Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for a Flourishing Planet

A public conversation with James Miller and Jason Kelly

By Rohit Revi

“A flourishing human society is dependent upon a flourishing planet. This should be the structuring principle of education.”

The 21st century brings unprecedented challenges to human wellbeing. Ranging from rapid environmental destruction and the threat of an impending nuclear disaster, to growing economic, social and psychological crises, these challenges exist at a global scale, demanding great urgency. At the same time, universities appear to not only be fundamentally unsuccessful in addressing them, but even instrumental in their perpetuation. In the light of this specific problem, the Spirituality Nature Culture Laboratory organized a public conversation between Prof. James Miller and Prof. Jason Kelly, titled Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for a Flourishing Planet, on the 31st of January, 2018. Continue reading “Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for a Flourishing Planet”

What does it mean to be spiritual?

Galen Watts, Queen’s University, Ontario

Spirituality has become a kind of buzzword in today’s culture, especially for the millennial generation. Increasingly, North Americans identify as spiritual as opposed to religious.

What is behind the rising popularity of spirituality without religion? Some critics have suggested it is a byproduct of the self-obsessed culture of today, evidence of a narcissism epidemic. This criticism is similar to that launched at the millennial generation (born between 1980-2000) in general, what some scholars have called “Generation Me.

Although I don’t disagree with these characterizations, I believe there is more to the story. Since 2015 I have conducted in-depth research with Canadian millennials, interviewing 33 Canadian millennials who self-identify as spiritual but not religious — in order to better understand their beliefs and practices.

Continue reading “What does it mean to be spiritual?”

Democracy without Dignity: A Confucian Critique of President Trump

By James Miller

The events of the past week have marked the point of absolute contrast between the world’s two most important countries and their leaders. In China, President Xi Jinping has consolidated his power throughout the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), beginning with the bravura performance of a three and a half hour opening speech, during which he touched not a drop of water. By the end of the congress, he was confirmed in his position for another five years, his supporters were elected to key government positions, and his thinking established as part of the CPC’s ruling doctrine for decades to come.  Continue reading “Democracy without Dignity: A Confucian Critique of President Trump”

Call For Submissions

The SNC-LAB is seeking academic and non-academic submissions that contribute to the development of at least one of its four research themes. This blog is meant to be a public forum where researchers, artists, and community members alike can present their ideas and/or projects, while engaging in meaningful dialogue.

We are especially seeking submissions that forge new ground—intellectually and/or artistically—and challenge conventional ways of thinking and doing. We welcome succinct and accessible contributions that draw on diverse perspectives, theoretical approaches and disciplinary/professional backgrounds.

SNC-LAB invites submissions for our peer-reviewed blog in the following categories:

  • Original essays (max 800 words) concerning topics related to our research themes
  • Short reports or analyses (max 400 words) linking to news, events, ideas or essays posted elsewhere on the Internet that are of relevance to our research themes
  • Ideas in progress, hypotheses, and/or musings (max 400 words)
  • Creative / Artistic / Video submissions (unrestricted format)

All published contributions must intersect in some way with our four key themes of Axiology, Planetarity, Pedagogy or Spirituality. Authors are asked to indicate which theme(s) their contribution addresses and should include at least one relevant royalty-free image.

Submissions should be sent as word documents to

Axiology: Values at the Heart of the University














Professors Jason Kelly and James Miller invite you to join them in a conversation on
Wednesday October 4 at 5:30pm
in Biosciences 1120 on the campus of Queen’s University, Canada.

In an era of climate crisis, species extinction, and threat of nuclear war, our culture and economy still seem to have unbounded faith in the liberatory promises of technology, capitalism and consumerism. Universities chiefly serve the goals of industry in training people with the skills to work harder and smarter, without seriously pausing to ask why? The present crisis in mental health is hardly surprising. Can universities ever become genuinely critical enterprises? Can questions of meaning, happiness and purpose ever become central to their mission?

In a series of four public conversations on Axiology, Planetarity, Pedagogy and Spirituality, the Spirituality, Nature & Culture Laboratory ( opens up for discussion the values at the heart of the modern university.

Join Jason Kelly and James Miller for an honest, thought-provoking conversation at this event!


James Miller

James Miller is Head of Research for SNC-LAB and Director of Queen’s School of Religion. He has over 25 years experience as a China scholar, and is  Professor of Chinese Studies in the School of Religion at Queen’s University, Canada, cross-appointed to the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures He  is one of the West’s leading scholars working at the intersection of Chinese religions, nature and sustainability. Continue reading “James Miller”

Parish Bhumgara

Parish Bhumgara is an MA student at Queen’s University in the Philosophy program, with a specialization in political and legal thought. He completed his undergraduate studies at Queen’s with a Philosophy major and Religious Studies minor.

Ian Cuthbertson

Ian Cuthbertson is Head of Operations for SNC-LAB. He is a Baker Postdoctoral Fellow at Queen’s University working on critical approaches to the category ‘religion’ and in the ways dominant popular and academic discourses work to set limits on which kind of phenomena count as religion while supporting social and political efforts to manage and control both the expression of religious beliefs and also the presence of religious behaviours and objects in the public sphere. His PhD dissertation explored how dominant views of secularization, disenchantment, and modernity, which constitute a ‘modern imaginary,’ work to discipline academic and popular accounts of the place of religion in modern world such that magic, superstition, and other supra-rational beliefs and concerns are rendered largely invisible.  Continue reading “Ian Cuthbertson”

Sebastian De Line

My name is Sebastian De Line. I am an artist and PhD student in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University. I completed an M.A. in Art Praxis (cum laude) at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, The Netherlands. My master’s thesis compared the works of Audra Simpson and Michel Serres to related discourses on indigeneity, posthuman, New Materialism, social and racial contract theory. My current research interests focus on the three tenets of Indigenous science & philosophy (Little Bear), feminist queer/trans studies, diffraction, animacy and affect.

 The basis of my subjectivity as an Indigenous/Asian trans scholar and artist both inform and complicate the perspectives I write this from. I was born and raised in British Columbia. My father, Terry Deline, was Mohawk and part of Kahnewake’s community in the 1970’s. He was of Dutch and Haudenosaunee decent. I also have relatives in Tyendinaga. They are my elders who teach me about our Haudenosaunee traditions. My mother is Cantonese and belongs to the Choo family. Her grandfather, Choo Ching Kew, arrived in Canada during 1909 as an indentured railway worker from China. Her family are fourth generation Canadian.

Jayme Grieco-Hogg

Jayme Grieco-Hogg is Head of Outreach for SNC-LAB. She is pursuing her MA in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. She completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s with a Religious Studies major and a Psychology minor. For her Masters, Jayme is focusing on environmentalism as a cultural movement. Specifically, she is researching how certain subcultures in South East Asia incorporate sustainability into their lifestyles. 

Jason Kelly

Jason James Kelly is Head of Education for SNC-LAB. Dr. Kelly is Chair of Graduate Studies at Queen’s School of Religion, where he teaches courses on Religion and Environment, Indigenous Traditions in North America, Mysticism, and Social Ethics. Dr. Kelly’s research interests include spiritual ecology, the psychology of religion, continental philosophy and Indigenous philosophy. He has published work on erotic mysticism, the Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) movement and process philosophy. His current research project focuses on the history of cosmic consciousness in relation to spiritual ecology and social justice.

James Kwateng-Yeboah

Why is religion still relevant for new African immigrants in a supposedly secularizing Canada? How and why do the majority of African immigrants in Canada tend to establish their own religious communities rather than identify with Canadian led ones? What opportunities and challenges are presented by such immigrant religious communities to social policy makers on matters of human development and the environment? Continue reading “James Kwateng-Yeboah”

Angus McBlane

Angus McBlane is currently Visiting Assistant Professor (Philosophy and Cultural Theory) in the Humanities and Social Sciences and member of the Centre for Cognitive Science at the Indian Institute of Technology – Gandhinagar (Gujarat, India). He is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Cultural Studies programme at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada). He received his PhD from the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory at Cardiff University (Wales, UK). Specializing in Posthumanism, Phenomenology, Comparative/World Philosophy, and Visual Cultures, his current research focuses on the development of Posthumanist Philosophy. His most recent publication is ‘Expressing Corporeal Silence: Phenomenology, Merleau-Ponty, and Posthumanism’ in a special issue on proto-posthumanisms in Word and Text (Vol VI, 2016), and his work has appeared in Directory of World Cinema: JapanDirectory of World Cinema: South Korea, and Anime and Philosophy. He is also a reviewer for the newly-launched Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy (


Valerie Michaelson

There are many research questions that call for a consilience between disciplines, which is why I find it exciting to be cross-appointed between the Department of Public Health Sciences and the School of Religion. As a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University, my research draws together diverse topics under the wide rubrics of children’s spiritual health. I explore the lived experiences of children, and ask questions about young people find ways to live well, and even to flourish, in a complicated world. Continue reading “Valerie Michaelson”

Sharday Mosurinjohn 

I’m an Assistant Professor in the School of Religion at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. My research and teaching focuses on the contemporary religious situation. My major line of work is about boredom and spirituality. At the moment, I’m writing a book which investigates how the modern concept of boredom as a spiritual crisis functions today, in the late modern “information society.” Other research areas include new religious movements, ritual, religion and/as media, and concepts of nonreligion and secularity. The scholarship of teaching and learning in religious studies is also of great interest to me. I am an Assistant Editor for the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network. I also serve as a Member-at-Large on the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion executive. 

Faculty Website



Joshua Noiseux

Joshua Noiseux is a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University.  He completed his MA at Trent’s Theory, Culture, and Politics program, with a thesis on the American and Israeli militaries’ engagement with Deleuzean philosophy and its implications for the practice of strategic agency. Continue reading “Joshua Noiseux”

Monica Philpott

Monica is a Queen’s University student finishing her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Development and Art History. She is interested in the intersecting concepts of social justice and the art world. Monica is particularly focused on the effects of neo-colonialism on First Nations and Inuit artist’s voices which are primarily under represented in museums and galleries, past and presently.

She wishes to study the strategy, sustainability, and management of the Inuit Art Economy and its on-going place in an evolving global austerity; which has experienced major domestic and international restructuring in recent years. Monica recognizes that there is a critically underserved artistic population, and she hopes her research can be a stepping-stone towards equality and equity. 

Currently living in Santa Cruz, California but soon to be based in Montréal, Quebec, she is looking to complete her honours thesis this Spring of 2018. Monica is planning on pursuing further education in the history of Inuit Art and its contemporary economy, as well as the crucial changes needed in order to one day reconcile. 

Rohit Revi

Rohit Revi is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University. He completed his MA in Society and Culture at Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, India. 

His Masters dissertation described the technology-driven deterioration of the condition of labour under neoliberal capitalism, and focused on a contradiction inherent to the contemporary technosolutionist drive.

He is currently interested in contemporary critical theory, environmental politics and philosophy of technology.