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STH TO 852: Akkadian 2
Akkadian grammar, including exercises in translation and composition. (Credit for STH TO 851 is given only after successful completion of STH TO 852.)
STH TR 802: The Sociology of Religion
This course will introduce students to the basic ideas and methods with which sociologists have analyzed the relationship between religion and society. It will explore what it means to think about religious language, symbols, communities, and practices a social phenomenon. We will also explore the social processes at work in congregations and denominations, new religious movements and conversion, religious communal identity and ethnic conflict.
STH TR 820: Black Church Studies
STH TR 830: Values and Practices in Developing Healthy Communities
Important theoretical and practical issues related to cross-cultural, governmental and nongovernmental and faith-based service work related to the practice of *Decent Care and its application in developing healthy communities will be surveyed. Structured according a developmental approach to health and health systems, students will be encouraged to think critically about and experience the application of values and assumptions undergirding health systems and structures of such service work as currently envisioned and practiced. Case studies, guest speakers, and multimedia offerings will enrich the context of informed disciplinary and cross disciplinary approaches. *Decent Care is a concept developed in the World Health Organization by the instructor. Decent Care bases the planning, delivery and evaluation of care on values that place individuals, in their social and cultural contexts, at the center of the caring process. The aims of decent care are to develop health systems around the primacy of persons in their own health care, and to build a bridge between the principles of human rights and the practice of medicine. By listening to and honoring the voices of the people care processes and models can be developed that respond to the needs of a community enabling human flourishing.
STH TR 840: American Evangelicalism: Conservative Protestants in the United States
Conservative Protestantism is a vital religious movement in North American life whose adherents make up roughly 25-35% of the American population. This course will introduce students to various streams of conservative Protestant movements- -Pentecostalism, Fundamentalism, and Neo-Evangelicalism--and their characteristic religious patterns. Taking an interdisciplinary approach with sociology as the lead discipline, students will explore the major theories that attempt to explain the vitality of these groups, examine their impact on various dimensions of social and political life, and assess the implications of the exportation of these distinctively American brands of religion abroad. The assumption that the study of Evangelicalism and its complexities in the U.S. context warrants deep and thoughtful study guides this course.
STH TR 850: Sociology of Congregational Life
The overarching goal of this class is to provide students with a working knowledge of group and organizational dynamics, using congregational life as a lens. Examining congregations, religious leaders, and laity through theories of group and organizational dynamics. This is a course about how congregations and congregational life is shaped - how the laity, pastoral staff, surrounding community, and organizational processes all shape congregations in specific ways. We will examine the ways in which societal factors impact congregations and congregational life. By the end of the semester, I expect students will have a working knowledge of group and organizational dynamics, as well as research methods to examine congregational conflicts from an individual, group, and societal level.
STH TR 900: Qualitative Methods in the Study of Religion
STH TR 909: Sociology of Black Religions
This course will survey major classic and contemporary themes in social scientific studies of black religion in the 20th century in the United States. Students will interrogate, among other things, popular conceptions of black religion, the black church, and black religious experience.
STH TR 940: Advanced Seminar in Religion and Social Change
This seminar examines the relationship between religious ideas and practices and the world of micro and macro social change. It gives attention to both the conservative and radical potential within religion, as well as to the structures that either limit or facilitate the exercise of religious power. It covers both major theoretical perspectives and relevant research literature, with focused attention on a variety of historical and contemporary cases.
STH TR 964: Seminar in Social Theory and Religious Identity
This seminar will explore a variety of theoretical perspectives on the social formation of modern persons, asking how those insights inform an understanding of individual and collective religious identity. Students will also participate in field research focused on the intersection of religious and social identities.
STH TS 500: Encountering ET: Spirit, Science, and Space
The discoveries of Copernicus/Galileo and Darwin (19th century) significantly altered scientific and religious worldviews. People experienced a sense of displacement from their previously perceived status in the universe. In the 21st century, as space explorations expand, Contact with extraterrestrial life-- including intelligent life--becomes ever more possible (some people already claim to have had visual or physical contact with UFOs and their alien occupants). Using perspectives from science, science fiction, religion, and United Nations space treaties, and narratives about peoples' claims of encounters with extraterrestrial beings, this course will discuss current and projected understandings of the human place in the cosmos; reflect on how discovery of extraterrestrial life might impact the human sense of place in the universe; and consider how the impacts of ET encounters (actual or theoretical) might be positively incorporated into human consciousness and contexts.
STH TS 800: International Conflict and the Ministry of Reconciliation
This course proposes a theology of reconciliation for religious peace-building in the realms of ethnic division and nationalism, race, economic injustice and environmental degradation. Churches and communities of faith are not simply local and parochial bodies but are parts of wider communities of faith and practice. The course explores such corporate practice toward a public theology for the public square for Christians to live faithfully in a world of difference.
STH TS 804: The Religious Thinking of Howard Thurman
This seminar examines the religious and moral dimensions in the thought of Howard Thurman (1899-1981) a leading figure in twentieth century American religious and cultural life. The dream of community, or "the search for common ground," was the defining motif of Thurman's life and thought. His vision of the kinship of all peoples, born out of the particularity of his own personal struggles, propelled him into the Protestant mainstream as a distinctive interpreter of the church's role in a democratic society. He influenced a younger generation of ethical leaders in the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Pauli Murray, Marian Wright Edelman, Whitney Young, Jesse Jackson, and Vernon Jordan.
STH TS 805: The Spirit and the Art of Conflict Transformation: Creating a Culture of JustPeace
This course is a response to the experience of destructive conflict in the church and in the world, as well as the experience of religion as a source of conflict. More importantly, it is a response to the call to every Christian to be ministers of reconciliation and peacebuilders. The course will introduce students to the theology, theory and practice of faith-based conflict transformation, preparing students to become religious leaders equipped with fundamental tools and skills for engaging conflict and transforming conflict in a way that advances God's goal of shalom, a culture of justpeace.
STH TS 806: Introduction to Mediation Theory and Practice
This course will present theory on mediation through interaction with the instructors, course readings and practical experience. The course utilizes a lecture/discussion format interwoven with role play experience to help students form a strong foundation in the practice of mediation. Students will learn theory as well as practical skills and in the process, they will learn how to engage themselves in an appropriate way in the mediation process.
STH TS 807: Narrative Power and Interfaith Peacebuilding
This course focuses on gathering, analyzing and drawing insight from the narratives of peacemakers from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions. Students will explore: narrative theology; historic peacebuilding narratives; the art and methods of oral history; and the collection and analysis of contemporary oral histories of interfaith peacebuilders. Drawing wisdom from these several modes of learning, each student will construct a theological and practical contribution to inform future peacebuilding efforts.
STH TS 818: Christian Thinking about Moral Decisions
The purpose this course is to analyze critically the following prominent types of Christian thought concerning moral decisions: Christian realism; Christian responsibility/ relationalism/contextualism; Christian moral virtue; Christian pacifism; Christian feminism; Catholic moral tradition; African American Christian tradition; Christian womanism; and the ubiquitous challenge of utilitarianism.
STH TS 822: The Ethical Leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr.
This seminar examines the life, thought, and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a resource for the conceptualization and development of ethical leadership. The seminar will examine his perspective on the public role of religion against the background of contemporary leadership theories and practices, classical Christian views, late nineteenth-century dissenting traditions, the early twentieth-century American Social Gospel Movement, the modern Civil Rights Movement, Black Theology and Black Nationalism, Womanist Studies and Critical Race Theory.
STH TS 828: The Theology and Ethics of African Peoples
Assuming the truth of Aristotle's claim that ethics is the study of moral character the quality of which depends on the communal context in which it is formed, this course will explore writings pertaining to the ethical thought of African peoples living under various conditions of oppression. Those conditions will include slavery, racial segregation and disfranchisement in the United States; colonialism in Africa and the Caribbean; racial apartheid in South Africa. Special attention will be given to the ethical development of women who were oppressed both within and without those cultural contexts. In short, students will discover how men and women formed moral communities and became moral beings by creating various forms of resistance to oppression.
STH TS 829: Christian Ecological Ethics and Political Issues
This course will introduce students to the character and dimensions of the ecological crisis and will; to help them reflect theologically and ethically on ecological problems, to develop or enhance their particular faith tradition's theoretical and practical engagement with ecological issues, gain knowledge of the intersection of ecology and economics, and political and public policy implications of this relationship, and to formulate public policy possibilities and practical projects to address and seek to solve ecological problems.