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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
> NEW! Robots vs Loneliness?
> NEW! Focus Groups
> Conference: Care and Machines
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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 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 speakers include:

Whitney Bauman (Florida International University, and Berlin)

Bruno Latour (Sciences Po, Paris)

Linn Tonstad (Yale)

 

A Call for Short Papers and further information will be published in 2019.

 

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

 

Religion, Materialism and Ecology

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.