Recent Publications:
Lucas F. Johnston and Dave Aftandilian (eds.) Grounding Education in Environmental Humanities: Exploring Place-Based Pedagogies in the South (Routledge Press, 2018).
This edited volume draws together educators and scholars to engage with the difficulties and benefits of teaching place-based education in a distinctive culture-laden area in North America: the United States South. Despite problematic past visions of cultural homogeneity, the South has always been a culturally diverse region with many historical layers of inhabitation and migration, each with their own set of religious and secular relationships to the land. Through site-specific narratives, this volume offers a blueprint for new approaches to place-based pedagogy, with an emphasis on the intersection between religion and the environment. By offering broadly applicable examples of pedagogical methods and practices, this book confronts the need to develop more sustainable local communities to address globally significant challenges.
Johnston, Lucas F. 2018. “Worldview Analysis in Comparative Context: Fishing for Data inMuddy Waters.” Invited submission for the open-source journal Religions, special issue on “Ethnographies of Worldviews/Ways of Life” (August 2018).
Abstract: Drawing on the five-fold revision of the concept of “worldview” offered by the issue editors, I investigate whether some nonreligious modes of cultural production might be profitably investigated using such a typology. In my comparative study of religious and secular sustainability-oriented social movements I offered skeletal definitions of the categories “religion” and “sustainability,” and suggested ways in which public deployments of such terms might offer fertile ground for collaboration between individuals and groups with different value sets. In more recent work among particular rock music and festival scenes, I have found it necessary to offer a dramatically different understanding of the category “religion.” In a sort of thought experiment, I imagine whether the revised concept of “worldview” might be applicable, and indeed whether it offers some advantage over the category “religion.” My conclusions are that in general, in some cases the category of worldview may have some advantages, but it may also gloss over or ignore important cultural contestations over terms such as religion, and at best underplay important affective activators of belonging and identity. The notion of “ways of life,” or “lifeways” may offer a term which avoids some ethnocentric impositions, but would require greater elaboration to be broadly useful to ethnographers