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Tuesday, October 27, 2020 • 11:00am • Online, via Zoom
Whitney Bauman will speak on the intersection of religion, science, and ecology as he examines how ideas of progress govern orientations toward time, which, in turn, shape human relationships with the natural world.
In particular, Bauman explores the possibilities of a different understanding of time from within the “slowdown” many people have experienced during the pandemic. This slowdown is in contrast to “the great acceleration” brought on by mining and the use of fossil fuels that sped up the processes of transportation, communication and production since the time of the Green Revolution after WWII—all in the name of progress. Cumulatively, this acceleration has outstripped the carrying capacity of the planet and fueled mass economic injustice, systemic sexism and racism, and mass ecological degradation.
Counter to the efficient, goal-oriented ideals of “progress,” Bauman draws on religious notions of attunement and spiritual wandering to consider the possibility of a post-pandemic ethic grounded in the uncertainty and ambiguity, meandering and multiplicity of the times and creaturely contexts of the planet: of rivers, of sourdough bread, of birds, of plant growth, of mourning, or of mountains.
About the speaker:
Whitney Bauman is associate professor of religious studies at Florida International University in Miami, FL. He is also co-founder and co-director of Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, a non-profit based in Berlin, Germany that holds public discussions over social and ecological issues related to globalization and climate change. His areas of research interest fall under the theme of religion, science, and globalization. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a Humboldt Fellowship. His publications include: Religion and Ecology: Developing a Planetary Ethic (Columbia University Press 2019), and co-authored with Kevin O’Brien, Environmental Ethics and Uncertainty: Tackling Wicked Problems (Routledge 2019). He is currently working on a manuscript about the 19th Century, German, Romantic Scientist Ernst Haeckel.
This event is supported in part by a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust for the project, “Beyond Secularization: A New Approach to Religion, Science and Technology in Public Life.”