Courtney T. Goto
Associate Professor of Religious Education, Co-Director of the Center for Practical Theology
Professor Courtney T. Goto has been teaching at the Boston University School of Theology since 2010. Trained at Emory University, she teaches and makes contributions to research in religious education and practical theology. Goto is a co-Director of the Center for Practical Theology.
Goto’s research addresses the intersections of racism, culture, and faith; as well as aesthetic teaching and learning, creativity, and embodied knowing. Goto’s current project is a collaboration with Chris Schlauch on relating across race. She is author of Taking on Practical Theology: The Idolization of Context and the Hope of Community (Brill, 2018). In this book, she explores the regnant paradigm to which the field of practical theology is captive, reflecting on issues of power and privilege in knowledge production from her perspective as a Japanese American. For this work, she was awarded a Louisville Institute First Book Grant for Minority Scholars. Goto is also author of The Grace of Playing: Pedagogies for Leaning into God’s New Creation (Pickwick, 2016). In this book, she explores how and why grace-filled teaching can be understood in terms of playing, a kind of relating that leads believers to practice being more life-giving possibilities together.
Goto teaches courses that integrate theory and practices, through critical reading, experiential and aesthetic learning, as well as community-based research. In addition to introductory courses in religious education and practical theology, Goto offers courses on Creative Pedagogy, Doing Theology Aesthetically, and Embodying the Kin(g)dom (exploring the role of the body in practicing faith). In addition, she co-teaches with Professor Schlauch a course on Paradigms of Racism, the Ignorance They Hide, and the Ignorance They Sustain. In 2020, she received a Boston University Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Goto is a third-generation Japanese American. She dedicates her work to her parents and grandparents, who are/were survivors of Japanese American internment camps during World War II.
Taking on Practical Theology: The Idolization of Context and the Hope of Community (Brill, 2018)
The Grace of Playing: Pedagogies for Leaning into God’s New Creation (Pickwick, 2016)
Peer-Reviewed Articles and Chapters in Edited Volumes
“Beyond the Black-White Binary of US Race Relations: A Next Step in Religious Education,” Religious Education 112, no. 1, Jan-Feb 2017.
“Experiencing Oppression: Ventriloquism and Epistemic Violence in Practical Theology,” International Journal of Practical Theology 21, no. 2, 2017, p. 175-93.
“Hybridity: Retrieving the Real-life Messiness Erased by a Reified Concept” Journal of Asian/North American Theological Educators 2, no. 1, 2016, p. 16-31. http://janate.org/index.php/janate/article/view/1315
“Writing in Compliance with the Racialized ‘Zoo’ of Practical Theology,” Conundrums in Practical Theology, ed. B. Miller-McLemore and J. Mercer, Leiden: Brill, 2016.
“Teaching Love: Embodying Prophetic Imagination through Clowning,” Religious Education 111, no. 4, July/September 2016.
“Reflecting Theologically by Creating Art: Giving Form to More than We Can Say,” Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry 36, 2016, p. 78-92. http://journals.sfu.ca/rpfs/index.php/rpfs/article/view/426/413
“Asian American Practical Theologies.” In Openings to Practical Theology, ed. K. Cahalan and G. Mikoski. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).
“Issei Garden as Performative Space.” Amerasia Journal 38, no. 3 (2012), 76-97.
“Pretending to Be Japanese: Artistic Play in a Japanese American Church and Family.” Religious Education 103, no. 4 (July-September 2008), 1-16.
Enfolding Silence: The Transformation of Japanese American Religion and the Art of Oppression, Brett J. Esaki, Journal of Aesthetic Education, in press (anticipated 2019).
Between Sisters: Emancipatory Hope Out of Tragic Relationships, Evelyn Parker. International Journal of Practical Theology. 2018, Vol. 22, Issue 1, p. 131-34.
Good Food: Grounded Practical Theology, Jennifer R. Ayres. International Journal of Practical Theology. 2014, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p 168-170.
Living Forms of the Imagination, Douglas Headley. Reviews in Religion & Theology. Vol. 6, Issue 3, July 2009.
Selected Scholarly Presentations
Author Response, Taking on Practical Theology book panel, Practical Theology Group, American Academy or Religion, Boston, MA, November 19, 2017.
“Critically Revising Participatory Action Research Methods in Practical Theology,” Ecclesial Practices and Practical Theology Groups, American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, TX, November 2016.
“Teaching Reflexivity as a Constructive Intersubjective Project” Association of Practical Theology Biennial Meeting, Bronx, NY, April 2016.
“Teaching to Decenter Assumptions about Context: An Asian North American Contribution to Practical Theology,” Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Group, American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA, November 22, 2015
“Teaching Love: Embodying Prophetic Imagination through Clowning,” Religious Education Association Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, November 6, 2015.
“Writing as an Asian American in the Racialized ‘Zoo’ of the Academy: Implications for Practical Theology,” Panel Presentation for book session: “Opening the Field of Practical Theology (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014) — Exploring a New Textbook through Intersectionality” American Academy of Religion, San Diego, CA, November 22, 2014.
“Summoning the Saints: Cross-Cultural Analysis of Aesthetic Teaching and Histories of Violence,” Religious Education Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, November 7, 2014.
“Facilitating Revelatory Experiences in light of InterPlay: Implications for Pedagogy and Public Theology,” Association of Practical Theology Biennial Meeting, Nashville, TN, March 29, 2014.
“Issei Garden as a ‘Territory of Play’ and Performance,” Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Group, American Academy of Religion 2010 Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, November 1, 2010.
“On Seeing a Japanese Jesus and Other Possibilities of Art,” Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Group, American Academy of Religion 2009 Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, November 8, 2009.
“Pretending to Be Japanese: Artistic Play in a Japanese American Church and Family,” Religious Education Association Annual Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, November 4, 2007.
Invited Lectures and Presentations
Keynote presentation, “The Ubiquity of Ignorance: A Practical Theological Challenge of our Time,” British and Irish Association of Practical Theology, Liverpool, England, July 8-11, 2019.
Roundtable presentation on Decoloniality and Practical Theological Method. International Academy of Practical Theology, Oslo Norway, April 4-8, 2019.
Keynote presentation, “Creativity and Imagination: Celebrating Play in a Risk-Averse World,” Viterbo University’s Humanities Symposium, February 15, 2018.
Roundtable discussion on Reforming Teaching Practices. International Academy of Practical Theology, Oslo, Norway, April 20-24, 2017.
Lecture, “Holding Lightly: Cultivating Playfulness in Youth” with Lakisha Lockhart, Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing, Yale Divinity School, Feb 1, 2017.
“Experiencing Oppression: Ventriloquism and Epistemic Violence in Practical Theology,” Center for Practical Theology Annual Lecture, Boston University School of Theology, Boston, MA, October 15, 2015.
Respondent to panel, “The Clerical Paradigm Revisited: Does Interdisciplinary Evidence of ‘Wise Practice’ Make Us Want to Reclaim the Clerical Paradigm for Practical Theology?” Practical Theology Group, American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA, October 30, 2010.
“Playing for Body Wisdom,” Keynote presentation, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, April 24, 2010.
“Taking on Practical Theology,” Louisville Institute First Book Grant for Minority Scholars, $40,000, 2015-16.
“Writing About Play,” Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, $5000, April-July 2012.
Honors and Awards
Boston University School of Theology Teaching Excellence Award, 2011
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