Sarah McFarland Taylor

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Sarah McFarland Taylor
Occupation Professor, author
Language English
Alma mater Brown University; Dartmouth College; University of California, Santa Barbara
Subject Religious studies, ecology
Notable awards Joseph H. Fichter Award
Albert C. Clarke Prize
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion research award

Sarah McFarland Taylor is an American academic and author. She is currently Associate Professor of Religion in the Department of Religious Studies at Northwestern University, where she also teaches in the Environmental Policy and Culture Program. Areas of focus include women's studies in religion, religion and ecology, and religion and American culture.

Taylor has held numerous fellowships, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Career Enhancement Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, a Wabash Center Fellowship, and a Louisville Institute Fellowship.[1] For the 2008-2009 school year, she held the Senior Research Fellowship at the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School.[2]

Her 2007 book Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology won two awards from the Catholic Press Association for Best Book on Gender Issues as well as Best Book on Social Concerns.[1] Published by the Harvard University press, Green Sisters highlights Roman Catholic religious sisters who have taken up environmental activism,[3] including the Dominican Sisters' Genesis Farm, the Green Mountain Monastery, White Violet Center for Eco-Justice of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, and the Sisters of the Presentation straw-bale welcome center.

In "What If Religions Had Ecologies?: The Case for Reinhabiting Religious Studies" (Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture, Summer 2007), Taylor argues that meaningful connections need to be forged between the literary realm of ecocriticism and religious studies, and more attention needs to be paid to the natural history of the physical environments that religious communities inhabit and to how those communities shape and are in turn shaped by those environments. When physical environments are considered as integral parts of academic religious inquiry and no longer rendered invisible or relegated to mere ‘backdrops’ for the larger human drama, contends Taylor, scholars will be able to provide a more nuanced sense of religion as it is truly lived in context. Taylor continues to theorize the concept of "spiritual ecology" in her work.

The author currently has two books in process: Eternally Green: American Religion and the Ecology of Death, which looks at the green burial movement, and Eco-Prophecy: Religious Responses to Global Climate Change.



  1. ^ a b Northwestern University faculty profile
  2. ^ Marty Martin Center for the Advanced Study of Religion
  3. ^ Swan, Michael (May 26, 2008). "Sisters new ways one with the earth". The Catholic Register. Toronto. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2010.