Introducing Assistant Professor Paul Schutz
My name is Paul Schutz, and it's my great honor and joy to be joining the Religious Studies faculty as an Assistant Professor this fall.
I was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana – the southernmost city in the state of Indiana – into a family of teachers, farmers, musicians, and laborers. Evansville's heritage lies with German Catholic farmers, who established the community in the early 1800s on the banks of the Ohio River, just across from Kentucky.
After graduating high school, I attended Boston College, where I majored in English and studied music and film. At BC, I was involved in a wide variety of activities, including music and faith-based organizations.
After my college graduation, as a Teach For America (TFA) Corps Member, I headed to the Great Plains and for two years taught English, Media, and Music at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee, SD – a town of about 500 on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I am indebted to the Lakota people for their hospitality, and it was on the reservation that I discovered my passion as a teacher. While in South Dakota, I also founded and directed the South Dakota Symphonic Band, a wind ensemble dedicated to bringing live music to reservation and rural communities across South Dakota.
After finishing my second year with TFA, I returned to Evansville for what I thought would be a 'gap year,' during which I intended to figure out my future and apply to graduate school.
Much to my surprise, however, I landed a job as Director of Worship (music and liturgy) at St. Mary Catholic Church in downtown Evansville, a historic Neo-Gothic church built in 1867. The four and a half years I spent at St. Mary led me to discover theology as a field of study and put in my head the idea of graduate study in religion.
And so, after leading the St. Mary Choir on a performance tour in Rome, I headed off to the Bronx, NY, where I began seven years (two for a Master's and 5 for a Ph.D.) of graduate study in Theology at Fordham University. My seven years at Fordham were simply incredible, and they are the main reason I'm here at SCU today, specializing in religion and ecology.
While at Fordham, I refined my scholarly interests, building on foundations in Catholic Systematic Theology to explore the relationship between religion, ecology, and the natural sciences. My current research, which finds fullest expression in my dissertation, "Ineffable Cosmos, Ineffable Love: Divine Action, Ecology, and the 'Laws of Nature' in the Theology of William R. Stoeger, S.J.," explores how contemporary scientific knowledge grounds and informs humanity's relationship with the natural world and other-than-human creatures. I am also greatly interested in how Christian worship and biblical accounts of creation, life, and love might help people of faith to cultivate a robust praxis of ecological and social justice for the flourishing of all creatures according to their own kind.
With all that said, it's great to be here at SCU, and I look forward to many shared endeavors as we explore together how religion operates as a force in our world, shaping our vision of the vast and mysterious universe we all share.
Onward and upward!