Has Ecofeminism Cornered the Market? Gender Analysis in the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture


  • Tovis Page Harvard University




Ecofeminism, gender, nature


An evaluation of how and to what extent gender has been used as a category of analysis in the study of religion and nature to date highlights important extant areas of work, as well as new approaches and subjects of inquiry that are as yet relatively untapped. The academic study of religion and nature has attended to ecofeminist concerns from the earliest stages of its development as a field, which testifies to its commitment to be a critical, interdisciplinary, and inclusive body of scholarship. But several unfortunate consequences result from the near-exclusive focus on ecofeminism within the field thus far, consequences that stem not from ecofeminism per se, but from the elision and underdevelopment of other productive forms of gender analysis that promise to further enrich the growing field of religion, nature, and culture studies.

Author Biography

Tovis Page, Harvard University

Harvard University


Agarwal, Bina 1992 ‘The Gender and Environment Debate: Lessons from India’, Feminist Studies 18.1: 119-58. doi:10.2307/3178217

Alley, Kelly 1998 ‘Idioms of Degeneracy: Assessing Ganga’s Purity and Pollution’, in Nelson 1998: 297-330.

Alsop, Rachel, Annette Fitzsimons, and Kathleen Lennon 2002 Theorizing Gender (Malden, MA: Blackwell).

Asad, Talal 1993 Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).

Basu, Pratyusha, and Jael Silliman 2000 ‘Green and Red, not Saffron: Gender and the Politics of Resistance in the Narmada Valley’, in Tucker and Chapple 2000: 423-50.

Beauvoir, Simone de 1952 The Second Sex (New York: Alfred A. Knopf).

Bell, Diane 2001 ‘Respecting the Land: Religion, Reconciliation, and Romance—An Australian Story’, in Grim 2001: 465-83.

Biehl, Janet 1991 Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics (Boston: South End Press).

Bovee, David Steven 1987 The Church and the Land: The National Catholic Rural Life Conference and American Society, 1923–1985 (PhD dissertation, University of Chicago).

Boyarin, Daniel 1998 ‘Gender’, in Taylor 1998: 117-35.

Braidotti, Rosi, Ewa Charkiewicz, Sabine Häusler, and Saskia Wieringa (eds.) 1994 Women, the Environment, and Sustainable Development (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books).

Brown, Alden 1989 The Grail Movement and American Catholicism, 1940–1975 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press).

Buckingham-Hatfield, Susan 2000 Gender and Environment (New York: Routledge).

Butler, Judith 1990 Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge).

Campolo, Tony 1992 How to Rescue the Earth without Worshipping Nature (Nashville: Thomas Nelson).

Carroll, John 2004 Sustainability and Spirituality (Albany: SUNY Press).

Carroll, John, Paul Brockelman, and Mary Westfall (eds.) 1997 The Greening of Faith: God, the Environment, and the Good Life (Hanover: University Press of New England).

Castelli, Elizabeth (ed.) 2001 Women, Gender, and Religion: A Reader (New York: Palgrave).

Chapple, Christopher Key (ed.) 2002 Jainism and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Chidester, David 1996 Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia).

Christiansen, Drew, and Walter Grazer 1996 ‘And God Saw That It Was Good’: Catholic Theology and the Environment (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference).

Cooper, David, and Joy Palmer (eds.) 1998 Spirit of the Environment: Religion, Value and Environmental Concern (New York: Routledge).

Coward, Harold, and Daniel Maguire (eds.) 2000 Visions of a New Earth: Religious Perspectives on Population, Consumption, and Ecology (Albany: SUNY Press).

D’Eaubonne, Françoise 1974 Le féminisme ou la mort (Paris: Pierre Horay).

Dubuisson, Daniel 2003 The Western Construction of Religion: Myths, Knowledge, and Ideology (trans. William Sayers; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).

Duddy, Janice 2006 ‘Is Climate Change a Gender Issue?’, 6 July. Online: www.awid.org/go.php?stid+862.

Eaton, Heather 2005 Introducing Ecofeminist Theologies (New York: T&T Clark International).

Eaton, Heather, and Lois Ann Lorentzen (eds.) 2003 Ecofeminism and Globalization: Exploring Culture, Context and Religion (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).

Foltz, Richard (ed.) 2003 Worldviews, Religion and the Environment: A Global Anthology (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing).

Foltz, Richard, Frederick Denny, and Azizanand Baharuddin (eds.) 2003 Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Forum on Religion and Ecology. Online: http://environment.harvard.edu/religion.

Gaard, Greta (ed.) 1993 Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature (Philadelphia: Temple University Press).

Giradot, N.J., James Miller, and Liu Xiaogan (eds.) 2001 Daoism and Ecology: Ways within a Cosmic Landscape (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Gottleib, Roger S. (ed.) 1996 [2004] This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment (New York: Routledge).

Gould, Rebecca Kneale 2005 At Home in Nature: Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in America (Berkeley: University of California Press).

Grailville: Women in Community, 1944–1994. Fall 1993. U.S. Catholic Historian, 11.4.

Grim, John (ed.) 2001 Indigenous Traditions and Ecology: The Inter-Being of Cosmology and Community (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Halter, Deborah 2004 The Papal ‘No’: A Comprehensive Guide to the Vatican’s Rejection of Women’s Ordination (New York: Crossroad).

Hamlin, Christopher, and John T. McGreevey 2006 ‘The Greening of America, Catholic Style, 1930–1950’, Environmental History 11.3. Online: http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/eh/11.3/hamlin.html.

Haraway, Donna 2001 ‘“Gender for a Marxist Dictionary”: The Sexual Politics of a Word’, in Castelli 2001: 49-75.

Harden, Blaine 2005 ‘The Greening of Evangelicals’, The Washington Post, February 6.

Hargrove, Eugene (ed.) 1986 Religion and Environmental Crisis (Athens: University of Georgia Press).

Hessel, Dieter, and Rosemary Radford Ruether (eds.) 2000 Christianity and Ecology: Seeking the Well-Being of Earth and Humans (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Jackson, Cecile 2001 ‘Gender, Nature and the Trouble with Anti-Dualism’, in Low and Tremayne (eds.): 23-44.

Jordon, Mark D. 2000 The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

Juschka, Darlene (ed.) 2001 Feminism in the Study of Religion: A Reader (New York: Continuum).

Kalven, Janet 1946 The Task of Woman in the Modern World (Des Moines: National Catholic Rural Life Conference).

Women Breaking Boundaries: A Grail Journey, 1940–1995 (Albany: SUNY Press).

Kapadia, Karin 1995 Siva and her Sisters: Gender, Caste, and Class in Rural South India (Boulder, CO: Westview Press).

Kearns, Laurel 1997 ‘Noah’s Ark Goes to Washington: A Profile of Evangelical Environmentalism’, Social Compass 44.3: 349-66. doi:10.1177/003776897044003004

Keenan, Marjorie 2002 From Stockholm to Johannesburg: An Historical Overview of the Concern of the Holy See for the Environment, 1972–2002 (Vatican City: Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace).

Keller, Catherine 1996 Apocalypse Now and Then (Boston: Beacon Press).

Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming (New York: Routledge).

King, Richard 1999 Orientalism and Religion: Postcolonial Theory, India and ‘The Mythic East’ (New York: Routledge).

King, Ursula (ed.) 1995 Gender and Religion (Malden, MA: Blackwell).

Kinsley, David 1995 Ecology and Religion: Ecological Spirituality in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).

LaChance, Albert J., and John E. Carroll (eds.) 1994 Embracing Earth: Catholic Approaches to Ecology (New York: Orbis Books).

Lambrou, Yianna, and Grazia Piana 2005 ‘Gender: The Missing Component in the Response to Climate Change’ (Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States). Online: www.fao.org/sd/dim_pe1/docs/pe1_051001d1b.pdf.

Ligutti, Luigi, and John Rawe 1940 Rural Roads to Security: America’s Third Struggle for Freedom (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing).

Low, Alaine, and Soraya Tremayne (eds.) 2001 Women as Sacred Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality and the Environment (New York: Berghahn Books).

Marlett, Jeffrey 2002 Saving the Heartland: Catholic Missionaries in Rural America (Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press).

Masuzawa, Tomoko 2005 The Invention of World Religions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

Mathieu, Niclole-Claude 1996 ‘Sexual, Sexed and Sex-Class Identities: Three Ways of Conceptualizing the Relationship between Sex and Gender’, in Diana Leonard and Lisa Adkinds (eds.), Sex in Question: French Materialist Feminism (London: Taylor & Francis): 42-71.

McDonagh, Sean 1990 The Greening of the Church (New York: Orbis Books).

Merchant, Carolyn 1996 Earthcare: Women and the Environment (New York: Routledge).

Nagarajan, Vijaya 1998 ‘The Earth as Goddess Bhu Devi: Toward a Theory of “Embedded Ecologies” in Folk Hinduism’, in Nelson 1998: 269-75.

‘Soil as the Goddess Bhudevi in a Tamil Hindu Women’s Ritual: The Kolam in India’, in Low and Tremayne 2001: 159-74.

Narayanan, Vasudha 1997 ‘“One Tree is Equal to Ten Sons”: Some Hindu Responses to the Problems of Ecology, Population, and Consumption’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65.2: 291-332. Reprinted in Coward and Maguire 2000: 111-29.

Nelson, L. (ed.) 1998 Purifying the Earthly Body of God: Religion and Ecology in Hindu India (Albany: SUNY Press).

Norwood, Vera 1993 Made from this Earth: American Women and Nature (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press).

Page, Tovis 2005 ‘Spooking the Spirituality Scarecrow: Ecofeminism and Religion’, Paper delivered at the annual meeting of the National Women’s Studies Association (Orlando, Florida, June 2005).

Palmer, Martin, and Victoria Finlay 2003 Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment (Washington, DC: World Bank).

Plumwood, Val 2002 Environmental Culture: The Ecological Crisis of Reason (New York: Routledge).

Rocheleau, Dianne, Barbara Thomas-Slayter, and Esther Wangari (eds.) 1996 Feminist Political Ecology: Global Issues and Local Experiences (New York: Routledge).

Rockefeller, Steven, and John Elder (eds.) 1992 Spirit and Nature: Why the Environment is a Religious Issue (Boston: Beacon Press).

Röhr, Ulrike n.d. ‘Gender and Climate Change—A Forgotten Issue?’, Tiampo Climate Cyberlibrary. Online: http://www.tiempocyberclimate.org/newswatch/xp_comment050711.htm.

Ruether, Rosemary Radford 1975 New Woman/New Earth: Sexist Ideologies and Human Liberation (New York: Seabury Press).

Ryan, Maura A., and Todd David Whitmore (eds.) 1997 The Challenge of Global Stewardship: Roman Catholic Responses (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press).

Sandilands, Catriona 1999 The Good-Natured Feminist: Ecofeminism and the Quest for Democracy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).

Scharff, Virginia (ed.) 2003 Seeing Nature through Gender (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas).

Seager, Joni 1993 Earth Follies: Coming to Feminist Terms with the Global Environmental Crisis (New York: Routledge).

Sims, Jacqueline, and Maureen Butter 2000 ‘Gender Equity and Environmental Health’, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Working Paper Series, June, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/organizations/healthnet/HUpapers/gender/simsbutter.html.

Smith, Jeffrey 1997 ‘Christian Evangelicals Preach a Green Gospel’, High Country News 29.8, April 18.

Soper, Kate 1995 What is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell).

Sturgeon, Noël 1997 Ecofeminist Natures: Race, Gender, Feminist Theory and Political Action (New York: Routledge).

Sullivan, Lawrence 1997–2003 ‘Preface’, to the World Religions and Ecology Series (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions): xi-xiv.

Tanner, Ralph, and Colin Mitchell 2002 Religion and the Environment (New York: Palgrave).

Taylor, Bron (ed.) 2005 The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (New York: Thoemmes Continuum).

Taylor, Sarah McFarland 1999 Sisters of Earth: Catholic Nuns Reinhabiting Religion at Genesis Farm (PhD Dissertation, University of California Santa Barbara).

‘Reinhabiting Religion: Green Sisters, Ecological Renewal, and the Biogeography of Religious Landscape’, Worldviews 6.3: 227-52.

Reprinted in Gottleib 2004: 613-33.

Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Taylor, Mark C. (ed.) 1998 Critical Terms for Religious Studies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

Tentler, Leslie Woodcock 2004 Catholics and Contraception (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press).

Tirosh-Samuelson, H. (ed.) 2002 Judaism and Ecology: Created World and Revealed World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Tuan, Yi–Fu 1968 ‘Discrepancies Between Environmental Attitude and Behavior: Examples from Europe and China’, Canadian Geographer 12.3: 176-91.

Tucker, Mary Evelyn, and John E. Grim (eds.) 1994 Worldviews and Ecology: Religion, Philosophy and the Environment (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books).

Tucker, Mary Evelyn, and Duncan Ryuken Williams (eds.) 1997 Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Tucker, Mary Evelyn, and John Berthrong (eds.) 1998 Confucianism and Ecology: The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Tucker, Mary Evelyn, and Christopher Key Chapple (eds.) 2000 Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky and Water (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions).

Turpin, Jennifer, and Lois Ann Lorentzen (eds.) 1996 The Gendered New World Order: Militarism, Development and the Environment (New York: Routledge).

Visvanatham, Nalini, Lynn Duggan, Laurie Nisonoff, and Nan Wiegersma (eds.) 1997 The Women, Gender and Development Reader (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books).

Warne, Randi 1998 ‘Gender’, in Taylor 1998: 117-35.

‘Gender’, in Willi Braun and Russell T. McCutcheon (eds.), Guide to the Study of Religion (New York: Cassell): 140-54.

Warren, Karen 1994 Ecological Feminism (New York: Routledge).

Ecofeminist Philosophy: A Western Perspective on What it is and Why it Matters (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).

Warren, Karen (ed.) 1997 Ecofeminism: Women, Culture, Nature (Bloomington: Indiana University Press).

White, Lynn Jr 1967 ‘The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis’, Science 155: 1203-1207. doi:10.1126/science.155.3767.1203

Zaitchik, Alexander 2005 ‘Jesus Wore Birks: Pro-life, pro-Federal Marriage Amendment—and pro-Kyoto’, New York Press 17.50.



How to Cite

Page, T. (2008). Has Ecofeminism Cornered the Market? Gender Analysis in the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture . Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 1(3), 293–319. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v1i3.293