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Religion, Environment and Economic Traditions: Refining an Epistemology of Moral Accountability

March 27 @ 5:00 pm - March 28 @ 5:30 pm

This workshop analyzes environmental, economic, and ethical theories in relation to religious traditions. While it focuses on Islamic studies, it intends to bring together scholars working on other religious traditions and philosophical movements. The key theme of the workshop is thinking of economic and ecological/environmental theories beyond their respective boundaries as set by particular division of sciences in the West, while simultaneously exploring their ethical dimension. Themes that will be addressed during the workshop are, among others, (classical) Islamic economics, Green Islam, Islamic ecology, environmental sustainability, Muslim environmentalism in Southeast Asia, the notion of halal economy, as well as the question of time and environment in Western intellectual history.

Keynote Lecture: March 27th, 2019
Workshop: March 28th, 2019


Keynote Address by Prof. Waleed El-Ansary
Helal, Hisham and Laila Edris El-Swedey University Chair in Islamic Studies
Xavier University

March 27th, 2019 at 5:00PM
80 Claremont, Room 101

Islam views the natural world as manifesting God’s blessings and bounties (fadl) in the context of reflecting His Perfect Names and Qualities (ayat Allah or vestigia Dei). The beauty, symbolism, and corporeal utility of nature thus fulfills a hierarchy of spiritual, physical, and other human needs simultaneously. Surah al-Iqtisad, the Quranic chapter of economics (more widely known as Surah al-Nahl, chapter of the Bee), repeatedly emphasizes this principle, while also stating, “And were you to count the blessings of God, you could not number them.” The rational response to these infinite and incomparable blessings is gratitude (shukr), which in turn results in contentment and fulfillment (qana’ah). From this point of view, Islamic economic theory maintains that the modern world’s ecological and economic crises result from its reductionist, mechanistic, and materialistic worldview that does injustice to man and threatens nature by treating both as resources rather than the sacred creations they are. Specific crisis events are merely the “tip of the iceberg,” because they are manifestations of unnoticed larger structural problems generated by an underlying dysfunction: our worldview. This study of Islamic economics—rooted in its metaphysical and cosmological sciences—reveals a path to economic justice and ecological equilibrium by recovering the Islamic intellectual heritage and establishing corresponding Islamic scientific, technological, economic, and other social structures that integrate the findings of science into higher orders of knowledge for spiritually meaningful work, vocational occupations, and integral development.

Please RSVP on Eventbrite.


March 28th, 2019 from 9:30AM to 5:30PM
Knox Hall, Room 207

9:30 – 11:00am  Economic and Environmental Thought in Classical Islam

Discussant: Hossein Kamaly (Columbia University)
Sami Al-Daghistani (IRCPL): Environmental and Economic Ethics in Islamic Tradition: A Cosmological Sustainability
Katharina Ivanyi: A Neglected Notion: Classical Iqtiṣād and Contemporary Debates

11:15 – 12:45pm   Contemporary Discourses on Muslim Environmentalism

Discussant: Mohamed Amer Meziane (Columbia University)
Anna M. Gade (UW Madison): ‘Islam and the Environment’ or Muslim Environmentalisms?: Re-Shaping Environmental Studies from a Humanistic Perspective
Sarah E. Robinson-Bertoni (Santa Clara University): Borrowing against the Future: Is Ecological Usury Changing the Climate?
Nawal H. Ammar (Rowan University): Muslims and the Environment: A Futuristic Perspective

12:45 – 2:15pm  Lunch

2:15 – 3:45pm   Time and Nature in Western Intellectual History

Discussant: Rajbir Judge (Columbia University)
Yuri Contreras-Vejar (CUNY): Ascetic Bliss: Fear, Withdrawal and the Taming of Nature in Early Latin Christianity
Helge Jordheim (University of Oslo): Beyond Historical Time: A Theory of Lifetimes
Ajay Singh Chaudhary (Brooklyn Institute for Social Research): Towards a Political Theology of Ecological Exhaustion

4:00 – 5:00 pm   Roundtable led by Sami Al-Daghistani and Souleymane Bachir Diagne

To register for the workshop, please email Marianna Pecoraro at mp3699@columbia.edu. Participants are expected to read the papers in advance.


March 27 @ 5:00 pm
March 28 @ 5:30 pm
Event Category:


IRCPL at Columbia


80 Claremont Ave
80 Claremont Avenue Room 101, New York, NY 10027
New York, NY 10027 US
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