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Eco-spiritual Traditions Sustain Hope in Work for Eco-justice Across Generations


    Hope is essential to promoting the kind of positive moral actions that are necessary to confront serious crises, including climate change. However, climate change often engenders individuals with feelings of despair and helplessness. This study aims to see if and how individuals who are deeply involved with work that expressly aims to bring hope and healing to the world are able to sustain hope themselves. This will contribute to the literature on how to encourage hope as a basis of taking the positive moral action that is needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.

    This is a qualitative study of the conceptions of eco-justice and eco-spirituality for a community of people engaged in regenerative agriculture at a Catholic mission that was founded by nuns in the midwestern United States. The research questions are:

-How do people who are aware of and concerned about environmental crises cope?
-How do people engaged in regenerative agriculture with a spiritual mission conceive of eco-justice and eco-spirituality?
-How do they enact their mission of bringing hope and healing to the world?
-How does this differ across generations, particularly given the differential impact and responsibility for climate change across generations?

Data was gathered through interviewing the people who worked and lived there, as well as the nuns who founded it.


    Description of work that will be assigned to research assistants (i.e. transcription, coding, preliminary analysis of data, etc.)
Student research assistants will work closely with a graduate student mentor who is invested in undergraduate student engagement in sociological research and development as critical thinkers, researchers, and writers. We will meet weekly for the first few weeks and then bi-weekly as research assistants gain competence in their assigned tasks. Tasks will likely include:

-Transcribing interviews
-Reviewing and summarizing relevant literature
-Coding and summarizing interview data
-Preliminary analysis of interview data

Requirements include:
-Sending email updates every week with clear descriptions of tasks accomplished and time spent on the project
-Keeping a project log with documentation of all project-related decisions
-Collaborating and clearly communicating with other team members
-Maintaining an organized file system and backing up all work to the cloud at all times

Supervising faculty member: Muge Gocek

Average Hours of Work Per Week: 6-12

Range of credit hours: 2-4

Number of Positions: 2

Contact info:

Finn Bell,