I put theological and philosophical ideas in conversation with other work in the environmental humanities, in order to investigate and explore the way that humans have tried to make sense of our relationships with more than human worlds. I do this in order to critique the way that certain dominant political theologies have shaped habits and forms of thought, in both religious and secular contexts, in the modern west. These habits and forms of thought have enabled and facilitated the exploitation of both human and more than human worlds. In order to cope with the grief, anger, and anxiety that surge up in the wake of this exploitation, I also seek to mine this ancient tradition for intellectual and spiritual resources that might be repurposed for a different kind of future.
My current book project, Sister Death: Mortality in an Age of Extinction, argues that in an era dominated by news of mass extinction events in the more than human world, and shadowed by the possibility of human extinction, it is perhaps more necessary than ever to think and speak about the integral and intimate relation between life and death. Against the ancient western political theological fusion of divinity and pure life, Sister Death argues for the importance of thinking (as non-western cultures so often have) about life and death as forces or processes that are in relation and can, at times, be mutually supportive. Borrowing the name “Sister Death” from Saint Francis of Assisi-patron saint of ecology-Sister Death explores the sisterhood between life and death that the intellectual heritages of western culture have often effaced or denied. Sister Death argues that to ignore or deny this sisterhood is also to ignore the tragic realities that are now conditioning life in the human and the more than human world. To face the tragic and horrifying possibility of extinction might also facilitate an acknowledgement of the mutual vulnerabilities that throw humans into relation with one another, and with the more-than-human world. But to think of life and death as bound in kinship is also to remember that birthing and dying can sometimes be almost indistinguishable. This is both the risk and the power of the sisterhood between life and death. And this power may also offer fuel to struggle against the limit conditions that seem to present themselves as our collective horizon.