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Todd LeVasseur

Visiting Assistant Professor and Program Director, Environmental Studies Program

Address: Education Center, 25 St. Phillip Street, Rm 207E
Office Hours: MW 11:45 - 1:45 or by appointment
Phone: 843.953.3911
E-mail: levasseurtj@cofc.edu


Todd LeVasseur earned his PhD (2011) in the Department of Religion at the University of Florida, where he studied religion and nature, environmental ethics, and North American religious history. An alumnus of the College of Charleston, he returned to his alma mater to teach during the 2010-12 academic years.

In his own words
The Indian biologist and philosopher of science Meera Nanda has created a version of the "Hippocratic Oath," but for public intellectuals. It reads as follows: "Ideas have consequences. Those of us who trade in ideas have a responsibility to ensure that our ideas should do no harm." In a similar spirit, the religion scholar Thomas Tweed made the following statement about education: "When it's effective, teaching—and learning—means moving back and forth between the familiar and the strange, and the familiarization of the other generates a limited but transformative empathy, which is one mark of the educated person, the humane neighbor, and the effective citizen. Teaching—and learning—is transport that transforms." My teaching philosophy is thoroughly shaped by these two quotes.  In my classes I invite students to explore how “religion” interacts with, shapes, and is shaped by politics; economics; issues of race, class, and gender; and colonialism and imperialism, past and present.  It is a quasi-truism that religion is everywhere, and shapes everything, and my courses hope to introduce students to this realization of the importance of religion in everyday life around the world.

In terms of research interests, I study the interface of religious beliefs/experiences/institutional identities/practices (and cultural narratives and identities, broadly), and how these both shape and are shaped by the natural, "more-than-human" world.  The overarching research question that guides my scholarly path is how can the human animal, from individual to global scales, learn to actively generate just, sustainable lifeways as we move into the anthropocene? 


Education

2011—Ph.D, "Religion and Nature," Department of Religion, University of Florida
2005—M.Sc. Human Ecology, Centre for Human Ecology, Scotland
2001—Postgraduate Certificate in Ecophilosophy, Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy, Murdoch University, Australia
1997—B.A. in Religious Studies, College of Charleston, with a Minor in Philosophy


Research Interests

  • Religion and Nature/Ecology, including
  • Religion and Agriculture/Food
  • Religious responses to climate destabilization
  • How religious belief and/or practice inhibits or helps attempts for sustainability
  • American Religious Diversity
  • American Religious History
  • Religion and Animals
  • Mysticism
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Religion and Science

Courses Taught


Publications

"Roundtable on Climate Destabilization and the Study of Religion Introduction."   Journal of the American Academy of Religion.  Vol. 83 (2015)

“The Earth Is sui generis”: Destabilizing the Climate of Our Field."  Journal of the American Academy of Religion.  Vol. 83 (2015)

“Is Trash Hybrid?”  Green Humanities, vol. 1 (2015),pp. 75-103

"Teaching Sustainability via the Environmental Humanities:  Studying Water, Studying Ourselves."  Journal of Sustainabiity Education. Vol. 7 (2014).

"Environmental Philosophy in a Post-Ice Cap North Polar World."  Journal of Environmental Ethics, 2014

"Defining “Ecolinguistics?”: Challenging Emic Issues in an Evolving Environmental Discipline"  Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer.  2014. 

"Koinonia Partners:  A Demonstration Plot For Food, Fellowship, And Sustainability."  Religion, Food, And Eating In North America.  2014. pg. 253.  Ch. 13.

"Globalizing the Ecovillage Ideal; Networks of Empowerment, Seeds of Hope."  Environmental Anthropology Engaging Ecotopia:  Bioregionalism, Permaculture, and Ecovilliages, editors Joshua Lockyer and James Veteto (2013).

With Lucas Johnston, “Indigenous and Traditional Resource Management” in The Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Natural Resources and Sustainability

“The Environment Contains no ‘Right’ and ‘Left’: Navigating Ideology, Religion, and Views of the Environment in Contemporary American Society.” Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 11, issue 33 (Winter 2012)

"We Are What We Don't Eat: Worms, Bacteria, and the Soil Under Us" Parasites, Worms, and the Human Body in Religion and Culture, editors Misha Tadd and Brenda Gardenour (2012).

The Production of Post-Supernaturalistic Mythopoesis in Contemporary Nature Religion.” Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion, vol. 16.1 (2012).

“Shame, Ritual and Beauty: Technologies of Encountering the Other--Past, Present, and Future" in Placing Nature on the Borders of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

“From Fall to Redemption.” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. Volume 21, Issue 6, 2008, pg. 597. Review Essay