Valentina Aversano-Dearborn | 08.12.2016

Spirituality, Economy and Sustainability: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Benedictine Sustainability Strategies

Public talk | 08.12.2016 | 16:00 - 17:30 | Uni Freiburg | Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany | Herderbau, Room 400


About: From 2010 to 2012, Valentina Aversano-Dearborn and Sina Leipold, both social scientists, worked together in the research project “Dealing with the Divine Creation” at the working group for Transdisciplinary Systems Research at the institute for organic agriculture at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU). 

Today, Valentina is a researcher at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (Institute for Ecological Economics) and at BOKU in Vienna. Her research focus is on environmentally, socially and economically sustainable practices in society and economy. She is also co-founder and co-director of the Forum for Sustainable Visions in Action (, on twitter @Forum_ViA), an NGO that aims at being an incubator for new and existing visions for the future and a global platform for sustainable approaches to lifestyle, the economy and work.

Sina Leipold is head of the research group “Circulus” (, on twitter @SinaLeipold) and lecturer of natural resource governance at the Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy at Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg. Her main research interests lie in the domains of environmental and natural resource politics, sustainability transformations as well as policy analysis theories and methods, with a specific focus on discourse analysis.


Talk: The talk will highlight core insights from the 3-year research project “Dealing with the Divine Creation” that brought together researchers from 6 different disciplines with monks from Benedictine monasteries in Germany and Austria. Together, they examined the understandings and the practices of sustainability in Benedictine monastic life and work. “Are practices more sustainable in a place of spiritual practice? How do the core principles of the Benedictine Ethics relate to sustainable practices in Benedictine Monasteries?” These were the main research questions that guided the research team. The talk will share insights on this question by highlighting research on:

a) the unique strategies that monasteries developed in the field of sustainable economics and the ethical narratives behind them.

b) the transdisciplinary, reflexive and open research concept that ultimately allowed to see the differences of initial sustainability perspectives brought in by the researchers &/ and internal sustainability perspectives identified by the monks themselves.


This talk does not require registration. However, we would be very pleased if you would inform us about your possible visit here. The seminar will be held in English.