Experiencing nature as nonreligion

Degree type


Closing date

29 October 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

This project will examine experiences of ‘nature’ in forests, including practices such as bushwalking, working in forests, photographing fungi, bird watching, tree felling, or farming near forests. The project will seek to understand how some of these experiences can be understood as expression of “nonreligion”. “Nonreligion” in this sense is about how these experiences in forests shape a person’s understanding of their place in the world, their ethical attitudes, their relationships, and their sense of how to act appropriately in forests. We are particularly interested in the processes that lead to an understanding of ‘respect’, and what that means.  This may also involve an examination of social media platforms where people interact with friends, and strangers, to create communities of shared understanding of how to interact with nonhuman animals, plants, and communities.  We do not expect to examine all of the experiences listed in the first sentence, but will spend the early part of the project working out exactly which ones to focus on.  The project is linked to the Canadian lead international research project “Understanding Nonreligion in a Complex Future”.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Douglas Ezzy


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements and the following additional eligibility criteria specific to this project:

  • First Class honours degree in Sociology, or Religion Studies, or related discipline

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Expertise in environmental sociology and/or sociology of religion

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Qualitative research methodology experience

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Douglas Ezzy, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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