Tyler Tully


Prof. Graham Ward (Oxon), Dr. Donovan O. Schaefer (University of Pennsylvania)

Research Overview:

The study of Religion and Ecology desires to make legible religion’s relationships with the more-than-human world. It also seeks ways to understand and to motivate positive environmental practice especially given the global crisis of climate change. The field thus far has attempted to systematize (or analyse) non-anthropocentric cosmological narratives thinking these might lead to pro-environmental practices. However, my research argues that this approach misapprehends what motivates, enacts, and informs behaviours. Given the pervasive influence of dominant approaches in the study of Religion and Ecology, which foreground worldview studies and discourse narrative schemes, an alternative materialist theory of fleshly, affective religion promises generative and original analyses. In this way, what we call worldviews or cosmological value-systems fold upwards into a much larger nexus of material assemblages, rather than serving as their cognitive-linguistic fount. Appreciating how bodies of all kinds intra-act in the world, my thesis seeks to complicate and nuance the unidirectional dimension of the worldview hypothesis towards a richer and more sophisticated set of tools for conceptualizing how discourse-practice complexes and political-material configurations come to matter.

Research Area/s: 

Religion & Science, Modern and Systematic Theology, Decolonial Studies, Critical Race Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies


Tyler M. Tully is a doctoral candidate in Religion and Science and the Arthur Peacocke Graduate Scholar in Religion and Science at the University of Oxford. His teaching and research engages the intersecting entanglements between religion/ secularism, critical race theory, Indigenous and feminist new materialisms, and political ecology. Tully’s work has been published in academic periodicals like the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture and The Bulletin for the Study of Religion, and for public audiences with Al Jazeera media and blogs like Religious Bulletin and The Religion Factor. In 2020, he will be co-editor of a special issue on race and climate change in the international journal Politics. 

Tully’s dissertation project, Critical Materialisms: Affect, Animality, and the Antihuman, explores the Humanist technologies of empiricism, homoginization, consilience and cogitocentrism in the similar yet nevertheless distinct set of mythopoetic-scientific discourses known as the new cosmology. As a native Oklahoman of settler and Indigenous descent, Tully’s areas of interest include religion/secularity and US settler-colonialism as a structure rather than event, biopolitical affect and power, the environmental humanities, critical studies of race and identity, and Indigenous (decolonial) methodologies. In addition to the American Academy of Religion, Tyler is also a perpetual member of the Alpha Chi National Honor society and a member of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.


Academia.edu: https://oxford.academia.edu/TylerMTully

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tylertully/

Select Publications:

“Settler Similarity and the Science of Difference: Human Identity in an Age of DNA Testing,” The Religion Factor, University of Groningen. January 2019.

“Decolonizing Ecological Theology,” in T&T Clark Companion to Ecological Theology, (forthcoming).

 “Review of Brianne Donaldson’s Creaturely Cosmologies: Why Metaphysics Matters for Animal and Planetary Liberation.” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 12(1): 109-111. March 2018.

“Epistemologies of Trauma: Cognitive insights for narrative construction as ritual performance,” in Bulletin for the Study of Religion 46, no. 3-4 (2017): 48-56.

Conference Papers and Plenary Lectures: 

“Incarnate Materialisms: Critically Engaging Non-dualist Anthropologies in Theological Discourse.” American Academy of Religion (2018), AAR Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.

“‘And the Word became flesh’: How deep is the Incarnation in light of biological evolution?” Reading is Believing? Sacred Texts in a Scientific Age, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, University of Cambridge, UK (2018).

“‘Lord Over and the Centre of All Things’: Martin Luther and a New Materialist Approach to the Role of the Human in Creation.” Rethink Reformation 2017, Aarhus University, Denmark (2017).

“Epistemologies of Trauma: Narrative (Re)Construction as Ritual Knowledge.” Annual Ways of Knowing: Graduate Conference on Religion, Harvard Divinity School, USA (2015).

Academic Activities: 

In addition to his studies, Tyler serves as a peer reviewer for the academic journals Secularism and Nonreligion and the Journal for Critical Animal Studies. Tyler is also a former elected member of the Faculty's Graduate Joint Consultative Committees, Oxford's First People's Collective, and the Oxford Graduate Theological Society. He is also a perpetual member of the Alpha Chi National Honor society, the North American Society for the Study of Religion, and the American Academy of Religion.


Arthur Peacocke Graduate Scholar in Theology and Science Award, Exeter College, Oxford

Areas of Teaching Competence and Experience:

Theory & Method in the Study of Religion; Religion and Science; Trauma, Memory, and Embodiment; Ritual Theory; Religion and Ecology; Race, Space and Place in the Study of Religion; Ecotheologies; Theories of Atonement; Modern and Systematic Theologies; History of Christian Thought

Courses Taught: 
  • “Theory & Method in Religion and Religions” (University of Oxford, undergraduate)
  • “God, Christ, and Salvation” (University of Oxford, undergraduate capstone seminar)
  • “Religious Ecologies & the New Materialisms” (University of Oxford, graduate reading seminar)
  • “Christian Rebels and Reformers” (University of the Incarnate Word, undergraduate)
  • “Global Perspectives on Jesus” (University of the Incarnate Word, undergraduate)