*Apologies for cross-postings!*

Religion, Nature and Ethnobiology Symposium

Faculty in the University of Florida Department of Religion and Department
of Anthropology are hosting a symposium on Religion, Nature and
Ethnobiology, and a related public forum on Ethnobiology, Sprituality and
Healing, on the 11th & 12th November 2010.  (Note: A printable version of
this announcement, with better formatting and additional details, is
available at:

Brief Summary. 

This symposium will engage a number of leading scholars working with
indigenous and traditional peoples worldwide in the fields of Anthropology,
Biology, Botany, Ecology, Geography, Religion and other associated
disciplines.  The focus is on a critical exploration of the relationship
between Ethnobiology, Nature and Religion with a goal toward expanding our
understanding of these concepts and how they influence knowledge and
behavior cross-culturally.  The outcome will contribute directly to the
conservation of biocultural diversity worldwide.

The Public Forum will kickoff the symposium and focus on ³Ethnobiology,
Spirituality & Healing.² It will be held Thursday, 11 November, from
6:00-7:30 p.m., in the Ocora Room of Pugh Hall on the University of Florida
campus, and preceded by a reception for our distinguished guests, at 5:00
p.m. Pugh Hall is near the center of UF¹s campus, near the intersection of
Buchman Drive and Stadium Road. For further information about the public
forum, please contact Danielle Keeter [log in to unmask]
(For a map, see

The Symposium Workshop on Friday 12 November will provide extended time for
discussion among interested UF scholars and our invited guests.

Those interested in participating in the Symposium Workshop¹s extended
discussions should contact Rick Stepp, at [log in to unmask] or Bron Taylor at
[log in to unmask] The detailed schedule for it, which has limited space
available for additional participants, will be provided separately to those
who are able to participate on day two.

Participants in the Public Forum and Symposium Workshop include these
distinguished scholars:

E.N. (Gene) Anderson is Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, at the
University of California, Riverside.  He received his Ph.D. in anthropology
from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967.  He has done research
in several areas, especially Hong Kong, British Columbia, and the Yucatan
Peninsula of Mexico.  His books include The Food of China (Yale University
Press. 1988), Ecologies of the Heart  (Oxford University Press, 1996) and
The Pursuit Of Ecotopia (Praeger, 2010).

Kimberly Hedrick received her doctorate in cultural anthropology in 2007
from the University of California Riverside, specializing in cultural
ecology and applied cognitive anthropology.  Theoretically, she is
interested in understanding the interrelationships between cognition and
emotion; the politics of identity and community as it relates to landscape;
worldview and religious belief systems; and decision-making about
conservation and sustainability.  She seeks to unite humanistic and
scientific approaches in order to provide a holistic, rich understanding of
specific environmental issues and to better understand large-scale and
emergent trends.  Her research has primarily been focused on the cultural
and political ecology of the American West rangelands and on the integration
of spirituality, practical knowledge, and environmental activism in the
Pagan community.

Erica Moret completed her PhD in 2007, based at the University of Oxford¹s
Centre for the Environment with 12 months fieldwork in Havana.  Her thesis
focused on local to state level measures employed in Cuba to cope with the
economic, political and healthcare challenges linked to the collapse of the
former Soviet Union and the intensification of the US trade embargo, which
extended to food and medicine.  Incorporating a focus on foreign policy,
identity politics, religion and environmental change, she drew on political
ecology and geopolitical frameworks to examine Afro-Cuban ethnobotanical
practices and knowledge from the colonial era to the modern day.  Erica is
currently linked to St. Anthony¹s College, Oxford, carrying out research on
the link between natural resources, armed conflict and power.

Jan Salick, PhD, is Senior Curator of Ethnobotany at the Missouri Botanical
Garden.  She has been working on Ethnobotany for more than 35 years in
Southeast Asia, the Amazon, Central America-Mexico, US, and for the last 11
years in Tibet and the surrounding Himalayas.  Her academic pedigree
includes a BA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; an MS from Duke
University; a PhD from Cornell University, a post-doc at The New York
Botanical Garden; tenured Professorship at Ohio University, and a Senior
Fellow at University of Oxford; before joining the Missouri Botanical
Garden.  Trained as an ecologist, her major areas of interest are
ethnoecology of conservation, resource management, biodiversity and climate
change with numerous publications on these topics.  Her work on sacred space
was stimulated by a student at Washington University with joint majors in
Biology and Religion (who has since gone on to be a Harvard lawyer!).
Tibetan sacred sites are areas rich in biodiversity; old-growth; demons;
family-, community-, universal- and spiritual-connectivity; and inspiration;
they may also mitigate climate change (research in progress).

Jeremy Spoon is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Portland State
University and a Research Associate at The Mountain Institute.  He received
a BA in American Culture-Ethnic Studies from the University of Michigan and
an MA and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hawai¹i at
Manoa.  His research focuses on the influence of political economy on local
ecological knowledge in and around mountainous protected areas.  He has
conducted research with the Khumbu Sherpa inside Sagarmatha (Mount Everest)
National Park, Nepal; Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute/Chemehuevi) around public
lands in the Great Basin, U.S.A.; the Keekonyokie Maasai and Dorobo around
Hell¹s Gate National Park, Kenya; and Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) around
Hawai¹i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai¹i.  He also has 13 years experience
collaborating on participatory interpretation/education and resource
management projects in Nepal, the United States and Kenya.  His additional
research interests include environmental sustainability, place-based
spirituality, applied anthropology, and linked quantitative and qualitative

Will Tuladhar-Douglas is currently Tung Lin Kok Yuen Distinguished Visiting
Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto.  His research
interests include ethnobiology and social anthropology in complex societies;
mountain regions; Buddhist societies, ethics, and history; and conservation
social science.  Since 2005 he has been the director of the Scottish Centre
for Himalayan Research at the University of Aberdeen.  In 2011-12 he will be
undertaking fieldwork on Newar traditional medicine practices and texts in
Central Nepal.  

Robert Voeks, awaiting confirmation

Paper Titles for the Friday Symposium Workshop

Gene Anderson: 
Religion and Environmental Management

Kimberly Hedrick:
Pursuing the Salmon of Wisdom: The Sacred in Practical Ecological Action and
Sprituality among Modern Druids.

Erica Moret:
A Geopolitical Analysis of Trans-Atlantic Diaspora Contributions to
Post-Soviet Cuban ³Coping Strategies², Religion & Ecology

Jan Salick: 
Tibetan Sacred Space: Cosmologies and Conservation
Will Tuladhar-Douglas:
If it's not special, why do we call it Œsacred¹? Ordinary animisms and
institutional power.

Robert Voeks:
title pending.

Organizers & Sponsors of the Symposium are J. Richard Stepp (Department of
Anthropology), Bron Taylor (Religion Department) at the University of
Florida, and Will Tuladhar-Douglas, Director of the Scottish Centre for
Himalayan Research at the University of Aberdeen.

The Symposium is being held through the support of the Metanexus Institute
and John Templeton Foundations, and at the University of Florida, the
Division of Sponsored Research, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,
the Departments of Anthropology and Religious Studies, and the Center for
Spirituality and Health.

The symposium is also sponsored by the Ethnobiology and Critical analysis of
the Sacred project of the International Conservation Union¹s working group
on Cultural and Sprititual Values of Protected Areas (


Bron Taylor | Professor of Religion & Nature | The University of Florida

Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future
     (the University of California Press , 2010) is now available and
      it is introduced at

Editor, Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture & the
Encyclopedia of Religion & Nature
Founding President (2006-2009), International Society for the Study of
Religion, Nature, and Culture
For further information on the Society, Journal, and related initiatives see

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