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Inaugural Lecture: The Transformational Possibilities of Immanence

Lori Beaman is holding the prestigious Leibniz Professorship of Leipzig University in the winter semester 2022/23 and is associated with our group for the time of her residency in Leipzig.

On 14 October 2022 she gave her inaugural lecture on The Transformational Possibilities of Immanence: The Rise of Nonreligion and its Implications for the Climate Crisis at the GLOBE22 Science Festival of the Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe). The complete lecture is now available online via the YouTube channel of ReCentGlobe.

The number of people who affiliate and identify with institutional religion in traditionally Christian countries is declining. This discussion explores the implications of that decline vis à vis human relationships with the planet. In particular, I argue that an ethos of equality may be replacing an ethos of stewardship and that that shift is vital for sustaining life on earth. The imbrication of hierarchical understandings of terrestrial life with planetary destruction (ie climate change) is undeniable and is supported by some versions of the transcendence narrative. This argument is not new: Lynn White identified this relationship in 1967 in his provocative article in Science. What is new is the significant shift in the religious landscape. Drawing from research being conducted under the Nonreligion in a Complex Future Project, I will discuss an emerging discourse of equality in survey data and interviews with hikers and community gardeners. Ultimately, the increase in nonreligion may create the necessary conditions for non-hierarchical and immanent forms of living well together in a more-than-human world.

Welcome: Christoph Kleine (KFG "Multiple Secularities")

Laudation: Sebastian Rödl (Professor of Philosophy with a focus on Practical Philosophy, Leipzig University)

Discussion: Christoph Kleine, Monika Wohlrab-Sahr (KFG "Multiple Secularities