Opinion

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The following article was first published in Religion Dispatches on December 15, 2014. In last week’s column here on Religion Dispatches, Ivan Strenski argued strongly against American Academy of Religion President Laurie Zoloth’s call for religious studies to be “interrupted” by a focus on climate change, writing that “asking a religious studies professor to do something about climate change is…

Read More turning students into citizens, religious studies edition

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The following article was first published in Religion Dispatches on December 15, 2014. In last week’s column here on Religion Dispatches, Ivan Strenski argued strongly against American Academy of Religion President Laurie Zoloth’s call for religious studies to be “interrupted” by a focus on climate change, writing that “asking a religious studies professor to do something about climate change is…

Read More turning students into citizens, religious studies edition

China doesn’t have an “environmental“ problem. The language of “environment” continues the false notion that nature constitutes an objective reality extrinsic to human subjectivity, accessible through science, transformable through engineering. This paradigm gives us the sense that the environment is something outside us that we can save or preserve through science and technology or other…

Read More china doesn’t have an “environmental” problem

Daoism: A Beginner's Guide (Farsi)

Quick! Picture China’s biggest environmental problem. I bet you saw in your mind the polluted skies of Beijing and its citizens wearing face masks as they go to work. The western news media have been filled with alarming stories of China’s poor air quality, especially in the north, where China relies more heavily on coal-fired power…

Read More why china will solve the world’s environmental problems

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Below us the text of a speech I gave at the orientation day for the Queen’s-Fudan semester in Shanghai program. Thank you for inviting me to speak at this orientation event. Each person who participates in this program has their own reasons for being here. For some of you it may be to improve your…

Read More cross-cultural learning and ecological civilization

James Miller speaks at Andover Hall, Harvard Divinity School

In a recent column in Nature, Qiang Wang argues that responsibility for transforming China’s environment lies with its citizens. He points to several instances in which local protests have successfully prevented new industrial activity, and argues that this heralds the beginning of a new relationship between Chinese citizens, the state and the environment. China is…

Read More the philosophy of qi in an era of air pollution

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In an online report on Religious Innovation for Sustainable Future (no longer available), Nina Witoszek (Oslo University) surveys a “pastoral renaissance” taking place across the globe. This renaissance, she declares, is “not just a tide of projects and conferences, but a new-old mindset which aspires to reclaiming nature, culture and spirituality, influencing green architecture and…

Read More green spirituality and the limits to modernity

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A recent news story on Reuters, headlined Thou Shalt Not Launch IPOs, China tells temples, reports that the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) has issued an injunction against temples listing on the stock exchange. SARA official Liu Wei is reported as staying: Such plans “violate the legitimate rights of religious circles, damage the image…

Read More the business of religion: buddhism, stock markets and the “authenticity” of religion

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This term I have the privilege of co-teaching a new seminar course at Queen’s (with Emily Hill) on the topic of Green China: Environment, Culture, Politics. The course examines the intersections between religion, culture, politics, and the natural environment in China over the past century. One of the first books we read was Farmers of Forty…

Read More permanent agriculture and the anthropology of waste

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Should environmentalists support conservation projects that also serve to bolster right wing nationalist agendas? This was one of the questions that was discussed last month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, in San Francisco. I spoke on a panel organized by the Religion and Ecology section which featured a vibrant discussion on…

Read More religion, ecology and nationalism