2015-2016 Classes

Fall 2015

Thomas Berry: Life & Thought - Hybrid Course (September - October)

REL 911H

Wednesday 4:00-5:15pm

J. Grimm, M. Tucker

Thomas Berry (1914–2009) was a historian of religions who was an early and significant voice awakening religious sensibilities to the environmental crisis. He is particularly well known for articulating a “Universe Story” that explores the world-changing implication of evolutionary sciences. This six-week hybrid online course investigates the life and thought of Thomas Berry in relation to the field of religion and ecology as well as the Journey of the Universe project. As an overview course it draws on his books, articles, and recorded lectures to examine such ideas as the New Story, the Great Work, and the Ecozoic era. In addition, the course explores Berry’s studies in world religions including Buddhism, Confucianism, and indigenous traditions. Finally, the course highlights his challenge to Christianity to articulate theologies of not only divine-human relations, but also human-Earth relations This is an online hybrid course; no shopping after Sept 2.

There will be a special introduction (and shopping period) to the course on Wednesday September 2nd: ISPS classroom A002

Please join the course on ClassesV2 or email erik.norell@yale.edu to access the syllabus in advance and receive an invite to the online system.

Journey of the Universe - Hybrid Course (October- December)

REL 912H

Wednesday 4:00-5:15pm

J. Grimm, M. Tucker

This six-week hybrid course draws on the resources created in the Journey of the Universe project—a film, a book, and a series of twenty interviews with scientists and environmentalists. Journey of the Universe weaves together the discoveries of evolutionary science with cosmological understandings found in the religious traditions of the world. The authors explore cosmic evolution as a creative process based on connection, interdependence, and emergence. The Journey project also presents an opportunity to investigate the daunting ecological and social challenges of our times. This course examines a range of dynamic interactions and interdependencies in the emergence of galaxies, Earth, life, and human communities. It brings the sciences and humanities into dialogue to explore the ways in which we understand evolutionary processes and the implications for humans and our ecological future. This is a two-credit course. For Divinity Students only the course will include a three-credit option. Area V.

Christianity & Ecology

REL 969

Monday 1:30-3:20

M. Riley

This course explores the ways in which Christianity is responding to environmental degradation from an interdisciplinary perspective. In this course, we will draw upon insights from theology, ethics, the history of religion, the sociology of religion, and philosophy. While we will examine the role that religious ideas and values play in shaping Christian attitudes and actions towards the environment, we will also consider the lived-experiences of Christians facing environmental problems. Students will be introduced to the major theologies and strategies for action that Christians are creating while simultaneously assessing the effectiveness of such strategies and examining the growth of pragmatic, on-the-ground responses. This is intended to be an introduction to a broad spectrum of issues residing at the intersection of Christianity and ecology. No prior experience is necessary.

Towards Science Communication with Impact

REL 984

T/TH 1-2:30

Paul Lussier

This course explores the unique dilemmas - and untapped opportunities - in communicating climate change and related environmental sciences. Most professional people aren’t environmental scientists and don’t directly experience global warming in a manner that is readily apparent. As a result, both the public and policy makers tend to experience climate change as communicated by media and narrative, whose relationship to science is often challenging and counterproductive.

More than a manner of trying out new, more imaginative and exciting ways to engage policymakers and the public, this class explores emerging interdisciplinary-based communication models towards more impactful and constructive messaging.


Spring 2016

Introduction to Religion and Ecology - Hybrid Course (January-March)

J. Grim, M. Tucker

This course introduces the newly emerging field of religion and ecology amid the broader emergence of environmental humanities. It does so by exploring human relations to the natural world as differentiated in religious and cultural traditions, religious cosmologies, and religious ecologies.

Western Religion and Ecology - Hybrid Course (March-May)

J. Grim, M. Tucker

This course introduces the Western religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in relation to the emerging field of religion and ecology. To do so, it investigates theological concepts, on-the-ground environmental projects, religious texts, and more to highlight the ecological implications of these traditions in the contemporary period.

Christianity and Environmental Ethics - Regular Course

M. Riley

The purpose of this course is to provide and introduction to core questions, moral frameworks, and theoretical underpinnings in environmental ethics as they relate to Christianity. Moreover, students in this course with explore how various ethics and worldviews arose historically in conversation with environmental philosophy and in response to contemporary ecological and theological concerns.