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:


Religion, Materialism and Ecology

Friday 15 May to Sunday 17 May 2020

to be held at The University of Manchester, UK






Confirmed speakers include:

Rachel Armstrong (Newcastle University, UK)

Whitney Bauman (Florida International University and Berlin)

Erik Swyngedouw (University of Manchester, UK)

Bruno Latour (Sciences Po, Paris)

Linn Tonstad (Yale)




A Call for 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.


See the Announcement also at the Lincoln Theological Institute.

This symposium is hosted by the Finding Common Ground research project in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh. It is co-sponsored by the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment and the European Churches Environmental Network.



Find the program here.



18 May to 20 May 2017 

in Edinburgh

"Religion in Environmental Activism"




The Conference committee: 


  • Michael Northcott, Edinburgh University
  • Jeremy Kidwell, Edinburgh University 
  • Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Notre Dame
  • Sigurd Bergmann, Norwegian University of Science and Technology