Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Daniel Rietze

Italian Studies and Religious Studies


Daniel Rietze studies the environmental thought of twentieth-century Italian Catholic writers and activists with the broad goal of bringing the resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition to bear on our contemporary moment of climate crisis. His dissertation takes up the cases of three priests who contributed to the development of Christian Democracy and Catholic social teaching in Italy between the 1890s and 1960s, arguing that their articulation of new forms of Catholic sociopolitical engagement came with renewed attention to material landscapes and a heightened awareness of humans' embeddedness in the Earth. Daniel's project traces how these priests' theologies were shaped by Italy's dynamic physical terrain—by events like floods and earthquakes; how their ideas about peace arose in response to concern for the ecological destruction caused by war; and how they responded to Italian fascism's environmental discourse by interrogating the interplay between political form and claims about humans' supposed "dominion" over Creation.