Vol 28 No 1 (2012)
Relations, Places, and Practics

Antidotes to Humanism

Paul Jeffrey Lindholdt
Eastern Washington University
Published June 7, 2012


Humanism, especially Christian humanism, has impeded environmental progress, a growing body of scholarship shows, but bioregionalism may offer an antidote. Often considered merely an economic and scientific sub-discipline of environmental studies, bioregionalism also contains an overlooked spiritual dimension that enhances it as a subject of scholarly study and as a personal pursuit. Juxtaposing poems by John Milton and Gerard Manley Hopkins, religious poets from England in the 17th and 19th centuries, I demonstrate first the historical humanist response to the nature-culture nexus and, second, the bioregional response to that same nexus. In addition I offer firsthand spiritual experiences vis-vis the environment, teaching experiences that demonstrate a bioregional ethos, and a survey of scholarship that demonstrates the primacy of place-based studies that are currently neglected in most college and university curricula.