Stephen Ellingson

Professor of Sociology Stephen Ellingson is the author of To Care for Creation: The Emergence of the Religious Environmental Movement, published this month by the University of Chicago Press. The book chronicles the religious environmental movement and its commitment to promoting green religious traditions and creating a new environmental ethic.

According to the publisher’s website, in To Care for Creation Ellingson explains how this new movement “has emerged despite institutional and cultural barriers, as well as the hurdles posed by logic and practices that set religious environmental organizations apart from the secular movement.”

The description continues, “Ellingson takes a deep dive into the ways entrepreneurial activists tap into and improvise on a variety of theological, ethical, and symbolic traditions in order to issue a compelling call to arms that mobilizes religious audiences. Drawing on interviews with the leaders of more than 60 of these organizations, Ellingson deftly illustrates how activists borrow and rework resources from various traditions to create new meanings for religion, nature, and the religious person’s duty to the natural world.”

Rhys H. Williams, director of the McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion at Loyola University Chicago, said that with this book, Ellingson “offers a theoretically integrated approach to studying social movement emergence and development by showing how the creativity and agency of movement actors are culturally and religiously embedded.”

Elisabeth S. Clemens, co-editor of Politics and Partnerships: The Role of Voluntary Associations in America's Political Past and Present, called To Care for Creation “simultaneously eloquent and accessible” and “a compelling model for movement scholarship that wrestles seriously with the content of belief.”

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