The Spirit(s) of Trees

The Spirit(s) of Trees
What, or who, is a tree? In this course, we will probe central questions in the field of “religion and ecology” using human-tree relationships as our interpretive lens. Emerging scientific views of trees as communicators and climate-regulators evoke ancient, non-utilitarian views of trees. In some Hindu contexts, trees are protected as abodes of the gods, or as divinities themselves. In Thailand, climate activists ordain trees as Buddhist monks. Christian and Jewish authors are reinterpreting the biblical “Tree of Life” in terms of ecological awareness and as solace for climate grief. Drawing on the work of Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Christian scholars, our task will be to get to know trees— and thus, diverse eco-spiritual cultures— in a complex, multireligious way. This course counts as a humanities cognate for environmental studies majors.
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ENVS 1053

All Sections in Winter 2023

Winter 2023

ENVS1053A-W23 Lecture (Gould)