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Department ofReligious Studies


Paul Schutz headshot

Paul Schutz headshot

Paul Schutz Receives Graves Award in the Humanities

The prestigious award will support Schutz’s research pondering what barriers stand in the way of authentic flourishing.

The prestigious award will support Schutz’s research pondering what barriers stand in the way of authentic flourishing.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 3, 2022—Paul J. Schutz, assistant professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University, has received a prestigious Graves Award in the Humanities, which recognizes outstanding teaching within the humanities. The award will provide $9,000 in support of Schutz’s first monograph, Reimagining Creation: A Theology of Creaturely Flourishing (Orbis Books, 2023). 

Through this project, Schutz aims to develop a theological framework for understanding the meaning of flourishing and its applications to many contemporary questions. Particularly, he looks to promote the well-being of all by integrating theological and scientific perspectives on identifiers—race, gender, ability, class, and ecology—in a holistic vision of socio-ecological justice. He hopes to discover new texts, images, and imaginaries that he can employ in his classes as they explore what it means for creatures to flourish—as well as what barriers stand in the way of authentic flourishing. 

“I’ve always had a deep commitment and passion for seeing other people, life, and creation thrive.” Schutz remarks. “The work of being an excellent teacher is not just about delivering information in a comprehensible way; it’s about cultivating and building spaces where flourishing happens.”

The monograph will incorporate science, sustainability, ethics, and social well-being through a theological lens that promotes intersectional justice. This supports the flourishing of all creation in communion with their Creator on a planet threatened by ecological and social degradation. With expanding inequalities and injustices against minority groups, as well as irreversible damage continually done to the Earth’s biosphere, Paul believes that these are of the utmost importance now more than ever. He hopes that the monograph can cultivate a common good that includes humans and other creatures.

“Paul is an amazing contributor to our community – an inspiring Religious Studies teacher, a thoughtful and prolific scholar and a leader of our student musicians for Campus Ministry,” says Interim President Lisa Kloppenberg. “In a few short years, he has brought new life to our campus with his vibrant work and deep passion for justice.”

Schutz joined Santa Clara University in 2017. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses including, Religion, Science, and Ecology; Sustainable Theologies; Theologies of Creation; Faith, Ethics, and Biodiversity; The Bible and Ecology; and Practical Theology. His research focuses on the relationship between religion and ecology, with an emphasis on how contemporary scientific knowledge grounds and informs humanity's relationship with the natural world and its various creatures.

The Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Awards are bestowed every two years by Pomona College, under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies, to support outstanding teaching among junior faculty members. This is the second time in recent years that an SCU faculty member has received this award—Erick Ramirez (Philosophy) was awarded in 2020 for his research project entitled “An Ethics for Virtual Reality.” As one of 39 colleges eligible to compete, Schutz joins the ranks of previous Graves Award winners from SCU’s departments of Classics, English, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.

About Santa Clara University’s College of Arts and Sciences 

The College of Arts and Sciences is the heart of Santa Clara University. Our faculty integrate transformative teaching and innovative scholarship to engage students in the processes of learning, discovery and reflection as members of a community of scholars. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Deepa Arora | SCU Communications |
Elliot Zanger | SCU Communications |


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