Publications

My work has been published in the following places

 

American environmentalism historically has been associated with the interests of white elites. Yet religious leaders in the twenty-first century have helped instill concern about the earth among groups diverse in religion, race, ethnicity, and class. How did that happen and what are the implications? Building on scholarship that provides theological and ethical resources to support the “greening” of religion, God and the Green Divide examines religious environmentalism as it actually happens in the daily lives of urban Americans. Baugh demonstrates how complex dynamics related to race, ethnicity, and class factor into decisions to “go green.” By carefully examining negotiations of racial and ethnic identities as central to the history of religious environmentalism, this work complicates assumptions that religious environmentalism is a direct expression of theology, ethics, or religious beliefs.

Confronting Racism and White Privilege in Courses on Religion and the Environment: An Inclusive Pedagogical Approach

(Teaching Theology and Religion 22.4, 2019)

Courses on religion and the environment must confront racism and white privilege in order to remain relevant for the diverse students who increasingly fill higher education classrooms. Recognizing that traditional approaches for understanding environmentalism can isolate students of color by failing to recognize their own communities and experiences, I offer two assignments – Ecological Footprint Journals and a community‐based research project – that empower students to think of environmentalism in new, more relevant ways. This approach has benefitted my students by displacing the dominance of Eurocentric thinking in my curriculum and creating a class culture that values diverse perspectives. It has also profoundly shaped my research trajectory, by helping me identify raced and classed biases that are embedded in my field, and leading me to develop a research project that complements my teaching by challenging some of those hidden assumptions.

Explicit and Embedded Environmentalism: Challenging Normativities in
the Greening of Religion
(Worldviews, 23.2, 2019)

The precise influence that religious outlooks have on environmental attitudes and behaviors is a matter of debate among scholars of religion and ecology. While some studies suggest that emergent ecofriendly interpretations of traditional religions offer a promising path for addressing the world’s ecological crisis, others advance more skeptical evaluations about institutional religions’ efficacy in advancing sustainability efforts. In this article I seek to shift the terms of this debate. Whether scholars suggest there is a correlation or insist there is not, these arguments envision environmentalism based on the model of the mainstream, white American environmental movement, assuming that religious environmentalism must entail explicit, concerted efforts to protect the earth. This assumption has led scholars to overlook embedded environmental expressions that are expressed theologically rather than politically, especially among communities that do not identify with mainstream American environmentalism. By interrogating the assumption that religious environmentalism must involve concerted, political efforts, scholars of religion and ecology can better account for the ways religion influences environmental attitudes and behaviors among religious communities who are not affluent and white.

“Green is Where it’s At! Cultivating Environmental Concern at an African American Church"

(Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, 9.3, 2015)

Since the 1990s much 'religion and ecology' scholarship has sought to identify theological, ethical, and scriptural resources that suggest all religions teach their followers to protect the earth. Case studies have focused primarily on success stories that demonstrate how religions can contribute to a more sustainable future, but religion and ecology scholarship has paid inadequate attention to cultural complexities involved with cultivating environmental concern in religious communities. This article aims to address some of those neglected factors. A bible study on food, faith, and the environment held at an African American church in Chicago offers a glimpse into a window for exploring how assumptions about ethnicity and class influence the presumed ‘greening’ of American religion. I argue that efforts to ‘green’ American religion have relied not only on religious teachings, but also on latent assumptions about ethnicity and class.

"Interfaith Environmentalism and Uneven Opportunities to Flourish"

in That All May Flourish: Comparative Religious Environmental Ethics , Ed. Laura Hartman (Oxford University Press, 2018)

In this chapter I discuss two examples of religious environmental activism to consider how different groups might flourish through their involvement with "green" religion. A group of UU community gardeners and members of a "green" mosque both combined principles of environmental stewardship, social justice, and interfaith cooperation through their religious environmental projects. While these cases seem to represent interfaith environmentalism at its best, closer examination demonstrates that the outcomes of interfaith environmentalism do not always center on the environment, and the opportunity to flourish is not shared equally by all.

Online Publications

 

Department of Religious Studies, California State University Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA, 91330-8316

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