Southwestern University’s Department of Religion will host an interactive panel discussion exploring the religious intersection of the treatment of animals and our food choices. Preeminent scholars of animals and religion from around the country will weigh in on how various religious traditions might approach these issues, with an emphasis on how modern developments, such as factory farming, affect our religious relationships with animals.

The panelists in this event are

Presentations from each panelist will be followed by a question and answer session. Facilitating the event are Dr. Laura Hobgood (Professor and Paden Chair in Religion and Environmental Studies) and Rebecca Frazier (Communication Studies major, Religion minor, class of 2023).

The program is funded by the Department of Religion and the Office of Paideia

Speaker Bios:

Dr. Deepak Sarma is a Professor of Religious Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and a professor of Bioethics in the CWRU School of Medicine. After earning a BA in religion from Reed College, Sarma attended the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he received a PhD in the philosophy of religions, with a specific focus on Madhva Vedanta, a 13th century school of Indian philosophy. Sarma is the author and editor of several volumes, including Classical Indian Philosophy: A Reader (2011), Hinduism: A Reader (2008), Epistemologies and the Limitations of Philosophical Inquiry: Doctrine in Madhva Vedanta (2005) and An Introduction to Madhva Vedanta (2003). His most recent research includes matters pertaining to Hindu bioethics, which combine nicely with his reflections concerning cultural theory, racism, and post-colonialism.

Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter’s teaching and research interests are in Black & Womanist Theological Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Religion & Food, and Religion & Animals. His publications include The Spirit of Soul Food (University of Illinois Press, November 2021), “Blood in the Soil: The Racial, Racist, and Religious Dimensions of Environmentalism” in The Bloomsbury Handbook on Religion and Nature (Bloomsbury, 2018) and the co-edited volume The Future of Meat Without Animals (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). In them, he explores the intersectional oppressions experienced by people of color, the environment, and animals. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego and a Faith in Food Fellow at Farm Forward.

Dr. Dave Aftandilian is associate professor of anthropology and director of the Human-Animal Relationships (HARE) minor at Texas Christian University. He also co-chairs the Tarrant County Food Policy Council’s Working Group on Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture. He is the editor of What Are the Animals to Us? Approaches from Science, Religion, Folklore, Literature, and Art (Tennessee, 2007) and coeditor of both City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness (with Gavin Van Horn; University of Chicago Press, 2015) and Grounding Education in the Environmental Humanities: Exploring Place-Based Pedagogies in the South (with Lucas Johnston; Routledge, 2019). His research and teaching focus on animals, religion, and culture; food justice; Native American religions and ecology; and nature-based contemplative practices and pedagogies.

Dr. Jonathan K. Crane holds a BA (summa cum laude) from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, an MA in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and an MPhil in Gandhian Thought from Gujarat Vidyapith in Ahmedabad, India. As a Wexner Graduate Fellow, he received both rabbinic ordination and a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. He completed a PhD in Modern Jewish Thought at the University of Toronto. He currently serves as the Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar in Bioethics and Jewish Thought in the Center for Ethics at Emory University, is a Professor of Medicine and of Religion, and is the founding director of the Food Studies and Ethics program at Emory. His scholarly research and teaching examine religion, ethics, bioethics, social and political ethics, food and eating ethics, animal ethics, and comparative religious ethics.