Laura Hartman to speak at MC April 9-10

Laura Hartman to lead 2018 February Meetings at MC

Jan. 12, 2018

Dr. Laura Hartman, an author and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, will be the guest speaker for Maryville College’s 2018 February Meetings, which will be held in April this year. The theme for this year’s February Meetings is “Living Well: Making Good Choices in a Material World.”

Hartman is an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where she has taught since 2015. Previously, she taught in the Religion Department at Augustana College in Illinois. Her specialty is the intersection of religions and the environment, with a special emphasis on environmental ethics. While she is primarily trained in western religions, she is interested in all varieties of religious and spiritual expression. She teaches courses in environmental issues, environmental humanities, gender and nature, religion and environment, climate justice, and animal ethics.

Hartman is the author of The Christian Consumer: Living Faithfully in a Fragile World (Oxford University Press, 2011), which advances the discussion about the ethics of consumer lifestyles, particularly in the developed world and from a Christian perspective.

Hartman will give two presentations during her visit to campus April 9-10. Both events are free and open to the public.

On Mon., April 9, Hartman will give a talk titled “What Would Jesus Buy? And Other Puzzles of Christian Consumption.” During the event, which will begin at 7 p.m. in Fayerweather Hall’s Lawson Auditorium, Hartman will “distill insights from historical and contemporary Christian voices on topics of food, clothing, energy, time and money,” reads the description of Hartman’s presentation.

“From Francis of Assisi to Prosperity Theology, these voices go far beyond a simple message of austerity, exhorting people of faith to consider sin, savoring, love and the future in their consumption choices. Hartman’s composite approach to consumption help guide difficult ethical decision making in a consumerist, globalized world.”

Copies of Hartman’s The Christian Consumer, along with a curated selection of books on the topics of consumerism, materialism and the Christian faith, will be available for purchase before and after the event.

On Tues., April 10 at 1 p.m. in the Samuel Tyndale Wilson Center for Campus Ministry,

Hartman will present “Walk or Drive? Personal Policies for Ethical Consumption (and Their Limits).” Hartman will explore the ways that Christian insights into consumption choices can be operationalized in everyday lives.

“We discuss ‘personal policies’ for certain choices and determine their limits as we run into systemic and structural impediments to ethical consumption,” Hartman said. “Come ready to examine your own life and to consider your responsibilities as we explore what it means to ‘create a world in which it is easier to be good’ (Peter Maurin).”

Held annually at the College since 1877, February Meetings have offered the College and local community an opportunity to come together to consider questions of faith and responsible living in the world. In years past, guest speakers and special music have been highlights of the condensed lecture series, which is open to all members of the College community, people in the area and visitors, including the College’s Board of Church Visitors.

For more information about February Meetings, please contact Jordan Conerty, Maryville Adventures in Studying Theology (MAST) program administrator.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,146.