Ecofeminism is in the House (at the AAR) by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

Grace Yia-Hei KaoMy social media accounts have recently been ablaze with announcements of meetings, sessions, and receptions to attend for those of us who study or work in religion/theology in the U.S. Some 12,000-15,000 scholars and students will descend upon San Diego this weekend for the annual American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature (AAR/SBL) conference.

While as a theological and philosophical ethicist I attend this gathering every year regardless of venue or conference theme, I’m particularly excited about this year’s focus on climate change.

Sessions devoted to the topic include a panel on the release of the Public Religion Research Institute/AAR National Survey on Religion, Values, and Climate Change (Sat, 9-11:30am, CC-20D) presentations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (Sat, 11:45-12:45, CC-20D), a talk by environmentalist Bil McKibben (Sat, 7:30-8:30pm, CC-20D),  the AAR Presidential Address by Laurie Zoloth (an eminent bioethics and Jewish Studies scholar; Sun 11:45-12:45,CC-20D), and remarks by former president Jimmy Carter on “The Role of Religion in Mediating Conflicts and Imagining Futures: The Cases of Climate Change and Equality for Women” (Mon, 4-5:30pm, CC-20) among others.


Beyond that, I’m especially excited about the number of sessions I see devoted to discussing ecofeminism–the scholarly and activist movement that takes seriously the interconnections between the oppression of women and the exploitation of nature. Let me enumerate a few of these (n.b. the following is a non-exhaustive list):

– On Friday, 1:30-3:30pm (CC-14A), the Women’s Lounge Roundtable will entail a pre-conference luncheon on “Ecofeminism and Earth Healing” featuring emerging scholars from Claremont Graduate University.

– On Sunday, 9-11:30am (CC-3), the Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection Group will feature a panel of papers on “ecological, epistemological, and ethical habitations.”

– On Sunday, 1-2:30pm (CC-30A), the Feminist Theory & Religious Reflection Group will sponsor another session tied to the conference theme: “Strategic Negotiations with Feminism on the Borders: Rhetoric in American Homiletics, ‘On the Move’ Ethics in Ecofeminism.”

– On Sunday, 3-4:30pm (CC-26), the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Group will convene a session entitled “Ecowomanism 101: A Roundtable Discussing Vital Themes and Trajectories.”

I’m looking forward to this conference and wish all AAR/SBL attendees an enriching and eventful time as well!

Climate change (Polar Bear on Melting Ice)

Grace Yia-Hei Kao is Associate Professor of Ethics and co-director of the Center for Sexuality, Gender, and Religion at Claremont School of TheologyShe is the author of Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World (Georgetown University Press, 2011), has a forthcoming co-edited anthology with Ilsup Ahn on Asian American Christian Ethics (Baylor University Press), and is working with Rebecca Todd Peters on anthology of women’s theological lives. Read more about her work on her website.

Categories: Academy, Ecofeminism, General

Tags: , , ,

10 replies

  1. Where does the ecofeminism symbol come from? We just had a women’s uprising in the Green Party Greece, using the woman’s symbol with the fist. I’d love to suggest this one to them if it is not copyrighted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d like to see more scholarship on the Hymn to Demeter and Persephone as the classic ecofeminist myth. The Abduction of Persephone results in the loss of all vegetation on the planet, including agriculture — Persephone is the archetypal offspring of the Earth Goddess Demeter’s fecundity. Demeter is blamed for her anger, but no one who has commented on the myth, at least that I have read so far, makes the connect to the anger we rightly feel as regards the industrial rape or exploitation of the Earth and its destruction of the ecosystem. Demeter’s anger forces Zeus and Hades to return Persephone, that is, forces the patriarchal domination by way of industrial interests to rectify the environmental abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this good news. Have a wonderful time at the conference!


  4. Reblogged this on Jessica A Bruno (waybeyondfedup).


  5. At the risk of being called picky and pedantic, I want to offer a tiny correction: “Media” is a PLURAL NOUN. The social media ARE ablaze. Facebook is one social medium. One medium IS ablaze. Yes, I know–I’m an unreeemable fussbudget. I want all the bloggers here to write as well as possible.



  1. Ecofeminism is in the House (at the AAR) | Dr. Grace Kao

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