM Panel 6 – Law & Business

Intellectual Property Rights, Privilege, Power and Biblical Ethics, Gregory I. Simpson, S.T.M. Candidate, Union Theological Seminary

The Spiritual Principles of Restorative Justice and the Efficiency Principles of Modern Capitalism: A Path to Reconciliation? Nikos Valance, M.Div. Candidate, Claremont School of Theology

REI and American Spirituality in “The Outdoors”, Wes Willison, M.Div. Candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary

Problems of Disembodied Ethics, Masculinity, Militarization: Implications for #NoDAPL and the US-Mexico Border, Jamison Stallman, M.A. Candidate, Union Theological Seminary 

5:15PM - 6:25PM Panel 7 – Urban Ecologies 

Integral Ecology and the Science of Settings; “Green Visions” for All, Diego Leskovar, Ph.D. Candidate, Drew University

From Renewal to Re-Greening: Shaping Community Identity, Wellbeing, and Relatedness in Harlem Park, West Baltimore, Amber Collett, MESc, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Apocalypse Can Wait: A vision of Environmentalism and Urbanization, Dawrell Rich, Ph.D. Candidate, Drew Theological Seminary

Conservation and the Church: Five Case Studies Exploring Why Environmental Awareness, Advocacy, and Ministry are Lacking in Christian Congregations, Nathan S. Empsall, M.Div. and M.E.M. Candidate, Yale University

6:30PM - 8:30PM Group Dinner