SMCM Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Ellen Kohl and collaborators Dr. Priscilla McCutcheon and Tanisha Stanford at the University of Louisville were awarded funding in June 2017 from the Antipode Foundation to host a conference titled: Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters: The role of spirituality in African American Environmental Activism in the U.S. South. The conference will explore the complicated connections between spirituality and environmental activism among African Americans in the U.S. South.
Dr. Kohl and collaborators seek to address four key questions through the conference: 1) How does spirituality influence African American involvement in environmental activism? 2) What specific spiritual expressions do we see in African American environmentalism? 3) How do African Americans spiritual engagement with the environment helps us to expand our definition of spirituality more broadly? 4) How does an engagement with spirituality expand our understanding of what activism is? The conference will bring together scholars, activists, and faith leaders to expand the conversation beyond the confines of academia, incorporating the people who are engaging with questions of African American spirituality and the environment through their daily work.
The conference will be held at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky from Thursday, March 1 – Saturday, March 3, 2018. Participants will present papers during several thematic sessions, providing ample time for discussions to occur between the presenters and between the presenters and the audience. A portion of the conference sessions will be available via livestream on the conference website and the University website, with appropriate care given to providing a safe space for conference participants to discuss what may be deeply personal experiences with spiritualty and environmentalism. The final product for this conference will be an edited volume on race, spirituality, and environmental activism, co-edited by Dr. McCutcheon and Dr. Kohl, and ideally published in the University of Georgia Press’ Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series.
The Antipode Foundation is a UK registered charity that publishes Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, a peer-reviewed scientific journal released five times per year by Wiley-Blackwell, typically focusing on social justice issues.