Christiana Zenner, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Theology, Science, and Ethics at Fordham University in New York City. Dr. Zenner is the author of the book Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and Global Water Crises (2014, rev. ed. 2018), co-editor of two scholarly volumes, and the author of more than a dozen peer-reviewed articles on values, the ecological turn in Catholic social thought, and theology and science. She is a graduate of Stanford University (B.A., Human Biology), Yale Divinity School (M.A.R., Ethics) and Yale University (Ph.D., Religious Studies).
Zenner’s project studies how theologians, scientists, and social scientists invoke the proposed epoch of the Anthropocene, and it queries how Anthropocene discourse across disciplines relies upon metaphysical assumptions surrounding human distinctiveness and human responsibility. Its hypothesis is that the scientific Anthropocene designation succinctly but vaguely aphorizes anthropogenic culpability and moral responsibility in ways that problematically eclipse historic patterns of power and inequality, while also foregrounding some indirect negative consequences of collective action that are insufficiently theorized in contemporary theological and moral anthropologies. This project will parse how the scientific dispute over Anthropocene-identities would benefit from making explicit its normative anthropologies, while noting also that scientific–and especially social scientific–proposals suggest necessary amendments for theological anthropologies. The overall contribution will be to delineate parameters for discussing human distinctiveness in the much-debated Anthropocene with implications for methodology in contemporary earth sciences and theology.