Dr Alda Balthrop-Lewis

Senior Research Fellow
Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Dr Alda Balthrop-Lewis

Areas of expertise: religion and ecology; environmental justice; religious ethics; political theology; environmental ethics; religion and democracy; religion and literature; ethnography

Email: alda.balthrop-lewis@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9017-2655

My research focuses on religious environmental ethics and the circulation of ideas among theological, artistic, and popular idioms. I have particular interests in environmental justice and in the way that the concepts of 'religion' and 'politics' are related to theological histories of gender, race, nature, and nation. I welcome PhD students working on related topics, especially those with a keen eye on the political and ethical implications of their research.

I serve as the book reviews editor for the Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, which is the publication of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion. I am also co-editor with Jonathan Tran of the American Academy of Religion book series Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion, published by Oxford University Press. In 2023, I was the Denis Edwards Fellow at the Laudato Si Research Institute in Campion Hall, Oxford University.

Before coming to ACU I completed a BA in Religious Studies at Stanford University, a Masters degree in Religion from The University of Chicago, and a PhD at Princeton University in Religion, Ethics, and Politics. I have taught in the Religious Studies department at Brown University, and I have worked as a research assistant for the Peabody Award-winning audio program On Being, produced in the United States.

Select publications


Journal articles

  • (2023) “Religious Ethics as a Social Practice,” The Journal of Religious Ethics 51.3.
  • (2020) Alimi, Toni, Elizabeth L. Antus, Alda Balthrop-Lewis, James F. Childress, Shannon Dunn, Ronald M. Green, Eric Gregory, et al. "COVID-19 and Religious Ethics." Journal of Religious Ethics 48.3, 349-87.
  • (2020) "Response to Ted Smith." Modern Theology 36.1, 74-75.
  • (2019) "Active and Contemplative Lives in a Changing Climate: The Emersonian Roots of Thoreau's Political Asceticism." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 87.2, 311-32.
  • (2019) "Exemplarist Environmental Ethics: Thoreau's Political Asceticism against Solution Thinking." The Journal of Religious Ethics 47.3, 525-50.
  • (2018) "Prophecy, Ethical Constraints, and Unjust Silence." Journal of Religious Ethics 46.1, 157-66.

Book chapters

  • (2021) "Nature and Environment." In The Oxford Handbook to Reinhold Niebuhr, Robin Lovin and Joshua Mauldin (eds), (Oxford University Press).
  • (2018) "Thoreau's Woodchopper, Wordsworth's Leech-Gatherer, and the Representation of 'Humble and Rustic Life.'" In Theology and Ecology Across the Disciplines: On Care for Our Common Home, Celia Deane-Drummond and Rebecca Artinian-Kaiser (eds), (Bloomsbury: T&T Clark).


  • Finalist, Top 5 Humanities, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • ACU Vice-Chancellor's Staff Excellence Award for Excellence in Community Engagement (2022)
  • Shannon Fellowship, International Thomas Merton Society (2022)
  • Finalist, Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (2016)
  • Department of Religion Teaching Award, Princeton University (2012-2013)
  • Fellow, The Fund for Theological Education (2009-2010)
  • Garfield Prize in Religious Studies, Stanford University (2006)


  • Denis Edwards Fellow, Laudato Si Research Institute, Campion Hall, University of Oxford (2023)
  • Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry (2023-)
  • Research Fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry (2017-2022)
  • Visiting Instructor, Brown University (2017)

Editorial roles

  • Book series co-editor, Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion, Oxford University Press, American Academy of Religion (2022-)
  • Book reviews editor, Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, Australian Association for the Study of Religion (2021-)

Public engagement activities

ACU Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

Mailing address

C/- 115 Victoria Pde
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065.