Spring 2022 - HUM 330 D900

Religions in Context (4)


Class Number: 7214

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    SRYE 3016, Surrey

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



An in-depth investigation of a specific case of religious history and tradition. Religions will be studied through the cultural and historical contexts that pervade and structure religious meaning and expression. Students may repeat this course for further credit under a different topic. Breadth-Humanities.


Religion, Spirituality and Ecology in the Anthropocene

In the seminal 1967 essay by historian of technology Lynn White Jr. entitled “The Historical Roots of the Ecological Crisis,” the author, a Christian himself, suggested that Christianity was the major cause of the ecological crises that were then becoming apparent.

In the decades since, first a trickle and then a deluge of responses to that essay have emerged. The fields of Sacred Natural Sites, Spiritual Ecology, Religion and Nature, Ecotheology and Religion and Ecology have all sprung up in the last several decades, each seeking to document, cajole or reorient the world’s religious and spiritual traditions in light of the increasingly dire environmental crises we face. Christianity in particular, which birthed contemporary Western Science and modernism, has had to wrestle with claims of deep anthropocentrism, toxic world denial, rampant materialism and destructive industrial exploitation of the earth that has resulted in pollution, an extinction crisis and anthropogenic global warming.

Many contemporary practitioners of various faiths and spiritualities have responded by ‘greening’ traditional religious views. This can take place by retrieving or reinterpreting traditional and authoritative teachings. Others have called for a more post-religious or at least religiously plural approach to ecological spirituality that often references various indigenous spiritualities.

This course will explore these emerging responses to the environmental crisis on the part of the religions and contemporary spirituality through a variety of theoretical writings and case studies. We will ask whether or not the environmental crisis is primarily a moral crisis; whether the religions might offer their weight to solving these interconnected problems, or, whether they are an impediment to their resolution.


  • Reading Reflection Field Journals 30%
  • Reflective Final Exam Essay 30%
  • Sacred Natural Site Case Study 15%
  • Spiritual Ecologist Biography 15%
  • Class Presentation 10%



Various scanned and online sources will be used in this course. 

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.