Cultures of Energy Welcomes Dr. Bron Taylor, Thursday, February 21 at 4pm (Herring Hall 100, Rice University)
“Spirituality After Darwin: ‘Dark Green’ Nature Religion as a New, Global Religious Movement”
Abstract: New Religions come and go but some persist and become major global forces. In this presentation Professor Taylor presents evidence that, especially since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, a new, global, earth religion has been rapidly spreading around the world. Whether it involves conventional religious beliefs in non-material divine beings, or is entirely naturalistic and involves no such beliefs, it considers nature to be sacred, imbued with intrinsic value, and worthy of reverent care. Those having afﬁnity with such spirituality generally have strong feelings of belonging to nature, express kinship with nonhuman organisms, and understand the world to be deeply interconnected. In a recent book Taylor labeled such phenomena ‘dark green religion’, noting that its central ethical priority is to defend the earth’s bio-cultural diversity. Taylor provides a wide variety of examples of new forms of religious (and religion-resembling) cultural innovation among those promoting such nature spirituality, from individuals (including artists, scientists, ﬁlmmakers, photographers, surfers, and environmental activists), to institutions (including museums, schools, and the United Nations). By tracking these, Taylor provides an opportunity to consider what such spirituality may portend for the religious and planetary future.
Bron Taylor is one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of religion and nature, and a core faculty member in UF’s Graduate Program in Religion and Nature, and Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich Germany. He is the Editor in Chief of the award winning Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2005), and he founded the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and its affiliated Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, a quarterly journal, that he has also edited since 2007. In demand as a speaker, Professor Taylor has given over fifty keynote or invited lectures in eighteen countries, and over eighty more presentations in the United States, not counting dozens more at professional meetings. Taylor’s own research focuses on the emotional, spiritual, ethical and political dimensions of environmental movements, both historically and in the contemporary world. He has led and participated in a variety of international initiatives promoting the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. His books include Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (2010), Ecological Resistance Movements: the Global Emergence of Radical and Popular Environmentalism (1995), and Affirmative Action at Work: Law, Politics and Ethics (1992).
Before coming to UF in 2002, Taylor taught at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, where he led an initiative to create a Bachelor’s degree program in Environmental Studies and became its director. Before that he served as Lifeguard and Peace Officer for the California State Department of Parks and Recreation. He received his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California in 1988.