I am Dr. Deborah de Koning and I work as postdoctoral researcher in the NWO Project Apocalypse and Climate Change. I have a passion for Eastern Religions (specifically Hinduism and Buddhism) and focus in my academic work on contemporary religious practices. I love being ‘in the field’ to conduct ethnographic research.
The climate crisis affects our world and the ways we look at it. Religious traditions offer specific worldviews – including language – to provide interpretations of crises. I am interested in how religious traditions are reappraised by climate activists.
I my research I specifically look at how religious (climate) groups contribute to climate positive living and how they (selectively) employ religious traditions for this. I mainly focus on practices and climate rituals. Climate rituals are fashioned both from existing traditions (think of commemorations with a collective prayer of an ecological Our Father/Mother), but new climate rituals are also invented (like climate pilgrimages). Several of these rituals have to do with ecological mourning.
From 2015-2021 I worked at Tilburg University as PhD-student. At that time I conducted my NWO-funded PhD research on Ravanisation. I have investigated the (re)appraisal and revitalisation of Ravana – mainly, but not exclusively known as a demon king from Hindu mythology - amongst Sinhalese Buddhists in Sri Lanka.
I also work as guest lecturer Hinduism and Buddhism at several theological faculties and universities (ETF, TUK, CHE)