Department of Philosophy and Religion
- Evan Berry is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at American University and Co-Director of the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs master's program. His research interests focus on the role of religious ideas, persons, and organizations in the environmental politics of the modern world. Specifically, his work concentrates on the ways that cultural and religious systems locate human beings in the natural world and thus orient contemporary responses to environmental issues. Trained in both social scientific and theoretical methodologies, his current scholarship includes a book project on the religious roots of the American environmental movement and a survey of religious civil society engagements with climate change.
DegreesPhD, Religious Studies, University of California Santa Barbara; MA Religious Studies, University of California Santa Barbara; BA, Religion, The Colorado College
Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
Professor Berry’s scholarship focuses on the interplay between religion and nature in modern western culture. Trained in both the sociology of religion and the philosophy of religion, his most recent research, part of an interdisciplinary collaboration called Ecotopia Revisited, was an ethnographic study of intentional communities in the Pacific Northwest. Such communities give expression to the rich connectivity between American spiritualities and ecological yearnings for a green future. This religious substratum beneath American ideas about and practices towards nature provides the basis for his ongoing academic research.
- “Religion, Nature and Daily Life,” in Religion in the Practice of Daily Life, Richard Hecht and Vincent Biondo, eds. (Greenwood) 2009
- “Great Chain of Being” and “Puget Sound,” in The Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, Kathleen Brosnan, ed. (Facts on File) 2009
- “Epilogue,” Death and Religion in a Changing World, K. Garces-Foley, ed. (M.E. Sharpe) 2005
- “Wilson, Edward O.” and “Religion and Environmental Concern: The Challenge for Social Science” (with James Proctor), in The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Bron Taylor, ed. (New York: Continuum Press) 2005
- “Seeking and Dwelling in Ecotopia: Spirituality and Community in the Pacific Northwest,” Understanding Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities, May 2009
- “The Road to Nature: Automobile Pilgrimage and Nature Spirituality,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 2007
- “Sacred Histories and Prophetic Spaces: Civil Religion in Museums of the American West,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 2006
- “Origins and Adaptations of Secularization Theory in the American Context” (with Masen Uliss), International Society for Intellectual History Conference, April 2005
- “Historical Issues in Religion and Ecology,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, November 2004
- “Interrogating the Relationship among Religiosity, Spirituality, and Environmentalism,” Association for the Sociology of Religion Annual Meeting, August 2004
- “Dimensions of the Sacred: Secular Worldviews, Place, and Environmentalism,” Religious Studies: What’s the Point? Lancaster, U.K., December 2003
- “Interpreting Environmentalist Usage of ‘the Other’,” American Academy of Religion, Western Regional Meeting, March 2003
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
- Postdoctoral Research Associate, Lewis and Clark College, 2008
- Mendell Endowed Graduate Fellowship, Capps Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life, 2007
- Erasmus Institute Graduate Fellowship, 2005
Area of Expertise: Environmental ethics, religion and environmental issues, environmental issues and popular culture, religion in American public life
Additional Information: Evan Berry is assistant professor of philosophy and religion at American University and co-director of the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs master's program. His research focuses on ideas of nature in modern Western culture, particularly the religious roots of contemporary environmental discourse. Trained in both social scientific and theoretical methodologies, his current scholarship includes an ethnographic study of intentional communities in the Pacific Northwest, a critique of the philosophical assumptions of climate-change ethics, and a book project on the role of religious language in the birth of the American environmental movement.
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AU News and Achievements
Professors’ “Best Idea” Wins Multidisciplinary Research Grant
Four AU faculty members and their "best idea" on environmentalism recently won a research grant....