Theologies of Peace and Ecologies of Violence

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Kreider, Luke, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Jenkins, Willis, AS-Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This dissertation engages “ecologies of violence” as a problem for Christian ethics, investigating cases where environmental issues intersect with dynamics of conflict and violence, and exploring how prominent streams of Christian ethical thought may adapt to address them. What distinctive challenges arise where natural environments mediate or transmit political violence? What keeps these issues out of view within Christian ethics? How might the field begin to address ecologies of violence? The dissertation raises these questions through case studies in three distinct types of violence-environment connection. It argues that major streams of Christian ethics in the North Atlantic struggle to address such ecologies of violence largely thanks to a longstanding disjuncture between political and environmental thought in Christian traditions. It develops this claim with special attention to the theological accounts of peace orienting the prominent frameworks of Christian environmental stewardship, Just War Tradition, and the Just Peacemaking Perspective. The dissertation models a method of Christian ethics centered on dialogical exchange at sites of ecological violence, generating original critiques of all three frameworks, and pointing each toward intriguing new expressions with sharpened capacities to engage ecologies of violence. The project’s efforts to overcome perennial blind spots for ecologies of violence open spaces where politics can rediscover its vital relations to ecology in the Christian imagination.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Christian ethics, Environmental ethics, War, Religion & Ecology, Just War, Just Peacemaking, Religious Studies, Stewardship, Resource conflict
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