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Wabash Center Blogs
We support teachers of religion and theology in higher education.
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Wil Gafney Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible Brite Divinity School When and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole Negro race enters with me. Anna Julia Cooper Student enters. Looks at me, looks at other students, looks back at me. Is this room 101? Looks at me, looks at other students, looks back at me. Is this Hebrew? Looks at me, looks at other students, looks back at me. Are you teaching it? There is no place that race is not present and... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Dr. Molly Bassett Associate Professor of Religious Studies Georgia State University By the time you read this, I will have met the students in “Religious Dimensions in Human Experience: Between Animals and Gods.” In this completely redesigned dual-level (grad/undergrad) course, we will explore how people can know a single animal—the... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Stories from the Front
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Gregory L. Cuéllar, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Old Testament Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary My introduction to Old Testament course has served as an experimental site for decentering racializing master-narratives, especially those that have contributed to the marginalization of the Other in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands. As a Latino biblical scholar, decentering represents an important pedagogical tactic that is shaped and informed by various forms of critical theory, postcolonial theory, and archival studies. This theoretical apparatus also draws heavily upon a lived experience of marginalization as an ethnic-Mexican in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands. Moreover, the present racial crisis in U.S. society has made... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Nancy Lynne Westfield Associate Professor of Religious Education Drew Theological School Teach students where they are! This forthright adage is deceptively difficult. The question becomes – where are they in proximity to my own location? In other words, what does it mean for the effectiveness of my teaching if the. Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2015 at Stories from the Front
We invite you to engage and follow the Wabash Center’s "Stories from the Front (of the Classroom)” blog series. Nancy Lynne Westfield (Drew Theological School) will blog about the spirituality of teaching in a theological school context and the ways spirituality and the goal of spiritual formation influence the design... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Dr. Molly Bassett Associate Professor of Religious Studies Georgia State University I wish I could tell you exactly what I’ll be doing on the first day of my new course. But I can’t. What I can say is that the syllabus is mostly finished, and I’ve scheduled meetings with the. Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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During a recent webinar on the topic of leadership I offered a list of important skills related to the topic at hand. The list included something along the lines of the need for a leader to be "politically astute." That item, only one among several, got the most questions and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2015 at Theological School Deans
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KC Choi Associate Professor, Department of Religion Seton Hall University I was horrified to discover that Dylann Roof regarded Asians as inherently racist and thus possible allies to white supremacist causes. That opinion received little media attention, except for spotty clusters throughout social networking sites. And while Roof’s assessment of Asians is nothing short of galling, I also found them disquieting; it was the words of a white supremacist mad man that had uncomfortably recalled a specific set of experiences in my course “Race, Politics, and Theology.” Students in my course have mirrored the relative racial and ethnic diversity of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Theological schools and seminaries have been relative latecomers to rigorous practices of educational assessment. There are varied and plausible reasons for that which "make sense." However, in the current age of higher accountability to accrediting agencies, stakeholders, and educational consumers, those reasons must give way to the implementation of institutional... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2015 at Theological School Deans
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Dr. Efrain Agosto New York Theological Seminary We gathered for our regular summer session class on a Thursday evening at New York Theological Seminary, June 18, the night after the horrific shootings in an AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Three of my six students for the class were out sick; no doubt saddened by the tragedy of the night before, perhaps even so adversely affected that they had a kind of visceral, physical reaction that affected their health. Six of the nine African Americans murdered Wednesday night in Charleston were women, by all accounts gifted and faithful leaders of Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Nyasha Junior, Ph.D Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible Temple University Department of Religion The Rachel Dolezal story is all over the news. The story is a horror show for many reasons, but as Dolezal was an African-American Studies instructor at Eastern Washington University, her story brings up important issues of race in the classroom. It has me wondering how my colleagues think about and handle these issues. What does the Dolezal story bring up for you as an educator? What assumptions do your students make about you based on your body? What assumptions do students or other scholars make about Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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During a recent conversation among deans they commiserated over how difficult it was to bring about changes in their schools. Despite their best efforts at communicating the need for change, cultivating support, and implementing strategies, change was happening too slow or blocked by key players. In some cases, necessary changes... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2015 at Theological School Deans
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For our final post, we each cover an overarching reflection or two from the 2014-15 academic year. Look for fresh content from the Wabash Center in the fall. In the meantime, feel free to visit our ongoing blog Race Matters in the Classroom or browse our Wabash Center YouTube channel.... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Kate Blanchard Editor’s note: Today’s blog is Kate’s final individual entry for this year of Stories from the Front (of the Classroom). Look for our final collaborative post on Tuesday May 19.For those of us who are lucky enough to work on a traditional academic calendar, the end of... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Eric D. Barreto Editor’s note: Today’s blog is Eric's final individual entry for this year of Stories from the Front (of the Classroom). Look for our final collaborative post on Tuesday May 19. One of the things I love most about teaching is the rhythm of the academic year: the... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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An academic dean friend of mine once asked in frustration, "Why is this work so hard?!" I'm not sure I know the answer to that question. Some jobs are just more challenging due to the complexity of the work and the span of responsibility. But, here are eleven inviolable scientific... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2015 at Theological School Deans
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Loida I. Martell-Otero Professor of Constructive Theology Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University When those of the dominant culture express shock and dismay at events such as those that took place in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, when they claim with indignation that this “should never happen again,” I think of a Puerto Rican proverb: “No hay peor ciego que el que no quiera ver (There is no worse blind person than the one who refuses to see).” Joseph Barndt observes that in the socialization process of being raced as white, the dominant culture is not only segregated from people of.. Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Roger Nam Editor’s note: Today’s blog is Roger’s final individual entry for this year of Stories from the Front of the Classroom. Look for our final collaborative post on Tuesday May 19. As my yearlong sabbatical in Korea comes to a conclusion, I have been thinking about the multiple seasons... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Kate Blanchard This is a post about that time I taught a semester-long class on a topic about which I knew almost nothing… or perhaps I should say “the most recent time.” This was no one’s fault but my own. I work at a college that has no requirement for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2015 at Stories from the Front
Eric D. Barreto It’s that time of the semester when fine weather and the end of an academic term meld into one lovely concoction of hopeful anticipation. After a long winter, I am relishing the open windows and the warm sunlight. After a long academic year, the promise of summer... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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Stephen G. Ray Jr. Neal A. and Ila F. Fisher Professor of Theology Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary I admit that I was a bit flumoxed by how disoriented most of the students in my class were through much of the semester. My two very talented TAs were likewise lost for an answer. We realized late in the game that the reason for this seeming disorientation was there before us the entire time - we just resisted seeing it. Before continuing, it might be helpful if I shared a pedagogical decision I made about the teaching of the class. As I shared... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom
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Roger S. Nam During my three years as a student at Chongshin Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea, I never heard a single discussion related to diversity. The student body was roughly 90% male. Every student and faculty member was a member of the Korean Presbyterian Church, and engaged in some. Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at Stories from the Front
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At a gathering of theological school deans one activity had the deans share the job descriptions from each of their schools. This group of deans was from a variety of contexts: different geographic regions, various denominations, free-standing and university-embedded schools, and from large and small institutions. After comparing their documents... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2015 at Theological School Deans
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 Mar 31, 2015 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 Mar 26, 2015 at Race Matters in the Classroom