BEI Fellows gather annually and at meetings throughout the year with scholars to learn and discuss areas relevant to our Mission and Commitments. Fellows then integrate this work with their work as writers and artists within their home communities. See Events.

THEMES, 2005-2016


  • Borders, Boundaries and Bridges: separateness and commonness of communities
  • Readings:
    • The Carnivore Way by BEI Scholar Cristina Eisenberg
    • Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy
    • The Politics of Resentment, Rural Consciousness and the Rise of Scott Walker by Katherine Cramer


  • New voices, new opportunities
  • Unexpected voices and why-Nikki Haley and WalMart on lowering and taking off the shelves the Confederate battle
  • Survey by the American Academy of Religions on views on environmental issues by religion and political party
  • Possible effects of Pope Francis and Laudato Si on spreading the word on effects of climate change on our home, earth


  • Effects of greenery on reducing fear near public housing
  • Problems with the environmental moment and peoples of color-Presented in Black Faces, White Spaces
  • Performance and political art- a play by Eve Ensler


  • “Spirituality,” “religiosity,” and how the two terms intersect and diverge
  • History of faith leaders in social movements
  • Spiritual legacy of Occupy movements


No meeting due to illness of Patricia Monaghan


  • Resilience in field biology and human social systems


  • Food and energy
  • The sacred table
  • The gift economy: Lewis Hyde, Genevieve Vaughan and others
  • Raymond Williams and Chinua Achebe: town and country
  • “The Colors of Nature”


  • Commodification and the arts
  • Alternative economic structures
  • Bell Hooks’ ideas on place
  • Mirror neurons and empathy


  • Trophic cascades and keystone predation
  • The Communist Manifesto
  • Place and history


  • Aldo Leopold’s vision
  • Standpoint and feminist epistomology
  • Wallace Stegner on place
  • Aristotelian and non-Aristotelian narrative structures


  • The Second Great Awakening
  • Native American environmental philosophy
  • The Chatauqua movement
  • Transcendentalism vs Puritanism in American culture


  • Philosophy of George Lakov
  • Framing, metaphor and embodiment in art
  • Alternative images of artists’ connection to society
  • Chaos theory and art
  • Influence of think-tanks on American politics
mary swander

BEI is a dynamic collective of artists, writers, and scholars who are dedicated to integrating concepts of earth, arts, spirituality, and society. BEI has provided a sage network of supportive activists with who to share my work, deepen my consciousness of social justice, and become inspired to action. As a BEI fellow, I have made friendships with some of the most talented writers and probing scholars throughout the U.S. and abroad. – Mary Swander