Core Visiting Assistant Professor
Russell Powell is the 2020-21 Core Visiting Assistant Professor in Environmental Theology and Ethics. Russell's research is in contemporary environmental issues and their religious, ethical, and political resonances, and particularly the religious dimension of American environmental thought. He is currently at work on a book manuscript focused on John Muir, the famed nineteenth-century American conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club, and Muir's influence on conceptions of the sacred in modern American religious consciousness. Russell's research also examines the intersection of race, religion, and environment. He is editor of a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture that reappraises cornerstone American environmental thinkers in light of contemporary justice concerns over race, gender, and class. Before coming to BC, Russell taught at the College of the Holy Cross, Amherst College, and Princeton University.
"Justice, Biocentrism, and White Supremacy: John Muir's Christian Ethics," in Virtue, Vice, and Ecoflourishing: Transdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Steven Bouma-Prediger and Nathan Carson (London: Routledge, 2023) (forthcoming)
"Rejecting Racism, Restoring Intuition: John Muir, Sacred Value, and Romanticism," Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, vol. 16, no. 3 (Winter 2022) (in press)
“Transforming Genius into Practical Power: Muir, Emerson, and Character’s Necessity in Environmental Politics,” Environmental Ethics, vol. 42 (Spring 2020): 21-37.
“Narrative and Experiment, Religion and Politics in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life,” Journal for Religion, Film, and Media, vol. 2, no. 5 (fall 2019): 169-87.
“Shame, Moral Motivation, and Climate Change,” Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology, vol. 23, no. 3 (2019): 230-53.
“John Muir and the Botanical Oversoul,” Religions, vol. 10, no. 2 (2019): 1-13. Special Issue: “Verdant: Knowing Plants, Planted Relations, Religion in Place.”
“‘Wonder Will Guide Us’: Reformed Theology and Journey of the Universe,” in Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to Journey of the Universe, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press, 2016).
“Religion and Ecology,” with Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and Matthew T. Riley, Oxford Bibliographies Online (Oxford University Press, 2013).
"Iris Murdoch's Radical Ordinary: Neoplatonism, Ordinary Language, and Ecojustice," Neoplatonism Unit, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, November 21, 2021.
"Experience, Meaning, and Power: Integrated Theology and Religion in an Age of Climate Crisis," Climate Activism and Religious Studies Futures Forum, British Association for the Study of Religions Annual Conference, University of Edinburgh, September 7, 2021.
“John Muir, Sacred Value, and Environmental Racism: Lessons from Hegel for a Moral Mysticism,” Mysticism and Ecology Unit, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, December 3, 2020.
“John Muir at the Intersection of American Spirituality and Philosophy: Intuitive Value, Conservation, and the Sins of Anglocentrism,” Two-Part Lecture for the Sierra & Wilderness Summer Immersion Project in Yosemite Valley, Fresno Pacific University, June 8-10, 2019.
“Intuition, Sacred Value, and Environmental Justice: Reassessing Some of John Muir’s Racial Blind Spots,” Invited lecture at Amherst College, September 24, 2019.
“Place, Shame, and the Place of Shame: The Political, Moral, and Religious Effects of Shame in Place Studies,” Religion and Ecology Unit and Space, Place, and Religion Unit Joint Panel, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 18, 2018.
“John Muir, Alaska’s Native Peoples, and the Power of Shame,” International Society of Environmental Ethics Annual Meeting, University of Alaska at Anchorage, Anchorage, AK, June 29, 2018.
“Plural Approaches, Responsible Solutions: Assessing Ethical Plurality in Environmental Sustainability,” Ethics Section: The Ethics of Environmental Justice, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, November 25, 2013.