University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Willis Jenkins

Willis Jenkins

Associate Professor, Religious Studies; Environmental Humanities

Gibson Hall S-065


I work along intersections of religious ethics with the environmental humanities. I trained in contemporary environmental ethics and in classical Christian theology, so my first project undertook comparative theological readings in the space of modern environmental questions. My interests have since broadened to interpreting many other models of religious engagement with environmental thought, including relations of ethics and the environmental sciences. I have become interested in the modern project of Christian social ethics, especially its reckoning with economics and with political violence. I often wonder what it means to do religious ethics, which means that I’m interested in questions about method. I work on global ethics, usually focusing on climate ethics and recently on questions about morality in Anthropocene conditions. And I have an emerging interest in food studies, maybe as a site for integrating a number of those interests.

I have written two award-winning books: The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, and Religious Creativity (Georgetown, 2013), which won an American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence, and Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology (Oxford, 2008), which won a Templeton Award for Theological Promise. I have also edited or co-edited a number of volumes; this year I am editing a special issue on “Religion and Climate Change” for Religious Studies Review and working with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim on The Routledge Companion to Religion and Ecology. My next major research project is organized around “the moral ecology of food.” I received my B.A. from Wheaton College, and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.