What does it mean to exist in complex relationships with machines? What insights can be offered to our understandings of these relationships by the theologically significant theme of ‘love’? What critical assessments can be made of our multiple uses of technologies in shaping our futures, by reflecting on our pasts?

Events and Outputs
> Robots vs Loneliness?
> Focus Groups
> Conference: Care and Machines
Useful links 

Disquiet over the prevalence of social and economic individualism has a long history. In a world of mobile Capital and increasingly mobile people, communities of common tradition and locality appear to be under threat from the advent of a fragmented market society. Are these complaints against individualism justified? And crucially, how should Christians respond to them? Digging down into the substance of these questions, this project will consider the theological, liturgical and scriptural resources Christians have for understanding the notion of individualism in relation to issues of education, public life and the formation of democratic citizenship.

The European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment

in association with the Lincoln Theological Institute

is pleased to announce its sixth international conference 

to be held at The University of Manchester, UK


Religion, Materialism and Ecology

Friday 15 May to Sunday 17 May 2020



Confirmed plenary speakers:

Rachel Armstrong (Newcastle University, UK)

Whitney Bauman (Florida International University, and Berlin)

Bruno Latour (Sciences Po, Paris)

Erik Swyngedouw (University of Manchester, UK)

Linn Marie Tonstad (Yale University)

OPEN CALL: Short Papers, etc.

Issued on behalf of the conference committee

Peter Scott, The University of Manchester, Sigurd Bergmann, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Whitney Bauman, Florida International University, and Berlin, Roberto Chiotti, Larkin Architect Limited, Toronto, Catherine Rigby, Bath Spa University


The Schedule for the Call:

15 July 2019

Call opens

30 Sep 2019

Call closes

15 Nov 2019

Results announced

15 Nov 2019

Conference bookings open; accommodation information published

All proposals should be submitted to by e mail attachment. Please follow the detailed guidance below.



Because of changes brought about by, among other things, a warming climate, there has been a revival in materialism. Although there is little agreement on what ‘materialism’ means, this revival is certainly a reaction against a widespread instrumentalism regarding ‘dead matter’. At the very least, its resurgence relates to the return of non-human nature—if indeed nature ever left. The core aim of many of these materialisms is to understand matter in more animated and active ways—a sort of Romantic turn or an undoing of the postmodern end of nature. Options here include the “new materialism” (Bennett, Barad), speculative realism (Morton), and ‘actor-network theory’ (Latour). This has led to many objections from the ‘old’ materialists (i.e. Marxists) who understand nature more in terms of a factor in production and may be more cautious about ascribing agency to nature (Malm). There have also been constructive developments regarding materialism within Marxism such as metabolic rift theory (John Bellamy Foster, Paul Burkett). Feminist theorists (Haraway, for example) have been addressing the issue of materialism already especially in relation to animal and technology studies. At issue are a range of issues, including hierarchy, the nature of relationality, the relation between nature and society, human and other agencies, and ‘world picture’. The conference will aim to explore some of these new developments, including how materialist issues impinge upon religious traditions and the extent to which religions are already materialist and so have a creative contribution to make to debates about ecological materialisms.



Short papers are invited on any aspect of the conference theme from delegates who will be attending the conference. Offers of short papers are welcome from established scholars, early career researchers and postgraduate students, and those with a postgraduate research interest in this topic.

Short papers will be presented throughout the conference in a series of parallel sessions. Short papers may be considered for publication in the conference proceedings (publication planned for 2021).

Abstracts (c. 200 words) of a paper to be delivered in a maximum of 20 minutes (followed by 10/20 minutes discussion), together with a short author bio (100 words) and contact information, should be sent to

Prospective presenters should be aware of the diverse audience of this conference, and ensure that their papers are accessible to researchers from other fields and disciplines. This should be reflected in abstracts and proposals.



Invitations are invited for proposals for panel conversations on the conference theme. A proposal should indicate the topic,  two or three critical questions to be addressed and provide a short abstract  (c. 200 words). A panel proposal MUST include the names (and contact information) of those on the panel (between three and five persons).


The conference committee will assume that panel members listed in a proposal have agreed to be on the panel and will be registering to attend the conference. A slot for a panel will be no longer than 1.5 hours.



Invitations are invited for the nomination of a book, relevant to the conference theme, for round table discussion. The proposal should identify the book and briefly demonstrate (c. 100 words) the relevance of the book to the conference theme. A round table proposal MUST include the names and contacts of discussants (three or more).


The conference committee will assume that round table members listed in a proposal have agreed to be on the round table and will be registering to attend the conference. A slot for a round table will be no longer than 1 hour.



The conference committee welcomes proposals for the staging of exhibitions (e.g.: visual, musical, performative, film screenings, etc.) of diverse sorts. If you have an idea or proposal, please contact the conference chair



Nominations of a book to be launched at the conference are welcome. Nominations may come from an author/editor or publisher. Books should be in the public domain by the conference. Nominations to


For and on behalf of the Conference Committee

15 July 2019