UCHRI Welcomes Matthew Hartman, Postdoctoral Scholar in Climate Communications and Environmental Justice

I received my PhD in Ethics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, where my work focused on the intersection of religious studies, climate ethics, and environmental humanities. My research explores how identity formation and the construction of narrative shape views of and responses to the climate crisis. My dissertation, “White-Hot Environments: Religious Entanglements of Right-Wing Ecologies from Climate Denialism to Climate Nationalism,” examines the climate politics of immigration rhetoric at the intersection of American evangelical climate denialism and far-right movements more broadly, while interrogating the roots of white supremacy in shaping the climate crisis. While in my doctoral program, I was involved with the GTU Sustainability 360 Initiative, an environmental humanities incubator for research at the intersection of religion and sustainability studies. Through this initiative, I designed graduate courses with a focus on developing place-based ecological ethics that engage California landscapes and community-based environmental justice organizations while centering race and religion in climate discourse. While at the GTU, I also worked in a programming coordinator role for the various interreligious centers of the consortium where I gained experience running academic programming, managing grant-funded operations, and interfacing with diverse, multi-religious communities. I am excited to bring this focus and experience to UCHRI and the institute’s work on various initiatives through WUICAN, such as the Interfaith Climate Action Working Group and the Climate Action Training Summer Institute for UC PhD candidates.

In addition to my work at UCHRI, I am co-editing a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (JSRNC) on “Right-Wing Religious Ecologies,” due out in 2024, and I am also co-editor of a forthcoming book through Springer Nature’s Sustainable Development Goals Series titled Sustainable Societies, Religious Ethics, and Planetary Restoration.

In my free time, I enjoy visiting local coffee shops and going on hikes with my family—spouse Kristin, one-year old Louie, and mini-Labradoodle Albie. While we’ll miss walks through the many redwood groves so easily accessible from the Bay Area, we’re looking forward to exploring the diverse landscapes Southern California has to offer.