Philosophy of Religion and the Environment 6TH ANNUAL • WEATHERFORD COLLEGE • FRIDAY & SATURDAY, APRIL 5-6, 2024

Call for Papers

The world, it seems, is at a crossroads regarding environmental responsibility. While religion is often seen as antagonistic to environmental concerns, there is a rich history of religion’s engagement with nature, our use of resources, and human responsibility of stewardship and care for the environment. From Judeo/Christian scriptural traditions in Genesis, Psalms, Luke, and Romans to Hindu scriptural traditions in the Yajurveda, many religions embed care for creation in its religious laws. Furthermore, religious figures such as John Calvin, while anthropocentric in his thinking, also endorsed human responsibility toward the environment. As recently as the 1970’s The National Council of Churches and the National Association of Evangelicals called for environmental conservation. Now, however, the environment has been weaponized and politicized in ways that muddy the waters which seemed so clear to many throughout history. To what extent do religious aims and environmental concerns become at odds or align? Is there common ground from which people of differing religious views can discuss these matters? Must we choose between progress and the environment or is there a path forward that preserves both our way of life as a species and the world we inhabit? In light of questions like these, Weatherford College is again pleased to host the 6th annual Philosophy of Religion Conference on the theme “Philosophy of Religion and the Environment,” on April 5-6, 2024.

Terra Schwerin Rowe, Ph.D. (Drew University) will deliver two Ben Arbour Memorial Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion and the Environment. Dr. Rowe serves on the faculty at the University of North Texas (UNT). Her current research focuses on imaginaries of matter and energy as they vitalize or obstruct capitalist extractivism. She is the founding co-chair of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) seminar on Energy, Extraction, and Religion; on the steering committee of the AAR’s Religion and Ecology unit; and a member of the Petrocultures Research Group.

In addition, a call for papers is being extended to professional philosophers, professionals interested in philosophy of religion, or students of philosophy of religion as well as any professional or student in a field intersecting philosophy of religion and the environment. Any proposal on the conference theme is welcome, including but not limited to the role of nature in religious experience, skepticism toward environmental issues and its epistemic challenges, the compatibility or tension between faith and science related to environmental issues, interfaith dialogue and collaboration concerning environmental issues, environmental justice and social equity, religiously motivated environmental action, the distinction between sacred and secular spaces, the use of nature themes in theological discourse, and the role of religion in environmental ethical responsibility. While proposals on the conference theme will be given special consideration, any proposal on any topic related to the philosophy of religion will be considered. Proposals must be 250-350 words and must be submitted no later than March 8, 2024. Proposals may be submitted to Greg Trickett at gtrickett@wc.edu. Presentations will be limited to a 45 minute time frame (approximately 30 minutes for presentation and 15 for Q & A). Presenters are encouraged to submit a full version of their paper for consideration in a possible published volume.

Registration and Pricing

Conference registration for Weatherford College faculty, staff, and students is free, but registration is still required (Weatherford College registrants may be required to show their school ID at the conference registration table). Registration for non-Weatherford attendees will be $40. In addition to the paper presentations and plenary sessions, there will be a Q & A dinner featuring our keynote speaker and some of our presenters at the close of the conference on Saturday. The dinner will be held at a local restaurant and will be self-pay.

The Arbour Memorial Lecture Series

Meet the Keynote Speaker

Dr. Terra Rowe

Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religion at University of North Texas

Terra Schwerin Rowe is associate professor in the Philosophy and Religion Department at the University of North Texas. She received a PhD in Theological and Philosophical Studies from Drew University and is author of Toward a 'Better Worldliness': Ecology, Economy, and the Protestant Tradition (2017, Fortress Press) and Of Modern Extraction: Experiments in Critical Petro-theology (2022 T&T Clark, Bloomsbury).

Her current research focuses on imaginaries of matter & energy as they vitalize or obstruct capitalist extractivism. She is founding co-chair of the AAR seminar on Energy, Extraction, and Religion; on the steering committee of the academy’s Religion and Ecology unit; and a member of the Petrocultures Research Group. Other recent publications include essays on oil, religion, vitalism, and new materialisms: “The Matter of Oil: Extraction Vitalisms and Enchantment” (in Bergmann, Rigby, and Scott (Eds.), Religion, Materialism and Ecology, 2023), “Oily Animations: On Protestantism and Petroleum” (in Bauman, Bray, and Eaton (Eds.), Immanent Religiosities, New Materialisms, and Planetary Thinking, 2023).

The Arbour Memorial Lecture Series

The keynote lectures for the Weatherford College Philosophy of Religion conference are named “The Arbour Memorial Lecture Series.” Ben Arbour was a dedicated husband to Meg Arbour, father to his four children, Wesley, Abby, Micah, and Noah, son to his parents Jimmy and Candy, brother to Drew, and friend to countless others. Tragically, in early November of 2020, Ben and his wife Meg were killed by a street car racer less than two blocks from their house. While the loss is undeniably devastating, the legacy that Ben and Meg left behind is truly inspiring.