Dr Alda Balthrop-Lewis
Religion and Theology
Areas of expertise: religion and society; religious ethics; theological ethics; political theology; theology and ecology; environmental ethics; religion and democracy; literature and theology; ethnography
Location: ACU Melbourne Campus
ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9017-2655
Alda Balthrop-Lewis is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry. Before coming to ACU she completed a B.A. at Stanford University, a M.Div. at The University of Chicago and a Ph.D. at Princeton University in Religion, Ethics, and Politics. She has taught in the Religious Studies department at Brown University, and she has worked as a research assistant for the Peabody Award-winning public radio program On Being, produced in the United States.
Her research focuses on religious environmental ethics and the circulation of ideas among theological, artistic, and popular idioms. Her first book, Thoreau’s Religion: Walden Woods, Social Justice, and the Politics of Asceticism (Cambridge University Press, 2021), treats Henry David Thoreau as an inheritor of traditional ascetic practices, and argues that his asceticism is politically relevant – both in his period and for contemporary environmental ethics. She has particular interests in the role of the emotions in environmental politics and in the way that the concepts of ‘religion’ and ‘politics’ are related to theological histories of gender, race, nature, and nation.
- 2021 Thoreau’s Religion: Walden Woods, Social Justice, and the Politics of Asceticism, New Cambridge Studies in Religion and Critical Thought. (Cambridge University Press).
- (2020) Alimi, Toni, Elizabeth L. Antus, Alda Balthrop‐Lewis, James F. Childress, Shannon Dunn, Ronald M. Green, Eric Gregory, et al. 2020. “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.
- (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).
- Guest on Meredith Lake’s Soul Search, ABC Radio National, (broadcast Sunday 14 March 2021).
- "The Right Every Man Should Have,” The Cooperative blog, February 2021.
- Podcast interview, The Study, January 2021
- Guest on Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens’s The Minefield, “What If Covid Doesn’t Go Away?” ABC Radio National (broadcast Wednesday 19 August 2020).
- “What Baking Sourdough Can Teach Us about the Moral Life,” ABC Religion and Ethics blog, August 2020.
- “Emotions of Isolation,” an online forum for the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, August 2020.
- “Thoreau’s Asceticism as Obedience to a Higher Law,” Political Theology Network blog, April 2020.
- “Henry David Thoreau: Saint of the Environmental Movement?” review of Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau by Kevin Dann and Henry David Thoreau: A Life by Laura Dassow Walls, The Revealer, February 2019.
- “Thoreau’s Ferocious Critique of Philanthropy Does Not Make Him ‘Selfish,’”Religion Dispatches, October 22, 2015.