The relationship between Islam and the environment has a long and rich history across various Muslim societies. Anna M. Gade
, Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, outlines several strains where these domains intersect in her book Muslim Environmentalisms: Religious and Social Foundations
(Columbia University Press, 2019). Gade takes the reader through a number of literary and scriptural sources that Muslims have deployed over history but also steeps her analysis in decades of on the ground ethnographic fieldwork, especially in Southeast Asia. Specific examples reveal the interplay between local, regional, and global contexts as interpretive positions shift and realign across each theme. This combination creates a productive template for rethinking Muslim environmentalism within the larger framework of the Environmental Humanities. In our conversation we discussed Qur’anic theological resources and themes, environmentalism and development work, legal and ethical contexts, ideals of environmental justice, Muslim humanistic traditions, eco-sufism, devotional rituals and popular piety, ethnographic video materials for course use, and green Islam in Indonesia.
Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. He is the author of Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab
(Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a monograph entitled
The Cinematic Lives of Muslims, and is the editor of the forthcoming volumes
Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (ILEX Foundation) and
New Approaches to Islam in Film (Routledge). You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.