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My interests concern the ethics of non-human life, including non-/human relationships. My research specifically concerns the cry of the animal in Laudato Si’; how this affects human food choice; and how the cry of the animal correlates with the cries of the poor and the earth. I am the recipient of the Sustainable Futures and CreatureKind Studentship for 2021-24.
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I am an SBNR, concerned with the ethics of non-human life, and the theological ethics of non-/human relationships. Specifically, I research the cry of the animal in Laudato Si’ and the ethics of human food-choice. I hope to carry on non-human ethical research in my future career, either in academia or policy and advocacy.


Chester Theology and Religion Department has a really inclusive feel, avoiding the old, traditional approach to Theology – white, Eurocentric, and male. This was one of the things which attracted me to study at Chester. The postgraduate community has a lot on offer, with weekly seminars and guest speakers – these are invaluable tools for postgraduate development. Finally, as an avid student of eco-/animal theology, there was no better place for me to undertake a PhD than with David Clough here at Chester. My only regret is that I didn’t come here for my Masters!


Education and Experience:

I spent 5 years at Durham University, completing my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology and Religion. My preliminary interest which brought me to theological study was philosophy of religion and ethics, during my secondary education. This developed into a passionate inclination towards systematic theologies and ethics, specifically pertaining to ecology and animals. My previous dissertation works focused on theological veganism, and ontological relationships across hierarchical boundaries respectively. I have previously worked under the supervision of Christopher Insole and Carmody Grey. Following my Master’s degree, I took a year of travel and volunteering, which allowed me to experience religious festivals and environmental work across Europe and Africa. This refreshed and improved my perspective on eco- and animal theology and gave me invaluable experience in approaching my doctoral research. From farm work on a medjool date, olive and grape farm in the Jordan Valley of Israel, to tree-planting in Mount Kenya Forest, the impact of working with nature can never be underestimated.



My research project investigates the cries of the animal, the poor, and the earth within Laudato Si’, with specific focus on the lack of attention given to the cry of the animal. My research intends to promote differentiated responsibility of food choice in order to respect the individual and interrelated cries that make up an integral ecology. Such cries must be respected of themselves and as an integrated, ecological unity. Human food choice and consumption is a necessary component affecting each cry and the cry of integral ecology, which designates human beings as always already beings in relationship. Relationality is a characteristic of ecological thought and being itself: human food-choice, then, is a web of that relational life.

My other interests span across systematic and theological ethics, including animal and ecological ontology, Christology and ethics; Catholic Social Thought; Postmodern Thought; Creation Doctrines; Food and Diet Theology; Simone Weil; and the Orthodox Tewahedo Church.


Awards and Funding:

Chester University Sustainable Futures and CreatureKind PhD studentship, 2021-24

Durham University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities – Celebrating Student Achievement Award, under the rationale “Exceptional Progress…Despite Difficult Circumstances,” 2018

Durham Student Union – Outstanding Contribution to Student Representation, 2017





Twitter Handle: @RR_Cotter