I gained my PhD from the Divinity Faculty at Cambridge University in 2015, and taught for two years at Barrett Honours College (Arizona State), before moving to the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto in 2017. I hold an MPhil from Oxford in Philosophical Theology, an MA in Religious Studies from Stanford, and a BA in Literary Studies and Philosophy from the University of Toronto.
My research and teaching
In the study of religion my work is located at the intersection of religion and ecology. To this topic I take a historical approach, informed by historical and contemporary literature and the philosophy of religion. This allows me to contribute to the teaching of classical elements of the study of religion, while doing so in the context of contemporary questions exploring the expression of human spirituality and the construction of the human-nature relationship.
This approach grew from my early work on Romanticism and religion and the aesthetic expression of spirituality. From there I progressed to a wider interest in the Platonic tradition from antiquity to the present. Both are concerned with the non-anthropocentric construction of meaning, and how this has shaped our understanding of nature. By examining how meaning is made through philosophy, how affect is expressed by literature, and how both are organised by religion, we can better understand how our social imaginary has developed, and with it, our relationship to nature.
My goal is to establish the place of historical religious studies as a key subfield within our broader conversations about the environmental crisis in the humanities, where it is not a lack of scientific or technical knowledge that prevents action, but the cultural framework of our social imaginary.
My research and teaching fall under three interrelated areas:
Philosophy of religion
In this area I focus upon the complex and creative relationship between Christianity and Platonism. This is the subject of Christian Platonism: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2020). My work has also examined the German Sattelzeit, the tempestuous and fecund period of transition from the early modern to the modern period in numerous articles and a forthcoming book Jacobi: Philosophy and Religion at the Crux of Modernity.
Religion and Aesthetics
In this area I concentrate upon the interactions between poetics, metaphysics and spirituality. This is the subject of my work on the New Nature Writing movement, mystical poetics, and Romanticism, including Romanticism and the Re-Invention of Modern Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
Religion and Ecology
Encompassing both philosophy and aesthetics, my current work examines the entanglements between religion, nature and culture, as explored in Pandemic, Ecology and Theology (Routledge, 2020), and the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Christianity and the Environment (Cambridge University Press). I am currently writing an examination of post-secular nature, and a consideration of metaphysics and nature. These two books form a diptych, with the former examining the challenges of our present-day conceptualisation of nature, and the latter exploring the creative recovery of realist metaphysics to reconceptualise the human-nature relationship.