Summary: Political Theology, Ethics, Continental Philosophy, Apocalypse in Religion and Political Culture, Eschatology in Christian Doctrine and Western Philosophy, Climate Change and Political Activism.
I joined the department in 2012, having previously taught at the University of Manchester, and Applied Ethics CETL at Leeds. My work intersects political theology, continental philosophy and environmental ethics. The broad theme that unites these areas is an interest in the formation, in Jewish and Christian thought and western philosophy, of beliefs about the future - from utopias to end-times. This has led me to investigate the relationship between apocalypse, eschatology and utopian thought as these inform political and religious life. A major focus has been the role of apocalyptic thought in framing climate change discourse and activism. On the theoretical side, I am interested in the influence of apocalypse in the development of a philosophy of history from German idealism and enlightenment theories of progress and providence, through to critical theory, the Frankfurt school, and post-Kantian thought.
My current research investigates a theological and philosophical perspective on two interrelated concepts:
Anthropocene epoch - the notion that the current geological epoch is irreversibly marked by human actions. This opens up a new and important directions for the humanities, in particular human understanding of deep time, planetary futures, eschatological belief, and finitude. How does the thought of leaving a 'human trace' upon the planet influence, deter, or in any way contribute to political and environmental engagement? How much do our beliefs about death and the afterlife influence these perspectives?
Species Extinction - including human species. How is death imagined, narrated, resisted, denied, planned for, mourned, celebrated, at a planetary level? How does it feature as an ethical concern - why is it a particular harm, and how might religious beliefs have an influence here, based on a certain idea about (e.g.) creation, stewardship, lament, and apocalyptic faith?
I am Network Lead for the WRoCAH White Rose Studentship Network, 'Imagining and Representing Species Extinction' (2017-2020)
I am a member of the Centre for Religion and Public Life and the Northern Theory School, and support the Quilting Points postgraduate / staff reading group in critical and cultural theory for the Faculty of Arts. I am active in promoting Environmental Humanities at the University of Leeds
- Taught Postgraduate Director for Theology and Religious Studies
- Study Abroad Coordinator
- Existentialism and Phenomenology (L3)
- Religion, Politics and the Future (L3)
- Apocalypse to Utopia (Masters)
- Religion, Society and Public Life (Masters)
- Studying Christianity (L1)
- Religion, Society and Politics in the Modern World (L1)
- Reading the New Testament (L2)
- Religion and Global Development (L3)
I am keen to supervise PhD students in the following areas:
- Political Theology
- Religion and Continental Philosophy / Critical Theory
- Environmental Politics / Climate Change and Christian Belief
- Religion and Political Activism
- Eschatology and Apocalypse in Cultural / Political context
Politics of Fear, Practices of Hope (London: Continuum, 2008)
Future Ethics: Climate Change and Apocalyptic Imagination (London: Continuum, 2010)
'Re-writing mortality: a theological critique of geo-engineering and de-extinction' in Clingermann and O'Brien (eds), Calming the Storm (Rowman and Littlefield 2016)
'Divine memory and the melancholy archive: Derrida and Augustine on the Anthropocene' in Dean-Drummond, C. and Bergmann, S. (eds) Religion and the Anthropocene (Wipf and Stock, 2016)
'Eschatology' in Scott, P. and Northcott, M. (eds), Systematic Theology and Climate Change: Ecumenical Perspectives' (London: Routledge, 2014)
How should we think about the future? in Skrimshire, S. ed. Future Ethics: Climate Change and Apocalyptic(London: Continuum, 2010)
Eternal Return of Apocalypse in Skrimshire, S. ed. Future Ethics: Climate Change and Apocalyptic (London: Continuum, 2010)
What are we Waiting For? Climate Change and the Narrative of Apocalypse in Bergmann, S. and Gerten, D. eds. Religion and Environmental Change: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Climate and Sustainability (Berlin: Lit-Verlag, 2009)
'Seeing Beyond the Tipping Point: Climate Risks, Faith and Political Action in Bergmann, S. and Eaton, H. eds.Eco-Awareness! (Berlin: Lit-Verlag, 2009)
De-moralising Britain: 10 Years of De-politicisation, in Scott, Graham and Baker, eds. Re-Moralising Britain: 10 Years of New Labour: Faith, Morals and Governance (London: Continuum, 2009)
Citizenship after the death of the public sphere, in eds. Maurice Mullard and Bankole Cole, Globalisation, Citizenship and the War on Terror (London: Edward Elgar, 2007)
Anti-G8 Resistance and the State of Exception, Harvie, D. et al.Shut Them Down! The G8, Gleneagles and the Movement of Movements(London: Autonomedia, 2005)
'Climate Change and Apocalyptic Faith', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change Volume 5, Issue 2, pages 233246, March/April 2014
'Challenging the Skeptics: False Prophecy and Climate Activism', Religion and Society: Advances in Research Volume 4, 2013 (Berghahn).
'The End of the Future: Hegel and the Political Ecology of Deep Time, International Social Science Journal (December 2011)
There is no God and we are his prophets: Deconstructing Redemption in Cormac McCarthys The Road, Journal for Cultural Research 15.1 (January, 2011)
Marriner, N., Morhange, C, and Skrimshire, S., 2010, Geoscience meets the four horsemen? Tracking the rise of neocatastrophism (with) Global and Planetary Change 74 (2010) 43-48
Points of No Return: Climate Change and the Politics of Uncertainty, Environmental Philosophy (Fall 2009)
Approaching the Tipping Point: Climate Risks, Faith and Political Action, European Journal of Science and Theology, June, Vol.4, No.2., 2008
What is Anti-Utopianism? Gray, Jameson, Jacoby, Cultural Politics, Vol. 4: Issue 2, 2008
'A Political Theology of the Absurd? Albert Camus and Simone Weil on Social Transformation, Literature and Theology 20.3, September 2006
Another What is Possible? Ideology and Utopian Imagination in Anti-capitalist Resistance, Political Theology, 7.2, April 2006, pp.201-219.
In Defence of Political Faith, Ephemera, 6.1, February 2006, pp.70-74. ISSN 1473-2866.
Terror and Utopia: Apocalyptic Desire, Resistance and the War on Terror in Barker, C and Tyldesley, M.Alternative Futures and Popular Protest: A Selection of Papers from the Conference, 19- 21 April 2005, Volume IV. Manchester Metropolitan University, (2000), pp. 148-60.
Upcoming and Recent Presentations
'Apocalypse and the Work of Mourning', Climate and Apocalypse, Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements, Bedford UK, 29-30 June, 2017.
'Whose Deep Future? A Critique of Longer Term Thinking in Anthropocene Discourse', Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Anthropocene Lectures, Potsdam, 9th August 2016.
'Confessing Anthropocene', Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting, Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network, 20th April 2016.
'Millenarian Ideology and Temporality in Climate Politics', Morality of Millenarianism, Queen's University Belfast, 28 August, 2015.
Religion in the Anthropocene: Challenges, Idolatries, Transformations (keynote), 17 May 2015, Rachel Carson Centre, Munich.
On Failing and Mourning: the Lost Arts of Humanism? Re-Imagining Human. International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture, 18-20 September, University of Leuven, Belgium.
Religions, Environments and Popular Culture: Interdisciplinary Postgraduate conference, The University of Manchester, 26 September 2014.
'Paul Amongst the Activists: Messianic Time and Environmental Crisis', Memorial Conference for Oliver Smith, University of St. Andrews, 3rd May 2014
'Zizek, Buddha and Christ: Postsecular Controversies' Religion and Politics seminar, University of Leeds, 28th January
Why We Disagree About Apocalypse: On Activism and Untimely Prophecies, Risk and Rapture: Apocalyptic Imagination in Late Modernity, Chester University, September 11, 2013.
Apocalypse and Weather Forecasts, Symposium on Secularisation in Theory and Practice, University of Leeds, 17 May 2013
Radio 4 debate: Beyond Belief: Apocalyptic prophecies, 31 December 2012. Listen Again Here
Kants Apocalypse: On the Persistence, Despite Everything, of the Modern Myth of Progress, Theology and Religious Studies Research seminar, The University of Leeds, 26th November, 2012
Unwritten History: Panel Discussion and Artist Screening, September 13, 2012, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Radio 4 debate: Beyond Belief, 15.03.2010: Apocalyptic Language and Climate Change available on iPlayer here