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Kingdom, Commodity, or Community? The Religious and Philosophical Meanings of Nature

September 10 @ 10:30 am - 1:30 pm


featuring Joanna Sierks Smith, Associate Director for State Outreach, Carolina Public Humanities

In this current era of climate change, it is clear that how we conceptualize humankind’s relationship to nature—whether explicitly or implicitly—has enormous ramifications. This seminar will explore various religious and philosophical approaches to the natural world, paying particular attention to the ways in which unspoken assumptions about nature shape our everyday behavior. Together, we will examine a set of key ideas that have shaped American attitudes toward nature, and we will explore the transformational power of reconceptualizing humankind’s place within the natural world, asking: “What is the nature of nature, and what, therefore, are the limits and imperatives of human action?”

Joanna Sierks Smith is associate director for state outreach and strategic partnerships at Carolina Public Humanities. She holds a doctoral degree in 19th and 20th-century American religion, with a focus on shifting religious sensibilities around nature, animality, and excess throughout American history.



10:30am-1:30pm, Saturday, September 10. The tuition is $65 to attend in person. There is no virtual option for this event.

UNC Students can attend for free, but pre-registration is required. Discounts are available for UNC faculty, & staff. To register as a UNC Student, Staff, or Faculty, see our Registration Policy here.

Co-Sponsored by the General Alumni Association.  For information about GAA discounts and other scholarships available to Humanities Program participants, click here.

*Registration for this event closes on Thursday, September 8 at 3pm*

Register here or call us at 919.962.1544. 

Participants will receive an email with venue information and background information about 1 week before the program.

**Please note that due to UNC regulations, masks are recommended, but not required for all in-person events regardless of vaccination status. In-person and hybrid events may switch to virtual-only based upon recommendations from local, state, and national public health officials. If an in-person or hybrid event is designated “virtual-only,” the CPH staff will contact registrants and provide them with information on how to attend virtually or with options for receiving credits or refunds. If you have any questions, please email or call 919.962.1544. We appreciate your flexibility during these trying times.**


September 10
10:30 am - 1:30 pm
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