Masterseminar Comparative Religious Studies: Religion and Climate Change
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleFTR-RSMAR100
Credits (ECTS)10
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies; Opleiding Religiestudies;
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. H.J.M. Venbrux
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. H.J.M. Venbrux
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. H.J.M. Venbrux
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
SEM1  (04/09/2023 to 28/01/2024)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
You will gain an understanding of the nexus between religion and (mal)adaptation to the impacts of climate change, develop skills in critical thinking and writing a research paper, learn about religious dealings with the natural environment, religious views on climate justice, and religious transformation in relation to climate change.
Religion and Climate Change

In this semester-long course on religion and climate change we explore religious practices and understandings in dealing with climate change. We look at religious responses to natural hazards preceding the era of human-induced global warming and seek to discern continuities and changes in those responses in the present era. We examine the role of religion in people’s adaptation to the effects of climate change as well as in their contributions to an exacerbation of the situation. We ask about religious concerns with the natural environment, disadvantaged people and future generations in view of issues such as biodiversity loss, climate homicide and climate justice. Furthermore, we will pay attention to religious environmental activism and to perspectives from the Global South.

Presumed foreknowledge

Test information
Written research paper and oral presentation of the field research.
To open this course for potential students of foreign languages, this course is offered in English. In case all enrolled students are Dutch-speaking, classroom communication will be in Dutch.
Required materials
Selected journal articles and book contributions will be made available via Brightspace.

Recommended materials
This volume explores how religious and spiritual actors engage for environmental protection and fight against climate change. Climate change and sustainability are increasingly prominent topics among religious and spiritual groups. Different faith traditions have developed "green" theologies, launched environmental protection projects and issued public statements on climate change. Against this background, academic scholarship has raised optimistic claims about the strong potentials of religions to address environmental challenges. Taking a critical stance with regard to these claims, the chapters in this volume show that religious environmentalism is an embattled terrain.
Title:Religious Environmental Activism: Emerging Conflicts and Tensions in Earth Stewardship
Author:Jens Koehrsen, Julia Blanc, and Fabian Huber (eds)
Publisher:Abingdon: Routledge, 2023
Despite the fact that Africa has contributed relatively little to historic carbon emissions, the continent will be affected disproportionally by the increasing impact of anthropogenic climate change. Contributors to this book provide a range of rich case studies to investigate how religious traditions, such as Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and indigenous faiths influence the worldviews and actions of their adherents. The chapters also interrogate how the moral authority and leadership provided by religion can be used to respond and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.
Title:African Perspectives on Religion and Climate Change
Author:Ezra Chitando, Ernst M. Conradie and Susan M. Kilonzo (eds)
Publisher:Abingdon: Routledge, 2022
Available at
Title:Laudato Si’. Encyclical on Climate Change & Inequality: On Care for Our Common Home
Author:Pope Francis
Publisher:The Holy See: Dicastero per la Comunicazione, 2015
How can religion help to understand and contend with the challenges of climate change? Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworld, edited by David Haberman, presents a unique collection of essays that detail how the effects of human-related climate change are actively reshaping religious ideas and practices, even as religious groups and communities endeavor to bring their traditions to bear on mounting climate challenges. People of faith from the low-lying islands of the South Pacific to the glacial regions of the Himalayas are influencing how their communities understand earthly problems and develop meaningful responses to them. This collection focuses on a variety of different aspects of this critical interaction, including the role of religion in ongoing debates about climate change, religious sources of environmental knowledge and how this knowledge informs community responses to climate change, and the ways that climate change is in turn driving religious change.
Title:Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds
Author:David L. Haberman (ed.)
Publisher:Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2021

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Test weight1
Test typePaper
OpportunitiesBlock SEM1, Block SEM2