SIEF Working Group “Ethnology of Religion” 2020 Conference

SIEF Working Group "Ethnology of Religion" 2020 Conference

About The Event

“Religion and Nature – Cultural Ecologies of Belief”

Organizer: SIEF (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore)

Date: September 6-9, 2020

Venue: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

For religious worldviews and practices, nature is a revealing context for orienting humans to the questions regarding the cosmological origins of the universe, the meaning of the emergence of life, and the role of humans in relation to life processes. In the context of current debates on climate change, on biodiversity loss and mass extinctions, religious groups and protagonists increasingly assert the need to include awareness of environmental issues into religious ways of thinking about the world. The 2020 conference of the SIEF Working Group “Ethnology of Religion” wants to draw closer to the current as well as historical dynamics of the “religion-nature” interdependence and thus to the cultural ecologies of beliefs. We are interested in a broad set of questions and research foci, i.e.:

– How do religions and religious communities in past or present symbolically and ritually articulate and negotiate relationships with their immediate and distant environment?

– What role do other species – i.e. animals, plants – play within religious (knowledge) systems and practices?

– In which way do religions conceptualize humans’/living beings’ dependence on rivers, oceans, forests and other landscape/bioregional phenomena?

– How do (profound) environmental changes and concerns recast the idea of the religious and the sacred?

– In what manner does the changing ‘scientific’ knowledge of nature reshape the relation of nature and religion and vice versa: how does religious understanding inform scientific understanding?

– Have threats to the natural environment stimulated the rise of nature-oriented forms of religiosity or religions, and in what way?

– What is the impact of mass tourism on nature related religions or religious practices?


  • Cost: Free
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Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

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