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April 2, 2020

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has announced a grant to the Arizona State University interdisciplinary project “Apocalyptic Narratives and Climate Change: Religion, Journalism, and the Challenge of Public Engagement.”

Led by Professors of Religious Studies Tracy Fessenden and Gaymon Bennett and Journalism professors Sarah Viren and Steven Beschloss, the Apocalyptic Narratives project is a collaborative effort of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, the Narrative Storytelling Initiative, and the Global Futures Laboratory. Its goal is to develop ways to make climate change narratives more effective with people of faith who may be dismissive of the concept by “combining research on the apocalyptic thinking at the heart of many religions with training in the literature and journalism of social change.”

Addressing climate change will require an “all hands-on deck” approach and so now more than ever, it’s important to find ways to reach out to deniers. The $45,000 grant from the ACLS will help ASU make progress in doing that. The award from the Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

“The nine projects selected this year explore the profound ways religion influences our world and take concrete steps to engage the media, perhaps the ultimate influencer, in sharing that learning more broadly,” said Joy Connolly, president of ACLS. “As our world continues to seek understanding and a path forward in a time of great uncertainty, we want to celebrate examples of how humanists produce knowledge for the public good.”