2002 conference to address ecology from multidisciplinary view

by Gail Hinchion Mancini

The University of Notre Dame has been selected as host of the first national research conference for the Lilly Fellows Program in the Humanities and the Arts.
p. The conference, “Ecology, Theology, and Judeo-Christian Environmental Ethics,” will take place in McKenna Hall next Feb. 21-24. Participants will explore the common ground among the academic disciplines of ecology, history, philosophy and theology and how changes in one discipline affect others. As a case in point, conference participants will examine how the shifting scientific conversation from “the balance of nature” to the “flux of nature” is informing and impacting ecological discussions in theology, philosophy and history.
p. Notre Dame was selected to host the conference through a competitive process judged by a panel of scholars, according to Arlin Meyer, director of the Lilly Fellows program. Based at Valparaiso University, the program is a network of more than 65 church-related institutions of higher learning in a forum for discussions of Christian understandings of the nature of the academic vocation.
p. “The strength of the conference topic is that a lot of people are interested in it, and it can be addressed by a number of disciplines,” Meyer said.
p. Notre Dame’s proposal, coordinated by David Lodge, professor of biological sciences, drew together the historic, philosophical and scientific perspectives, with the additional dimension of the Judeo-Christian perspective. Lodge and co-coordinator Christopher S. Hamlin, Notre Dame professor of history, were assisted by faculty from theology, philosophy, philosophy of science, psychology, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Program in Liberal Studies, and the Erasmus Institute.
p. The conference will draw some of the most prolific thinkers in the areas of ecology and humanistic and theological perspectives on ecology. Presenters will include Stuart Pimm, professor of ecology at the Center for Ecological Research and Conservation (CERC) at Columbia University in New York; Larry L. Rasmussen, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary; John Haught, Landegger Distinguished Professor of Theology, Georgetown University; and Elspeth Whitney, professor of history University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
p. Conference sponsors are the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts and, at Notre Dame, the Provost Office, the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Science, the Graduate School, the Erasmus Institute, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Center for Environmental Science and Technology and the Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values.
p. Information is available by contacting Mary Hendriksen at hendriksen.2@nd.edu or by calling (219) 631-6691. The call for contributed papers will be ongoing through October 1.

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