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Wabash Center Blogs
We support teachers of religion and theology in higher education.
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Kate Blanchard Last Monday I wore a suit to work, an occurrence rare enough that my students felt led to comment upon it. “You look so nice today!” exclaimed one, to which another quickly retorted, “That makes it sound like she doesn’t usually look nice!” A couple of others joined... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Stories from the Front
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Richard Newton Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Elizabethtown College When I signed up to teach the Bible and Race in the USA, I didn’t know that my students would be able to live stream the lynching of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. No one told me that modern courtrooms would accept a testimony from one who could liken Michael Brown to a demon. And did I mention that my undergraduate seminar was divided evenly along the color line—three white students with two black students and myself? Colleagues at my new school were excited and nervous for me. No one knew... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Eric D. Barreto Comparing myself to an aging piece of technology might not have been the smartest move. In the cover letter I sent with my application to Luther Seminary, I noted that I hoped that my students would someday see my teaching as they might an old computer with.. Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Cláudio Carvalhaes Associate Professor McCormick Theological Seminary The classroom is a microcosm of theological education. It changes and perpetuates ideas, behaviors and ideologies. But the classroom is a result and consequence of a larger scheme of structural practices and worldviews. What I have seen in these 8 years of teaching is that everything in theological education is so interconnected. Leadership; faculty composition; faculty meetings; public policies; by-laws; conferences; worship services; syllabi and chosen pedagogies; composition of students’ races; social classes and theological backgrounds, chapels, everything composes a temporary mosaic of what and who schools are and want to be. While patriarchalism, sexism, cultural/identity differences, and Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Roger S. Nam I’m a bit annoyed at the professorial mantra of “teaching, scholarship, and service.” I understand that categories are needed for the various steps of promotion, but I think that this grouping unnecessarily promotes an adversarial relationship between “teaching and scholarship.” The pairing feels analogous to such opposites... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Kate Blanchard Readers, you should close this page right now and not heed another word I say about teaching. The past couple of weeks – despite the fact that one of those weeks was our winter break – I’ve been so utterly preoccupied with a motley collection of issues that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Eric D. Barreto When I was prepping my first online class, all I wanted was for someone to show me how to teach online. I wanted techniques. I wanted examples of best practices. I wanted a template upon which I could build. But I quickly learned that the hardest part.. Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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There appears to be hopeful evidence that the long recession is over and donor money is starting to trickle back into theological schools. Grant initiatives are starting to bloom (some very substantial), faithful donors are starting to fulfill deferred promises of financial support, and some are making new pledges. Recent... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2015 at Theological School Deans
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Roger S. Nam Last week, Kate Blanchard challenged us to think about our roles as religious educators in light of Chapel Hill. How can I, as a biblical studies professor, teach students to think critically about the events that transpired? The task seemed so overwhelming, but I was thankful to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Kate Blanchard Last Wednesday most of us opened our cyber-devices to a feed full of news about three young Muslim students in North Carolina who were murdered at home by a gun-toting white neighbor, apparently acting in defense of some deadly cocktail of anti-theist “rationality” and parking-related irrationality. The shooter’s... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Jennifer Harvey Associate Professor Drake University In some ways it’s really simple. If we had genuinely multi-racial classrooms in the U.S. the challenge of race in those same rooms would be much less of one. We so quickly find ourselves embroiled in an oh-so-familiar conversation when the pedagogical question becomes how to best teach race, privilege, U.S. religious history, ethics, and justice in the religion and theology classroom. How do we keep white students from shutting down? How do we get them to understand? How do we enable them to recognize their stake in such learning when so few of them have had to.. Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Eric D. Barreto I teach texts. I read texts. I write texts. Every once in a great while, I even text texts. But I’ve noticed recently that many more of the texts I receive have fewer and fewer actual words. I’m talking acronyms certainly (LOL and lots more I haven’t... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Roger Nam This morning, I received an email concerning course schedule decisions for Spring 2016. It seemed so far away until I realized that it is already 2015. Unbelievably, seven years have passed since I finished my degree and entered my first full time appointment. For most of us, the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Theological schools are complex institutional systems with many interlocking "moving parts." In most schools, the curriculum is the engine that drives the institution, influencing all aspects of the seminary, from the makeup of the student body, recruitment, faculty hires and workload, to finances. While deans are primarily educational leaders with... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Theological School Deans
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Kate Blanchard It's late January in Michigan and I'm in a certain mood. So here for your mid-winter schadenfreude are eight (click-baity) things I hate right now, in no particular order. Perhaps many of you can relate. Teaching requires me to dress like a grown-up. While I have male friends... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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S. Brent Rodriguez Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies Hamilton College Plate In the final seconds of their struggle, Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown because of a visual impression. From Wilson's point of view, Brown appeared to him like Hulk Hogan, and like a demon. His only conceivable response, he stated, was to shoot. Six bullets penetrated Brown's body, killing him quickly. Demons do not appear to sane people with any frequency. Some people believe that demons exist, but few will admit they have ever seen one live, face to face. So, how would Wilson know what a demon looked like? What transposed... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Eric D. Barreto Alright, not a strange land. It’s just Berkeley. Let me back up. I am currently about halfway through a teaching gig at Pacific School of Religion thanks to the intrepid work of the Hispanic Summer Program. For two weeks, I am helping a group of students find... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Roger S. Nam In my last post, I advocated for open source final exams, which focused on one’s ability to sort through the mass of information readily available on an iPhone. The response to that post was overwhelming, so I offer a follow-up conversation. Below I have paraphrased some of... Read more → Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Kate Blanchard It’s a new year! Perhaps some of you, like me, have just spent a large chunk of time celebrating a holiday (or two) with your families of origin. And perhaps some of you, like me, have recently been pondering the distinct and all-encompassing weirdness that is being middle-aged... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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My engineer son has a mantra: “Fix the problem.” As mantras go, it’s a pretty good one. Simple, memorable, intuitive, and to the point. The mantra refers to our tendency to go about addressing issues and problems by doing a lot of things, but none of which will actually fix... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2015 at Theological School Deans
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Eric D. Barreto I love the holiday season, but I think I loved it more as a student than as a teacher. The Christmas season was usually a clear barrier, a distinct break. Finals were done. There was no more work to do. The weeks of Christmas and New Year’s... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2014 at Stories from the Front
Eric Barreto, Kate Blanchard and Roger Nam This holiday week, we thought we’d share some of our favorite places where we get stuff done: grading, class prep, research, administrative tasks, service projects, grants and even some occasional writing! Roger: Back home at George Fox University, I rarely do more than grab a book or journal in the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2014 at Stories from the Front
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emilie m. townes Dean and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society Vanderbilt Divinity School The opening paragraph of the Vanderbilt University Statement of Commitments: The Divinity School is committed to the faith that brought the church into being, and it believes that one comes more authentically to grasp that faith by a critical and open examination of the Hebraic and Christian traditions. It understands this faith to have import for the common life of men and women in the world. Thus the school is committed to assisting its community in achieving a critical and. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2014 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Roger S. Nam It’s that time of year. Yes, it’s the season where professors often find themselves dealing with breaches of academic integrity. The explosion of online learning, alongside everyone’s massively expanded access to information, has further complicated this issue. Exhausted professors, I’ve got a special holiday gift for you:... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2014 at Stories from the Front
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Elisabeth T. Vasko Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Theology Duquesne University In recent years, I have taught an upper-level Christology course in which we examine race, gender, and power. Sometimes my students register their dissatisfaction with reading Christology from the margins (James Cone, Kelly Brown Douglas, and Marcella Althaus-Reid) instead of the center (Anselm, Barth, von Balthasar, and Rahner). I can understand their frustration and discomfort. In the classroom, I make an effort to accept it and to take it seriously. I should also note that I teach at a university where the student population is mostly white. By and large, Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2014 at Race Matters in the Classroom