This year’s conference will run from 5:30 pm on Thursday, April 20th to 2:00 pm on Sunday, April 23rd.

Below is the final draft schedule for the conference. Any revisions or changes to the program will be updated on this schedule, so please be sure to check back regularly. Final room locations will be added once the program is finalized.

Thursday, April 20

2:00 – 8:00 – Registration

Official Opening of the “Mountains and Sacred Landscapes” Conference

5:30 – 6:00 – Welcoming Remarks

David Van Zandt, President – The New School
Ashok Gurung, Senior Director – India China Institute
Sarah Pike, President – International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture

6:00 – 7:15 – Opening Keynote Lecture by Karenna Gore

Title: “Reverence for Life: Biocultural Heritage as Resistance and Restoration”

Evan Berry, Presiding

7:15 – 7:30 – Conference Updates and Announcements

7:30 – 9:30 – Opening Reception and Social

Friday, April 21

8:00 – 8:30 – Coffee and Tea

8:00 – 10:00 – Registration

8:30 – 10:00 – Concurrent Sessions 1

Session A

Pilgrimage and Pluralism

  • Jenny Butler, “Croagh Patrick Mountain as a Site of Cultural Hybridity and Religious Syncretism”
  • Nour Farra Haddad, “Mount Hermon (Jabal El Sheikh) in Lebanon: A Sacred Biblical Mountain – Pilgrimages and Rituals”
  • John Schelhas & Sarah Hitchner, “The Sacred Landscape of the Sierra Nevadas of California: A Social Map of the John Muir Trail as a Modern Pilgrimage”
  • Juan Campo, “Sacred Mountains in the Landscapes of Modern Mass Pilgrimages: Between Preservation and Eradication”
  • Michael Northcott, Presiding

Session B

Religious Practices and Environmental Management

  • Ashwini Pethe, “Appropriating the Sacred: Safeguarding Environment Through Religious and Cultural Practices in Kullu Valley”
  • Gerrit Lange, “Western Himalayan Nāgas as Guardians for Water Resources”
  • Sarah Robinson-Bertoni, “Lands Sacralized by Sustainable Agriculture, Words Sacralized by Climate Justice: From Local Landscapes to Global Religious Leadership in Human and Ecological Community Sustainability among Catholics and Muslims”
  • David Krantz, “Shmita Revival: The Reconsideration and Expansion of Sacred Land”
  • Todd LeVasseur, Presiding

Session C

Shaking Up the Sacred: Religion, Geology, and Risk in the Eastern Himalaya

  • Michael Hamburger
  • Mabel Gergan
  • Kalzang Bhutia
  • Amy Holmes –Tagchungdarpa, Discussant

Session D

New Religious Landscapes of Europe and the Americas

  • Kimberly Kirner, “The Spirits of Place: The Sacred in Nature and at Home Among Contemporary Pagans”
  • Agita Misane, “Innovation and Sacrality: The Typology of Newly Created Sacred Sites in the Baltic States”
  • Francesca C. Howell, “Materiality of Place: Finding Sacredness and Resilience through Bonds with Place”
  • Alexander Grandjean, “Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Experimenting with Nature and Power Places in Eco-Spiritual Networks and Movements in French-speaking Switzerland” **Co-author Irene Becci (not presenting)
  • Sarah Pike, Presiding

Session E

Learning from Indigenous Traditions to Create Ecological Cultures

  • Jason Brown
  • Derek Simon
  • Kristin Pomykala
  • Elaine Nogueira-Godsey, Presiding

10:00 – 10:30 – Coffee Break

10:30 – 12:00 – Concurrent Sessions 2

Session A

Himalayas and Representations of the Sacred

  • Kishor Dere, “Hindu Religious Conceptualizations of the Himalayas”
  • Chiron Olivier, “Diverse Landscapes and Manifestations of the Sacred in the Beyül Demojong of Sikkim”
  • Sangmu Thendup, “Mountains and Sacred Landscapes in Sikkimese Buddhism: A Discourse on Religious Environmentalism”
  • Rashmi Attri, “The Mighty, Mythical, and Sacred Himalayas in Kalidas’ Poetry”
  • Emily Yeh, Presiding

Session B

Landscape and Place: Hidden and Revealed

  • Seth Auster-Rosen, “The Celestial Place of Lapchi Mountain: Mimesis, Appropriation, and Purity”
  • Judy Jibb, “Giving Voice to Akiko: Do the Chaudière Falls Serve as a Sacred Site in Contemporary Northeastern Canada?”
  • Ian Baker, “Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History”
  • Robert Boschman, “Descending with Bruno: Touching the Cretaceous in Alberta’s Badlands”

Session C

Scriptural Perspectives from the Summit: Qur’an and the Bible

  • Eric Wagner, “Mountain – Man: A Correspondence of Biblical Proportion…Or at Least of Biblical Imagery”
  • Drew Nagy, “The Pedagogy of Creation in the Israelite Wisdom Tradition”
  • İbrahim Özdemir, “The Mountain Symbolism in Early Islamic Thought”
  • Dylan Shaul, “Sacred Time and Sacred Space in Judaism and Christianity: Heschel, Hegel, and Derrida”
  • Anna Gade, Presiding

Session D

Catastrophe and Mountain Landscapes

  • Najiyah Martian, “Contesting Interpretations of the Volcanic Eruption of Mt. Merapi”
  • Megan MacDonie, “Explosive Encounters: Volcanic Landscapes and Cultural Exchange in Colonial Guatemala”
  • Volker Gottowik, “After the Explosion: Mount Rinjani and its Social Perception on Lombok, Indonesia”
  • Michael Hamburger, Discussant

Session E

Roundtable Discussion – Epistemology on a Himalayan Scale: Local Ecological Knowledge, Sacred Landscapes, and Animate Beings

  • Elizabeth Allison
  • Georgina Drew
  • Steven Goodman
  • Lindsay Skog
  • Emily Yeh
  • Pasang Sherpa
  • Ashok Gurung, Presiding

12:00 – 1:15 – Group Lunch and Members Meetings

Boxed lunches will be provided for those who ordered a box lunch add-on with registration.

1:15 – 2:45 – Concurrent Sessions 3

Session A

Ritual, Commemoration, and Sacred Landscapes

  • Kristina Tiedje
  • Jone Salomonsen
  • Jens Kreinath
  • Adrian Ivakhiv
  • Morny Joy
  • Sarah Pike, Presiding

Session B

Ecofeminism and Beyond: Revisiting the Intersection between Gender, Religion, and Nature

  • Elaine Nogueira-Godsey
  • Emma Tomalin
  • Amanda Nichols, Presiding

Session C

Critical Theories for a Changing Planet: A Panel Discussion

  • Whitney Bauman, “Queer Theory, Evolution, and Transgressive Planetary Ethics”
  • Amanda Baugh, “Faith, Race, and Nature after Laudato Si”
  • Carol Wayne White, “The Wonders of Materialist Textuality: Critical Theory, Religious Naturalism, and The Question of Humanity”
  • Anna Gade, “What is ‘The Environment’? New Temporalities of Consequence”
  • James Miller, “The Daoist Body and the Subjectivity of Nature”
  • Kocku von Stuckrad, “The Way of the Mountain: New Materialism and the Provincialization of the Human”
  • Çagdas Dedeoglu, Presiding

Session D

Reimagining Mountains and Sacred Landscapes: The Place of Myth, Art, and Narrative in Contemporary Ecological Issues

  • Kip Redick, “Transfigured Mountains, Mythic/Sacred Telling, and Constituting the Wild”
  • Joe Balay, “Merleau-Ponty, Cézanne, and the Sacred Aesthetics of Mont Sainte-Victoire”
  • Matthew Humphrey, “The land doesn’t belong to us – we belong to this land!” Conflicting Sacred Narratives, Indigenous Resistance, and the fight for Burnaby Mountain”
  • John Calderazzo, Presiding

Session E

Teaching Through Tipping Points: Education, Extinction, and Eudaimonia

  • Todd LeVassuer
  • Luke Shirley
  • Lisa Sideris
  • Richard Carp
  • Greg Cajete, Discussant

2:45 – 3:00 – Break

3:00 – 5:00 – India China Institute Plenary Session

Fieldwork Reflections on the Sacred Landscapes of Kailash/Gang Rinpoche/Tise

  • Shekhar Pathak
  • Gengga Yixi & Gesangqimee
  • Mark Larrimore
  • Emily Yeh
  • Sreshta Rit Premnath
  • Pasang Y. Sherpa
  • Rajan Kotru
  • Ashok Gurung & Chris Crews, Presiding

5:00 – 5:30 – Break

5:30 – 6:45 – Keynote Lecture by Ed Bernbaum

Title: “Sacred Mountains: The Heights of Inspiration”

6:45 – 7:00 – Break

7:00 – 9:00 – Banquet and Award Ceremony

Banquet attendance is limited to those who requested an add-on banquet meal with registration and invited guests.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Recognizes outstanding contributions to the study of religion, nature and culture. The award goes to those whose work has a relevance and eloquence that speaks, not just to scholars, but more broadly to the public and to multiple disciplines as well.

  • Bron Taylor, Recipient
  • Mark Peterson, Presiding

Graduate Student Paper Award: Students are invited to submit their ISSRNC conference paper to be considered for the Award for the Best Student Conference Paper.

Saturday, April 22

 8:00 – 8:30 – Coffee and Tea

8:30 – 10:00 – Concurrent Sessions 4

Session A

Literary Landscapes of Pilgrimage and Power

  • Michael Northcott, “The Romantics, the English Lake District, and the Sacredness of High Land: Mountains as Hierophanic Places in the Emergence of the First Environmental Protest Organisations in History”
  • David Pike, “Haunted Mountains, Bunkers, and the Afterlives of Cold-War Infrastructure”
  • Devin Zuber, “The Trouble with (Indian) Wilderness: Mountains, Religion, and Law in Native American Literature”
  • Steve Paulson, Discussant

Session B

Ritualization and Nature

  • Rune Flikke, “Mountains and Atmosphere in Zulu Zionist Ritual Practice”
  • Rajani Maharjan, “The Decline of Ritual Practices in Response to Pollution in the Vishnumati River, Kathmandu, Nepal”
  • Akiti Glory Alamu, “As the Cloud Gets Thicker: An Appraisal of Mountain Prayer Spirituality in Contemporary Nigerian Christian Milieu”
  • Marlene Erschbamer, “Sacred Landscape and the Creation of a Pilgrimage Site: The Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim, India”
  • John Calderazzo, “Qoylluur Riti in a Time of Climate Change”

Session C

Extracting, Profaning, and Renegotiating the Meaning of Sacredness

  • Amanda Nichols, “Homegrown Resistance: Commodity Fetishism, Eco-Terrorism, and Mountaintop Removal in West Virginia”
  • Austin Hagwood, “Spirit of the Sepik: Logging and Ethnobotany in Papua New Guinea”
  • Depesh Subba, “Socio Economic and Environmental Implications of Pharmaceutical Companies in Sikkim”
  • Joseph Witt, “Sacred Mountains and the ‘Vocabulary of Protest’ of 21st Century Appalachian Environmental Movements”
  • Evan Berry, Presiding

Session D

Conservation: Management and Values

  • Luke Shirley & Todd LeVasseur, “The Capability for Sustainability in Sacred Lands: The View from Ladakh”
  • Carey Clouse, “The Himalayan Ice Stupa: Religious Marker and Water Cache in Ladakh”
  • Mary Louise Stone, “The Spirituality of Earth’s Largest High Mountain Lake: Titiqaqa in the Andes”
  • Jeffrey Keefer, “Reframing Perspectives of Mountains and Sacred Landscapes in an Age of Climate Change: Exploring Neopagan Leadership as Stewards of Nature”

Session E

We Now Speak for Ourselves: Religious Aesthetics for Creating Ceremonial Space, Chanting, Singing, and Dancing in Defense of Our Sacred Landscapes

  • Inés Talamantez
  • Alesha Claveria
  • Margaret McMurtrey
  • Delores Mondragón
  • Felicia Lopez

10:00 – 10:30 – Coffee Break

10:30 – 11:45 – Keynote Lecture by Greg Cajete

Emma Tomalin, Presiding

Title:Look to the Mountain-Thinking the Highest Thought

11:45 – 1:00 – Lunch and JSRNC Members Meeting (closed)

Boxed lunches will be provided for those who ordered a box lunch add-on with registration.

1:00 – 2:30 – Concurrent Sessions 5

Session A

Consecrating and Conserving Landscapes

  • Lily Zeng, “The Restoration of Sacred Groves in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China”
  • Heather Hyealim Lim, “Landscapes of the Visible and the Invisible: Discussion of Two Case Studies in Cultural Landscape and Indigenous Metaphysics”
  • Chandrakant Salunkhe, “Sacred Groves from the Sahyadri Mountain Ranges, India: Repositories of Nature, Culture, and Religion for Sustainable Future in Anthropocene”
  • Mary Evelyn Tucker, Discussant

Session B

Cases in Development: Indigenous Activism and Protecting the Sacred

  • Noel Salmond, “Akikodjiwan: Ottawa’s Chaudiere Falls as a Sacred Site”
  • Adam Dunstan, “The Struggle for Cultural Survival at the San Francisco Peaks”
  • Elizabeth Steyn, “A Grizzly Affair: The Ktunaxa Nation’s Struggle to Safeguard their Sacred Mountain Qat’muk”
  • John Grim, Discussant

Session C

Politics of Conservation and Tourism in Sacred Landscapes

  • Xiaoqing Liu, “New Nomads in a Modern Economy: How Tourism Development Influence People’s Mobility and Livelihood in Darchen”
  • Gesangqimee, “Tourism in Tibet”
  • Anil Chitrakar, “Second Opinion on Nominating the Kailash Sacred Landscape as a World Heritage Site”
  • Georgina Drew, “A Double Challenge: Aiming for Equity and Ontological Inclusion in Conservation”
  • Rafi Youatt, “Rethinking Mountains in Global Politics”
  • Ashok Gurung, Presiding

Session D

Ecological Concerns in Conversation with Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts

  • Annika Schlitte, “Philosophy, Art, and Landscape: Robert Smithson and the Experience of Place”
  • Alan Marshall, “Sacred Mountains in Ecotopia 2121”
  • Jurij Dobravec, “Deepness of Fairy Tales for Alpine Environmentalism in the Anthropocene”
  • Tracy Stilerman, “Writing Blue Lake: The Tibetan Buddhist Perspective”

Session E

Mountains as Sacred Sources for Social Activism

  • Subhadra Mitra Channa, “Gods, Dams, and the Enemy Across: Negotiating the Sacred Environment on the Himalayan Borders”
  • Annapurna Devi Pandey, “Save Niyamagiri and Save Our Life: People’s Movement for their Survival”
  • Chinmayee Satpathy, “Nabakalebara of Sri Jagannath: A Ritual Basis for Environmental Activism in Odisha, India”
  • Sasikumar Balasundaram, “Changing Economic and Religious Landscapes in the Up-country of Sri Lanka”
  • Ann Kingsolver, “Dead or alive? Competing Logics of Mountain Landscapes in Appalachia”
  • P. P. Karan, Discussant
  • Kalzang Bhutia, Presiding

2:30 – 3:00 – Break

3:00 – 5:00 – Himalayan Sacred Landscapes – Rubin Museum of Art Roundtable and Gallery Tour

Rubin Museum of Art Roundtable presentation with five Rubin Museum curators on sacred landscapes in the Himalaya. After this roundtable, participants have free access to the Rubin Museum art galleries until the museum closes. RSVP is free, but required to attend.

5:00 – 5:30 – Break

5:30 – 6:30 – Book Launch

            ** Book Release Event: James Miller, Georgina Drew, and ICI Fellows Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, Sanjay Chaturvedi and Dong Shikui

6:30 – 7:30 – Book Launch and Reception

With Music by by David Rothenberg

Title: “The Way of Pure Sound”

7:30 – 9:00 – Plenary Session with Steve Paulson

“Ways of Knowing”

In Conversation with: 

  • Greg Cajete
  • David Rothenberg
  • Georgina Drew
  • James Miller
  • Sarah Pike, Presiding

9:00 – 9:30 – Working Group Meetings

            ** Open introductory meetings for the ISSRNC working groups

Sunday, April 23

8:00 – 8:30 – Coffee and Tea

8:30 – 10:00 – Concurrent Sessions 6

Session A

War, Violence, and Memory

  • Cecil Marshall, “The Sacred Canopy of the Princeton Battlefield”
  • Salma Samaha, “Cemeteries and Memorials as Witness of the Landscape Challenges in the Lebanese Chouf Mountain”
  • Caroline Ormrod, “Sacred Space as a Human Construct: Blood Swept Lands, Seas of Red, and the Tower of London: Contested Sacred Space or Renewal of a Historical Landmark?”
  • Boris Petrovic, “The Anthropological Basis of the Notion of the Sacred in the Archetypical Image of a Sacred Mountain”
  • Muhammed Abubakar Yinusa, “The Beauty and the Beast: Herdsmen’s Attacks on Mountain Prayer Warriors: Implications for Religious Harmony in Ilorin, Nigeria”
  • Ryan Thomas, Presiding

Session B

Mountains, Myths, and Madness: The Demise of Indigenous Landscapes

  • Yuria Celidwen
  • Rosélis Remor de Souza Mazurek
  • Sea Gabriel
  • Abrahim Khan, Presiding

Session C

Mediating the Sacred through Natural and Built Environments in High Asia: An Interdisciplinary Roundtable Discussion

  • Sara Shneiderman
  • Andrew Quintman
  • Dan Smyer Yu
  • Jean Michaud
  • Mabel Gergan, Presiding

Session D

Political Ecology: Nation, State, and Boundaries

  • Çagdas Dedeoglu, “Political Ecological Outcomes of Religiosity in Turkey”
  • Ha An Nguyen Thi, “The Constructing Process of Hung Vuing Worship: The Desinicization Movements of the Vietnamese”
  • Nivedita Nath, “Who Speaks for the Mountains?: Colonial Knowledge, Caste Hierarchies, and the Administrative Construction of Sacred Space in the Kumaun Himalayas
  • Titash Choudhury, “Energy Development and Biodiversity Conservation in Arunachal Pradesh”
  • Brendan Galipeau, “Buddhist Environmental Ethics and Protecting the Sacred: Balancing Commodity Economies, Ethnic Representation, and Ecological Health at Khawa Karpo in Shangri-La, China”
  • Evan Berry, Presiding

Session E

Digital Experiences of the Sacred: Sights, Sounds, Stories and Archives

  • Kevin Burbriski, “Kailash Yatra – A Photographer’s Journal”
  • Nitin Sawhney, “Walking through Sacred Landscapes: Encountering Soundscapes in Kailash”
  • Ben Norskov & Mohini Dutta, “Quest for Kailash”
  • Chris Crews, “Sacred Landscape Mapping and Digital Storytelling in the Himalayas”
  • Mark Larrimore, Presiding

10:00 – 10:30 – Coffee Break

10:30 – 12:00 – Concurrent Sessions 7

Session A

Land Tenure and Heritage Sites

  • Marina Kaneti & Mariana Prandini Assis, “The Sacred Clause: State Politics and the Protectors of Sacred Landscapes in the Americas”
  • Fausto Sarmiento & Larry M. Frolich, “Sacred Imbakucha: Negotiating Biocultural Heritage Conservation”
  • Rick Stepp, “Tea Fetishization and Socioecological Change in the Mountains of Southern Yunnan”
  • Amélia Frazäo-Moreira, “Sacred Landscapes and Nature Conservation in Africa: The Case of Nalu Sacred Forests”
  • Joe Witt, Presiding

Session B

Climate Change, Religious Movement, and the Sacred

  • Dan Smyer-Yu
  • Karine Gange
  • Karim-Aly Kassan
  • Evan Berry, Discussant
  • Robert Albro, Presiding

Session C

Environmental Science and the Sacred

  • Morika Hensley, “Through the Looking Glass: An Autecology of Panthera Uncia in Ladakh”
  • Hande Ozkan, “The Color of the Sacred: Verdure and the Faith in Science”
  • Achyut Tiwari, “Forest Productivity Decline in the Semi-arid Region of Trans-Himalaya in Central Nepal”
  • Whitney Bauman, Presiding

Session D

Eco-tourism and Redefining Sacredness

  • Isabela Frederico, “The Spirituality Dimension in Tourism in a Brazilian Protected Area”
  • Meta Ginting, “Finding the Sacredness of Ubud: Sacred Spaces and Modernity in Dialogue”
  • Lukasz Fajfer, “Tourists are the Biggest Threat: The Impact of Tourism on the Monastic Community and the Ecosystem on Holy Mount Athos”
  • Judy Jibb, “Kumik in a Skyscraper: Is the Algonquin Lodge at Terrasses de la Chaudière in Hull, Québec a Sacred Space?”
  • Amanda Nichols, Presiding

Session E

Micro-Histories and Divinities in Changing Landscapes

  • Sagar Lama, “The Legacy of Local Deities and Contemporary Livelihood Strategies in Hepka Valley, Nepal”
  • Himani Upadhyaya, “The Citizen-Pilgrim and the Porter: A Historical Approach to the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra”
  • Tshewang Lama, “Divine Power and State Power among the Northwestern Border Communities in Nepal”
  • Mukta S. Lama, “Borderlines, Religious Practices and Identity Questions: Nepal-India-Tibet/China Triangle in Humla and Darchula”
  • Pasang Y. Sherpa, Presiding

12:00 – 12:15 – Break

12:15 – 1:45 – Concurrent Session 8

Session A

Ecological Philosophy and Criticism in Euro-American Tradition

  • Christopher C. W. Johnson, “Writing in the Margins: Place, Landscape, and Ecosophy in the Literature of Jim Harrison
  • Sean Driscoll, “Mountain Faces: Climbing, Environmental Philosophy, and the Sacred”
  • Caleb Murray, Camus’ Sacred Mountain: Alienation, (In)action, and the Absurd Response to Climate Change
  • Mark Cladis, “Shiprock, the Sacred, and Environmental Justice: The Ancient Echo between People and Place”
  • Mark Peterson, Presiding

Session B

Mountains and Oceans: Himalayan Policy Discussion with ICI Fellows

  • Jayanta Bandyopadhyay
  • Sanjay Chaturvedi
  • Dong Shikui
  • Nidhi Srinivas
  • Rajan Kotru, Presiding

Session C

Myth and Mountain-Making

  • Elspeth Whitney, “The of Despond: Medieval Wetlands, the Phlegmatic, and Spiritual Despair”
  • Stewart Weaver, “The Science of the Sacred: Geology and Mythology and the Making of the Himalayan Orogeny”
  • Joseph Wilson, “Mountains in Proto-Athabaskan Religion and Culture”
  • Lisa Sideris, Discussant
  • Kocku von Stuckrad, Presiding

Session D

The Politics of Development and Disputed Landscapes

  • Ye Liu, “Road Construction in Tibet: The Making of a Political Landscape”
  • Flore Lafaye de Micheaux, “Mesology or How to Make Sense of Environment/Development Disputes at the Sacred Headwaters of the Ganges”
  • Robert Beazley, “Paving Paradise: Mechanization and the Changing Landscape of Traditional Mountain Pilgrimage in Asia”
  • Kathleen Van Vlack, “Pilgrimage in A Contested Sacred Mountain Landscape – A Case Study in Conflict Between Culture, Heritage Management, and Development in Native North America”
  • Emma Tomalin, Presiding


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