Lynn Ross-Bryant grew up in the West (Reno, Nevada) and received her B.A. from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a major in philosophy and religion. She traveled “East” to attend the University of Chicago, where she focused on religion and culture studies and received her Ph.D. in religion and literature in 1973. After teaching for several years in California – at CSU Chico, USC, and Occidental College, she joined the faculty at the University of Colorado in 1987. Her work focuses on non-institutionalized, or “implicit,” religion and her primary focus for the last decade has been the construction of “nature” in American religion and culture. She has published several articles on literary naturalists including Terry Tempest Williams, Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez, and Gretel Ehrlich. Her current book project, Nature and Nation in the National Parks investigates the religious component of “America’s wonders,” whether the experience of the sublime in the late 19th century; the civil religion experience in the 20th century, as the National Park Service was established; or the spirituality that currently infuses the parks. The way American religion and culture have constructed “nature” as seen in the parks has significant implications for environmental issues today. Lynn Ross-Bryant’s latest book, “Nature and Nation: Pilgrimage and U.S. National Parks,” is under contract with a major press. She retired from the department at the end of summer 2010.
“Religion and the Environment” in The Columbia Guide to Religion in American History, ed. Paul Harvey and Ed Blum. New York: Columbia University Press. Forthcoming. “Sacred Sites: Nature and Nation in the U.S. National Parks.” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, 15.1 (Winter 2005) 31-62. “The Land in American Religious Experience.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 73.1 (Winter 1991) 38-50. Nature and Nation: Pilgrimage and the National Parks. Manuscript.