Religious Perspectives and Alternative Futures in an Age of Humans

IU Trident


May 17–20, 2018

The conference focuses on new ways of envisioning what it means to be human in the Anthropocene, or the Age of Humans. The Anthropocene is the proposed name for the current geological age, viewed as the period in which human activity has become the dominant influence on the planet. The focus will be on key themes within Anthropocene scholarship and discourse that have received insufficient attention. For example, the Anthropocene strongly resonates with mythic and religious genres – declensionist or ascendant storylines, tales of hubris, forbidden knowledge, theodicy, and eschatology. These religious, philosophical, and ethical dimensions make the Anthropocene ripe for analysis by theologians and scholars of religion, as well as scholars in many related fields. It is important to understand how Anthropocene narratives function as religious-like propositions about human nature and the planet. Because Anthropocene discourse problematically treats humans as a single force driving global change, there is also a need to articulate alternative understandings of agency and responsibility. Along these lines, the scholarship generated by the conference will help to highlight indigenous perspectives on the Anthropocene, as well as the unique knowledge systems and adaptive strategies of indigenous communities.


Baird Callicott, University of North Texas
Eileen Crist, Virginia Tech
Rosalyn LaPier, University of Montana 
Jill S. Schneiderman, Vassar College
Stefan Skrimshire, University of Leeds
Gretel Van Wieren, Michigan State University
Norman Wirzba, Duke Divinity School
Kathryn Yusoff, University of London


Indiana Memorial Union
Indiana University – Bloomington


For information about the conference venue, travel, lodging, and speakers, please visit the conference website. 


Lisa Sideris, Professor, Department of Religion Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

This event is part of the Being Humans in the Age of Humans project led by Lisa Sideris, Indiana University (PI); Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Notre Dame, Sarah Fredericks, University of Chicago, and Kyle Powys Whyte, Michigan State University. This project is supported by the Humanities Without Walls consortium based at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Humanities Without Walls consortium is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by the Timnick Chair in the Humanities at Michigan State University.