Contact information       Anna 153

Office:  105 Anderson Hall

Mailbox:  107 Anderson Hall

Tel: 352-273-2936

Fax: 352-392-7395


I am a social ethicist with an overarching interest in the ways that moral claims are expressed and embodied in “real life.”  My academic work focuses especially on ideas, communities, and movements involved in progressive social change.  My graduate training was in “ethics and society” (PhD, University of Chicago Divinity School) and my undergraduate degree was in Religious Studies (from U.C. Berkeley).  I have conducted extensive fieldwork among religious communities and social movements in the U.S. and Latin America.

My main research and teaching areas are social ethics, environmental ethics, religion and social change, animal studies, religion and politics in Latin America.  At UF, I am affiliated with several interdisciplinary programs at UF:  the Center for Latin American Studies, the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Program in Tropical Conservation and Development, and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.

During the 2017-18 academic year, I am on sabbatical, working primarily on a new book about the role of material practice — what Marx called “human sensuous activity” — in ethical theory.  In a nutshell, I ask: What is the significance of what people actually do for how we think about value?  The book analyzes the treatment of practice in secular and religious ethical theories, and then looks at the significance of practice in evaluating several contemporary moral problems (on racial justice, climate change, assisted suicide, and military violence).  In the end, I aim to build a constructive argument for a practice-based ethical theory.

In addition to that project, I am presently finishing a co-authored book, with wildlife ecologist Dara Wald.  We are exploring the social, ecological, and ethical dimensions of the debates about community/feral cats.  As of fall 2017, we are completing the last chapters.

Last, I am beginning another collaborative project, one on the politics and ethics of companion animal rescue, together with sociologist Robert Perdue and advocate/activist Donna Reynolds.  We are interested in the ways that companion animal advocacy intersects with social justice concerns including race, economic inequity, and more. This project will draw on interviews, survey data, and participant-observation research as well as ethical analysis and social movement theory.

Recent books

Religion and Ecological Crisis.  Co-edited with Todd LeVasseur.  New York: Routledge, 2016.

Being Animal: Beasts and Boundaries in Nature Ethics.  New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.

With Charles Kibert, Martha Monroe, Richard Plate, and Leslie Paul Thiele. Working Toward Sustainability: Ethical Decision Making in a Technological World. Hoboken: John Wiley, 2011.

Everyday Ethics and Social Change:  The Education of Desire.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 2009.

Latin American Religions: Histories and Documents in Context (edited and with introductions). With Manuel Vásquez.  New York: New York University Press, 2008.

trees pondRecent awards and grants

Term Professorship, 2016-2018, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

UF International Center Undergraduate Course Development grant for “Global Ethics,” 2015

Humanities Scholarship Enhancement Fund, 2015

Elizabeth Wood Dunlevie Honors Term Professor, 2012-13.


Choice Outstanding Academic Book award for Everyday Ethics and Social Change, 2010

University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship, 2009-2011 (also 2002-2004).

National Science Foundation. Co-PI, with Charles Kibert (PI), Martha Monroe, and Les Thiele. “Teaching the Ethics of Sustainability.” 2008-2010.

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