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"Melanie Harris has written an engaging and provocative book that deserves to be widely read. She underscores the significance of African cosmology and African-American history to ecowomanist ways of being in the world. Her articulation of these broad cosmological and historical frameworks for effective environmental justice is brilliant and timely.”

--Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, and co-author Journey of the Universe

Scholarship on African American history and culture has often neglected the tra­dition of African American women who engage in theological and religious reflection on their ethical and moral responsibility to care for the earth. Melanie Harris argues that African American women make distinctive contributions to the environmental justice movement in the ways that they theologize, theorize, practice spiritual activism, and come into religious understandings about our re­lationship with the earth. Incorporating ele­ments of her family history to set the stage for her argument, Harris intersperses her academic reflections with her own personal stories and anecdotes.

This unique text stands at the intersection of several academic disciplines: womanist theol­ogy, eco-theology, spirituality, and theological aesthetics.

Melanie L. Harris is  Founding Director of African American and Africana Studies and Professor of Religion and Ethics at Texas Christian Univer­sity,. Dr. Harris also serves as an American Council of Education Fellow at the University of Denver. She is author of Gifts of Virtue, Alice Walker, and Womanist Ethics, and co-editor of Faith, Femi­nism and Scholarship (both Palgrave Macmillan). She holds a PhD from Union Theological Semi­nary, New York.

Book Details

African American Women and Earth-Honoring Faiths
Ecology & Justice
Melanie L. Harris

Ecowomanism Table of Contents (978-1-62698-201-7_toc.pdf, 89 Kb) [Download]

"Harris’s repositioning of care for the environment as care for all humanity brings the conversation to a broader audience. Ecowomanism’s concern for the 'tripartite oppressions' of gender, race, and class subjugation reimagines environmental injustice as an obligation to 'the least of these,' especially as marginalized populations are affected most by pollution and climate change.... A book for everyone."
This book is a womanist environmental justice gem. Harris weaves together personal/communal and historical/contemporary stories to tell the ecowomanist story of honoring the earth, and she offers an ecospirituality of spiritual, concrete activism to save us all.
Harris rightly asks important questions: What are the relationships between human communities and the Earth? In what ways do religions contribute, or deprive, communities of Earth knowledge? Is there an urgency today for justice that calls forth womanist understandings of oppression of peoples and ecologies? This is not a read and weep book; this is a stand up and shout book!
Harris deftly achieves that elusive goal: a book that will be highly relevant not only for the academy, but also for the church and for social movements. It will be invaluable for courses in environmental and religious ethics, spirituality, Black liberation theologies, womanist ethics and theologies, and African American religious thought.
In this rich and powerful work, Harris introduces the concept of ecowomanism by clearly and effectively laying out its methodology, applications, and significance. This book is a critically important work of justice deeply rooted in the experiences and history of Black women’s long struggle against eco-racism and all forms of oppression.
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