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Sample Syllabi in Interfaith and Interreligious Studies

As part of a three-year project funded by the Teagle Foundation, IFYC has partnered with seventeen colleges and universities to develop academic programs in interfaith and interreligious studies. Utilizing grant funds, these institutions have garnered support and convened colleagues to create curricular programs – including majors, minors, concentrations, certificates, and course sequences – that focus on interfaith and interreligious engagement. The goal of this resource is to highlight the diverse range of courses in interfaith and interreligious studies that now exist at both public and private undergraduate institutions.

 

Featured Syllabi

Concordia College – “Faith in Dialogue: Interfaith Leadership” by Jacqueline Bussie

Concordia College is a private institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). It is located in Moorhead, Minnesota, and serves about 2,500 undergraduate students. “Faith in Dialogue” is a required course within Concordia’s Interfaith Studies Minor, which is housed in the Department of Religion.

Wofford College – “Interfaith Engagement and Religious Pluralism” by Trina Jones and Ron Robinson

Wofford College is a private institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and serves about 1,650 undergraduate students. As an introduction to interfaith cooperation both in theory and practice, this course is co-taught by two religion scholars in the Department of Religion, one of whom is also the College Chaplain.

Saint Mary’s College of California – “Interfaith Leadership in Business and the Professions” by Barbara McGraw

Saint Mary’s College of California is a private institution affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. It is located in Moraga, California, and serves about 2,800 undergraduate students. The college launched an interdisciplinary Interfaith Leadership Minor in the fall of 2015, which is housed within the School of Economics and Business Administration. The minor consists of 6.25 total courses, including “Interfaith Leadership in Business and the Professions.”

California Lutheran University – “Politics of Community Development, with Attention to Interfaith Studies” by Colleen Windham-Hughes and Jose Marichal

California Lutheran University is a private institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). It is located in Thousand Oaks, California, and serves about 2,800 undergraduate students. Approaching topics within political science and community development that relate to interfaith cooperation, this course is taught within a broader interfaith studies course sequence. 2

Loyola University Chicago – “Religious Diversity in Theory and Practice” by Devorah Schoenfeld

Loyola University is a private institution affiliated with the Jesuit Catholic tradition. It is located in Chicago, Illinois, and serves over 9,000 undergraduate students. Loyola’s interdisciplinary Interfaith and Interreligious Studies Minor was launched fall of 2015, and consists of six courses. “Religious Diversity in Theory and Practice” is one of the required courses within the minor.

Dominican University – “Introduction to Interfaith Studies” by Jeffrey Carlson

Dominican University is a private institution affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. It is located in River Forest, Illinois, and serves nearly 4,000 undergraduate students. Launched in fall of 2015, Dominican’s Interfaith Studies Minor consists of seven courses; “Introduction to Interfaith Studies” is one of the foundational courses of the minor.

Tell us about the syllabi you’ve utilized in interfaith studies courses and programs, or get in touch with us to learn more about others who have. Email Kristi Del Vecchio, Academic Initiatives Manager, and visit www.ifyc.org/resources for more resources.

 

Faith in Dialogue: Interfaith Leadership

Concordia College

Religion 333
Professor: Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, Professor of Religion and Director of the Forum on Faith and Life Email: jbussie@cord.edu

Course Description

This course introduces the burgeoning interfaith movement in the United States, a movement which adopts as its foundation the concepts of interfaith cooperation, service, and bridge-building. In this course we will gain the religious literacy, skills and appreciative knowledge that will help us to address the following urgent questions of our time: How do I dialogue with people who belong to religious (and non-religious) traditions other than my own? How do I work together with people of different faith backgrounds to achieve the common good? What is pluralism, and how do we protect it from prejudice? How is pluralism different from diversity? What is the difference between dialogue and debate? What is meant by the term ‘interfaith leader,’ who are some past interfaith leaders, and how might I become one in my own community? What steps can be taken by interfaith leaders to overcome the religious divisiveness and polarization of our contemporary culture?

Course Learning Goals

If you attend class sessions and do all course assignments, this course aims to help you:

  • Attain a deeper, more compassionate understanding of people from diverse religious and philosophical traditions;
  • Become responsibly engaged in interfaith leadership in the world;
  • Develop an appreciative knowledge of religious and philosophical traditions that are different from your own;
  • Discover shared values and commitments across religious traditions;
  • Constructively bring your own religious tradition into dialogue with traditions divergent from your own;
  • Demonstrate empathic understanding and authentic listening skills; and
  • Examine your own religious/spiritual journey in a deep and meaningful way.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course and all class assignments, you as a student should be able to:

  1. Construct your own philosophy/theology of interfaith cooperation along with an explanation of why such cooperation is necessary in the 21st century;
  2. Demonstrate in both oral and written form thoughtful and informed knowledge of interfaith leaders and the interfaith movement in the United States;
  3. Define diversity and pluralism, and describe the distinction between the two;
  4. Experience other people’s perspectives and critically and constructively evaluate the ideas of others/peers;
  5. Engage in civil and respectful dialogue with peers and religious neighbors with whom you agree and disagree;
  6. Recognize and deconstruct your own past/current assumptions about major religious traditions different from your own;
  7. Demonstrate critical reading skills and the ability to critically evaluate texts (oral, written, or visual);
  8. Fluently cite past and present historical examples of religious prejudice in the United States and their deleterious effects; and
  9. Identify shared values, practices and/or commitments between your religious tradition and other major religious traditions.

Required Texts and Course Materials

  • Eboo Patel, Acts of Faith, Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0-8070-0622-1
  • Stephen Prothero, God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World, Harper One, ISBN 978-0061571282
  • Dalai Lama, Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together, Three Rivers Press, ISBN 978-0385525060
  • Jennifer Howe Peace, Or Rose, and Gregory Mobley, eds. My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth and Transformation, Orbis Books, ISBN 978-1570759581
  • Chris Stedman, Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0807014394
  • Don Mackenzie, Ted Falcon, and Jamal Rahman, Getting to the Heart of Interfaith, Skylight Paths Publishing, ISBN 9781594732638
  • Brian McLaren, Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?, Jericho Books, ISBN 9781455513963
  • Rob Bell, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, Harper One, ISBN 978-0062049650

Assessment of Student Learning

  • Participation: 25 grade points (25%)
  • Interfaith Passport Completion: 5 grade points (5%)
  • Learning Journals/Letters to Authors (4 X 10pts): 40 grade points (40%)
  • B.R.E.W. Interview Assignment: 5 grade points (5%)
  • One Final Critical Reflection Research Paper: 20 grade points (20%)
  • Discussion Lead/Injustice Watch & Hope Med.: 5 grade points (5%)

TOTAL = 100 points

Course Assignments

Interfaith Hope-Meditation and Justice-Watch Assignments

Every week, one of you will be in charge of sharing with the class 5-10 minutes of an Interfaith HopeMeditation and an (In)Justice-Watch. You may bring this to class or e-mail via Moodle prior to class if you wish. Please keep it short and sweet (but awesome!) as the discussion leaders have a lot to share with us as well. For the Interfaith Hope Meditation, please share with the class something that you saw/ heard/read/experienced within a religious tradition (preferably, from one that is not your own) and which you found hope-inspiring. This meditation can take any form—a quote from a tradition’s sacred text or well-known thinker, poem, a story, an act of interfaith kindness you witnessed, a breakthrough moment experienced during your community service, a prayer, a picture, anything that you believe will inspire us in the face of the world’s religious prejudice, stereotypes, and misassumptions. One of my favorite sites for inspiring global interfaith cooperation stories is Council for a Parliament of World Religions. The Christian website Sojourners is also great for finding stories of hope for religious issues. Sign up for their email updates! And of course there is the excellent Interfaith Youth Core site.

For Interfaith Justice-Watch, take the opportunity to share with classmates a religious conflict/prejudice/ injustice (global or local) which you saw/heard/read about/witnessed/experienced recently and that has been on your heart and mind. Good sources for global concerns are Human Rights Watch, and the BBC website; good sources for local concerns are the news, conversations with friends and family, and even Facebook and other social media (where unfortunately, many hide behind technology to voice their prejudice). Enlighten us briefly about the issue, so that our awareness is heightened about an interfaith conflict or concern of which we may not be aware. Why these exercises? They remind us that religious prejudice or conflict is not an abstraction, but a reality that wounds people’s lived lives. In my experience, the fight for interfaith cooperation must be fought on 2 fronts: 1) awareness (often we are blind to religious prejudices which do not directly hurt us, and in which we are often unintentionally complicit) and 2) resistance to despair (stories of interfaith hope don’t usually make the news, and so we must tell this hope-news to one another, or risk never hearing it). I highly recommend that our class form a closed facebook group, where we can post anytime stories of hope and justice for one another, and in that way keep a record of all that we have shared in class.

Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World (B.R.E.W.): My Neighbor’s Faith Assignment

For this assignment, instead of just reading books about people from different religions, we are going to get out and get to know our interfaith neighbors and put all our ‘faith-in-dialogue’ skills into practice! First, you will need to find a faculty, staff, peer, or member of the Fargo-Moorhead community who practices a different religious or non-religious tradition than you do. For example, this means if you are a Lutheran Christian, you may not just interview a Catholic Christian or a Christian of another different denomination; likewise if you are a Reform Jew, you may not just interview an Orthodox Jew. Please challenge yourself—find someone about whose tradition you know very little or do not relate to very well— and remember that in our community we have a wonderful diversity of traditions including Buddhism, Native American traditions, Unitarian Universalism, Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, atheists, and Baha’i. Do not pick a close friend of yours unless it’s actually the case that you have never really talked to them about their religious tradition. Invite the person you choose to coffee or lunch, and tell them you would love to interview them for our interfaith class. Consider emailing the Native American Center of Fargo, 6 Red River Free Thinkers, The Center for Interfaith Projects, the Project F-M, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fargo, or the Mormon Church of Latter-Day Saints (Fargo) to get set up with someone. Be of good courage and branch out.

Second, you will need to design 5-6 respectful and thoughtful interview questions. We can brainstorm these in class. One of my favorites is: “What is something about your religious tradition you really wish everyone outside of your religious tradition would better understand?” List the interview questions on your BREW assignment. See the book Getting to the Heart of Interfaith for great ideas for interview questions.

Third, write a reflection paper describing what you learned by allowing your faith to be in dialogue with your neighbor’s faith during this conversation. [Note: Do not mention their real name in your assignment unless you have asked and received their permission to do so.] Be sure to answer the following questions: What did you learn about your neighbor’s tradition? What most surprised/challenged/interested you about your neighbor’s tradition? What assumptions did you bring into the interview that were changed/challenged/nuanced by the dialogue? Did you discover any shared values or practices, and if so, what were they? What was an area of disagreement or discomfort, and how did you handle it?

Interfaith Leadership Log

In order to help you write your final paper, you will keep an interfaith leadership log that will help you track the acquisition of skills, literacy, and appreciative knowledge needed to help you become an interfaith leader. This will not be handed in, but instead is provided as a guide for the final assignment. The log will have six components which are:

Share a moment of ‘unlearning’ an assumption you held about a religious tradition other than your own. Identify a shared value your own tradition has in common with other traditions. Be specific and cite texts. Share a moment of interfaith hope you experienced this semester in your personal life or discovered in the media.
Articulate and analyze a moment of interfaith doubt/ division/concern/conflict or discomfort you experienced this semester. Be honest. Share your favorite idea/ practice/textual quote you learned this semester from someone of another tradition. Identify and describe a moment in which your own faith or philosophy was deepened or nuanced because of interfaith dialogue.

 

 

Course Schedule

Week 1
Thursday

  • Icebreakers, Course Introduction, Moodle review

Week 2
Tuesday

  • Read Intro, Chapters 1-4 of Eboo Patel, Acts of Faith
  • Read Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) document “Interfaith Cooperation 101

Thursday

Week 3
Tuesday & Thursday

  • No class—work on BREW “My Neighbor’s Faith” interview assignment which is due at the end of the week (Friday)
  • Reading assignment for this week (which will help you prepare for your interview) Getting to the Heart of Interfaith pp 1-78 (Intro and Chapters 1-3) and Discussion Questions on pp 171-177. Many of these discussion questions would be great for your interviews—also skim chapter 4, it has great interview question possibilities as well.
  • Due on Moodle by Friday at 10pm: B.R.E.W. assignment

Week 4
Tuesday

  • Review Getting to the Heart of Interfaith reading from last week
  • Note: Today in class Amena Chaudry, a local Muslim friend who is a passionate teacher of nonviolent communication skills, will be training us in non-violent communication—a splendid skill to have in interfaith work!

Thursday

  • Read and finish the book Getting to the Heart of Interfaith Chapters 4-7

Week 5
Tuesday

  • Read Toward a True Kinship of Faiths Intro, Preface, and Chapters 1-4 Thursday f Read in Toward a True Kinship of Faiths Chapters 5, 7 8, 9, 10 and Conclusion (Note: Chapter 6 on Judaism is recommended, but not required)
  • Due on Moodle by class time: Learning Journal #1
  • Note: Tonight at 7pm in the Centrum is an interfaith lecture I would love for us to attend. The speaker, Stephanie Kaza, will speak on “Responding to Environmental Suffering: Insights from Zen Buddhism”

Week 6
Tuesday

  • Read Stephen Prothero, God is Not One Chapters: Introduction, Chapter 2 (Christianity) and Conclusion
  • In class: we will discuss Prothero and have a chance to ask the professor clarifying questions in about the major traditions we have read about thus far—Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity. Please come to class prepared with three questions—either to discuss or ask the professor.

Thursday

  • Assignment: Read in Stephen Prothero, God is Not One, Chapter 1 (Islam) and review True Kinship of Faiths, chapter 5 on Islam 8
  • Guest Speaker in Class: Fauzia Haider, our Muslim sister from the local Fargo mosque, will share her spiritual journey in Islam. Please bring to class on a note card 3 thoughtfully prepared questions for our speaker—use the readings and your own personal curiosity to design these – they will be handed in.

Week 7
Tuesday

  • Read in Stephen Prothero, God is Not One, Chapter 7 (Judaism) and review True Kinship of Faiths, chapter 6 (on Judaism)
  • Guest Speaker in Class: David Myers, practitioner of Judaism. Please bring to class on a note card 3 thoughtfully prepared questions for our speaker—these will be handed in.

Thursday

  • Read God is Not One, Chapter 4 (Hinduism) & 5 (Buddhism)
  • Guest speaker in class on Buddhism: Mark Bourdon, practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. Please bring to class on a note card 3 thoughtfully prepared questions for our speaker—these will be handed in.

Week 8
Tuesday & Thursday

  • Spring Break, No Class

Week 9
Tuesday

  • Read My Neighbor’s Faith Foreword, Introduction, Chapters 1-15 and also chapter 20. Also, Paul Raushenbush, the Executive Editor for Huffington Post’s Religion section, will be visiting our class today! Please prepare on a notecard 3 questions to ask him in class so that we will have sparkling conversation.
  • Required attendance at Paul Raushenbush lecture @7pm in the Centrum

Thursday

  • No class, in exchange for attendance at lecture—continue reading My Neighbor’s Faith

Week 10
Tuesday

  • Read My Neighbor’s Faith all chapters found in Part III and Part IV
  • Due on Moodle by class time: My Neighbor’s Faith Learning Journal #2: If you were asked to contribute a chapter to the book My Neighbor’s Faith telling your interfaith story of interreligious encounter, growth, or transformation, what would you write? Please make your learning journal for today the telling of one of your own interfaith stories—and keep in mind that stories of growth can either be positive or negative. Tell one of your formative stories which has shaped your views/commitment to interfaith! Please make your discussion questions for the journal about the reading for today.

Thursday

  • Finish My Neighbor’s Faith All Chapters in Part V, VI, and Part VII 9

Week 11
Tuesday

  • Read Rob Bell, Love Wins Preface and Chapters 1-4.
  • Due on Moodle: letter to author—learning journal #3. Please write your journal as a letter to Pastor Rob Bell.

Thursday

  • Finish Rob Bell, Love Wins Chapters 5-8

Week 12
Tuesday

  • Re-read Chapters 14 & 32 in My Neighbor’s Faith (both on Native American traditions)
  • Guest Speaker in Class on Native American Religion/First Nation Traditions: Willard Yellowbird, Cultural Planner of Fargo. Please bring to class on a note card 3 thoughtfully prepared questions for our speaker—these will be handed in.

Thursday

  • Easter Recess, No Class

Week 13
Tuesday & Thursday

  • Reading assignment for the week: Brian Mclaren, Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road? Chapters 1-11 (pp1-98)
  • In class film: On Mormons

Week 14
Tuesday

  • Read Brian Mclaren, Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road? Chapters 12,16, 18, 22 and ALL chapters in Part IV (chapters 24-29)
  • Due on Moodle: learning journal #4

Thursday

  • Professor travels to National Council on Undergraduate Research Conference with her students who are presenting. NO CLASS—Please begin work on your interfaith passport

Week 15
Tuesday

  • Read Faitheist Foreword and Chapters 1-4; and God is Not One Chapter 9 (Atheism)
  • Guest Speaker on atheism/secular humanism in class Kristi Del Vecchio, Co-President of Better Together Interfaith Alliance and IFYC trainer. Please bring to class on a note card 3 thoughtfully prepared questions for our speaker—these will be handed in.

Thursday

  • Read Faitheist, Chapters 5-8 and Afterword

Week 16
Tuesday

  • Discussion in class of Interfaith passports!
  • Completed Interfaith Passports DUE in class

Thursday

  • Last day of class: Course Conclusions, Evaluations, and Presentation of all Final Papers and Projects
  • Presentations

Week 17
Tuesday

  • Final exam period—Final Paper/Project Presentations. All Final Projects are Due on Moodle by Thursday

Week 18

  • Class Field Trips To Hindu Temple and Zen Meditation Center

 


 

Interfaith Engagement and Worldview Pluralism
Wofford College

REL 380 A Professors: Dr. Trina Janiec Jones, Professor of Religion and Associate Provost for Curriculum & CoCurriculum, and Rev. Dr. Ron Robinson, Chaplain and Professor of Religion E-mail Addresses: joneskj@wofford.edu and robinsonrr@wofford.edu

Course Description

This course explores the civic, theological, and philosophical challenges and opportunities involved with religious pluralism. What does it mean for groups with different religious commitments to share the same civic space? What might it mean to move beyond religious tolerance toward civic engagement among people of many faiths and those of no faith?

We will also consider more overarching questions related to the field of religious studies in general. For example:

  • What does it mean to study “religion”?
  • What does it mean to study one particular religious tradition?
  • What is the difference between studying religion (or pluralism) in an academic context, as opposed to a faith-based context, as opposed to the context of the civic sphere?
  • What is the difference between “religious studies” and “theology”? Does it matter?
  • Is human flourishing affected by interreligious and/or interfaith engagement?

Course Learning Goals

This course begins with two assumptions: (1) that liberal learning is, in large part, predicated on the goal of facilitating civically-engaged learning, and (2) that civic engagement, in turn, is predicated largely on helping students learn how to engage meaningfully and productively with difference. The learning objectives for this course involve students’ acquiring a more nuanced understanding of the following:

  • What we mean when we speak of “diversity” and “(religious) pluralism;”
  • What we mean when we talk about “religiousness,” “religion,” and “religious identity.” What assumptions underpin our use of these words?
  • The philosophical challenges entailed in theologies of religious pluralism, as well as the difference between a theology of religious pluralism and comparative theology;
  • A history of religious pluralism in the United States, focusing on specific challenges and areas of positive engagement;
  • Various notions of religious belonging, including “none,” “spiritual but not religious,” and other hybridities; and
  • More general questions related to the field of religious studies (the history of the academic field, which has changed and grown in response to religious pluralism) and its lexicon (for example, what have various scholars meant when they have used the typology of “exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism”?).

Required Texts and Course Materials

  1. Francis Clooney, Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders
  2. Diana Eck, Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Benares (excerpts)
  3. Linda Mercadante, Belief without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but Not Religious
  4. Eboo Patel, Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America
  5. Chris Stedman, Faithiest: How and Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious

Course Assignments

You will be asked to complete one outside project (this project includes a presentation and final paper); you will also have two in-class tests, a reflection paper, a few group activities, and writing assignments on Moodle. And, finally, we will have an opportunity to travel to Washington D.C to explore some of the pathways toward interfaith engagement that are available at this point in our nation’s history.

Assessment of Student Learning

  1. Tests: 30% (15% each)
  2. 2. Reflection Paper: 7.5%
  3. 3. Quizzes: 7.5%
  4. 4. Group Projects/Discussion Leading/Informal Writing: 5%
  5. 5. Project 50%
    • Imagined topics assignment - 5%
    • Annotated bibliography - 10%
    • Topic analysis - 10%
    • Presentation - 10%
    • Final paper - 15% - See Appendices I and II for assignment details

Course Schedule

The Civic Grounds for Religious Pluralism

Week One
Tuesday

  • Introduction – What is “religious pluralism”? What is “the flourishing scale”? What is The Pluralism and Worldview Engagement Rubric?
  • A few words on the UN’s Interfaith Harmony Week

Thursday

Week Two
Tuesday

  • Eboo Patel, excerpt from Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation (excerpts)
  • Eboo Patel, Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, Part I Thursday
  • Sacred Ground, Part II

Week Three
Tuesday

  • Sacred Ground, Part III

Thursday

  • An example of interfaith engagement: “Ravel/Unravel” introduction and explanation

Week Four
Tuesday

  • “Ravel/Unravel” – con’t.

Thursday

  • Eck – Encountering God, chs. 7 & 8

Weeek Five
Tuesday

  • Work with examples from Eck’s Pluralism Project in class
  • Imagine Topics Assignment due

Thursday

  • Test

Week Six
Tuesday

  • Excerpt from The Cambridge Guide to American Islam f Edward Curtis, “The Study of American Muslims: A History”

Thursday

  • Trip to Washington DC – See Appendix III for trip itinerary

The Theological and Philosophical Challenges of Religious Pluralism

Week Seven
Tuesday

  • Debrief from DC trip

Thursday

  • William E. Connolly, Why I Am Not a Secularist
  • “Suffering, Justice, and the Politics of Becoming”
  • “An Ethos of Engagement”

Week Eight
Tuesday

  • Francis Clooney, Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders (Part I)

Thursday

  • Annotated Bibliography Due
  • Clooney, Part II

Week Nine
Tuesday

  • Clooney, Part III

Thursday

  • Scriptural Reasoning (introduction)

Week Ten
Tuesday & Thursday

  • Spring Break, No Class

Week Eleven
Tuesday

  • Scriptural Reasoning

Thursday

  • Scriptural Reasoning
  • Topic Analysis Due

Week Twelve
Tuesday

  • Linda Mercadante, Belief Beyond Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but Not Religious Thursday

Thursday

  • Mercadante (con’t)

Week Thirteen
Tuesday

  • Mercadante (con’t)

Thursday

  • Christ Stedman, Faithiest: How and Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious

Week Fourteen
Tuesday

  • Stedman (con’t)

Thursday

  • Presentations

Week Fifteen
Tuesday

  • Presentations (con't)

Thursday

  • Exam

APPENDIX I

REL 260: Interfaith Engagement and Religious Pluralism
Take-Home Test: Thinking Through a Case Study by Engaging Texts

Directions: Please read the case study below. Once you have read it, please answer the following question. Based on your readings of Sacred Ground, the excerpt of Acts of Faith, and the excerpts from Encountering God, what advice do you think Eboo Patel and Diana Eck would give to Steve Wareham? Why? And, finally, what do you think he should do, and why?

As I mentioned in class, please don’t worry about whether or not you think your professors will agree with your opinion regarding what Wareham should do. That isn’t the point of this essay. Rather, we’re trying to see (1) how you understood the reading, (2) how clearly you can discuss it in writing, (3) how clearly you can engage and evaluate this writing, and (4) how well you are able to apply what you take the reading to be saying to a specific practical example.

This essay should be between 3 and 6 pages.

Case Study: Driven by Faith or Customer Service? Muslim Taxi Drivers at the MSP Airport When Steve Wareham heard that there had been another formal complaint about taxi service at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP), it came as no surprise. As Airport Director, Wareham had been working with the taxi advisory council for years to improve customer service. Together, they enhanced the taxicab ordinance with input from drivers, owners, and taxi companies. Wareham was proud of the progress made on key service issues through this collaborative process. But not every problem had been solved: one issue, which threatened to derail the larger process, had been tabled.

Beginning in 2002, Airport Staff became aware that some passengers who were carrying alcohol – often visible in the plastic bags from duty-free shops — had been refused taxi service. The drivers, many of whom were Muslims from Somalia, explained that their faith did not permit them to consume or transport alcohol. Wareham and his colleagues at the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), the regional governing body for airports, found the issue troubling. Such service refusals were prohibited by the taxicab ordinance: drivers who refused a fare for any reason were sent to the end of the line, and had to wait two to four hours for another fare. Losing fares represented a significant economic and practical hardship; for the drivers, this was an issue of religious accommodation.

Yet, given the practical concerns that arose curbside, and the number of passenger complaints, refusals had also emerged as a serious customer service issue. Passengers being moved from one taxi to another disrupted the flow of traffic, and posed a safety concern. Those who were refused service were confused and frustrated, and often insulted: on one occasion, a traveler threw a bottle of wine to the pavement in anger.

Since Wareham became Airport Director in 2004, he had worked closely with Landside, the department that handles parking and commercial vehicles, to resolve the issue. Early on, he sought input from Somali community representatives and Muslim leaders. For a time, the taxi starter — a dispatcher employed by the MAC — would provide bags to travelers in order to cover the wine or other visible alcohol. It was a “don’t see, don’t look” policy. This worked for a while, but soon the drivers began refusing service to 17 those carrying the distinctive bags. One cab company, which had all Muslim drivers suggested that the starter refer passengers with alcohol to a cab from another company. After a few days, the MAC was asked to discontinue the practice: the loss of business proved difficult for the drivers and owners alike.

On March 29, 2006, Wareham received a message from Vicki Tigwell, the Chair of the MAC. She forwarded the most recent customer complaint: ‘My wife and I needed a cab from MSP to Apple Valley. The starter directed us to a cab. After loading most of our luggage, he (the driver), noticed I was carrying duty-free liquor, and refused to transport us. The next three cabs also refused. The starter came out and finally located a driver who would take us. We were very unhappy about this abysmal treatment by four cab drivers…I request you take action against the company and the driver, and draft a policy to prevent this behavior in the future.’

Tigwell’s message ended with a directive for Wareham: “I expect you to solve this.”

Test evaluation: Try to be as specific as you can in your answers. Also, remember that you should always allow yourself time to give your work a final read-through before turning it in. (As you read, ask yourself: is my answer clear and coherent? Would somebody who doesn’t live in my head with me know what I’m talking about? Does the answer clearly communicate a main point, or thesis, around which the rest of the essay is built?)

You will be graded in large part on coherence and clarity. The main thing I’m looking for is (1) the point that you’re making, and (2) a clear explanation of your point. You also need to be specific in engaging Patel and Eck in your answer, rather than talking about them in vague terms. Use the texts.

APPENDIX II

REL 260: Interfaith Engagement and Religious Pluralism
Final Reflection and Assessment

Format: Please write this just like you would write any other academic paper. Your tone, though, can be a bit less formal. Your writing will be assessed on the basis of (1) whether or not you have a point, or thesis, around which the rest of the writing revolves, (2) whether or not you explain what you mean clearly and support your points, and (3) whether or not what you say seems to sort of “skim the surface” and be a piece of writing done just to “get it out of the way.”

In order for us to think through the course and its overarching themes reflectively, it will be helpful to think back through (1) the goals of the course as stated on the syllabus, (2) The Flourishing Scale, and (3) the Pluralism and Worldview Engagement Rubric.

Please write on one of the following questions:

Please write at least three pages (more if you wish) on any of the following questions. You can also write your own question, as long as you get it approved by Dr. Jones or Dr. Robinson 24 hours in advance of the time the writing is due.

  1. Do you think that human flourishing is affected by interreligious and/or interfaith engagement? Why? Please explain what you mean.
  2. What do you think “human flourishing” actually means? How can colleges foster flourishing, at least in terms of increasing the probability of its occurring – of creating the spaces to let this happen?
  3. Take a look at the Pluralism and Worldview Engagement Rubric. Where would you place yourself on it? Has your placement changed any since taking this course?

APPENDIX III

REL 260: Interfaith Engagement and Religious Pluralism
Trip to Washington, D.C.

Thursday

  • 6:00 am: Depart Wofford College
  • 3:00 pm: Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs - We will be meeting Dr. Michael Kessler, director for the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University
  • 5:15 pm: Depart Georgetown University

Friday

  • 9:30 am: Depart hotel
  • 10:00 am: U.S. Department of State - We will be meeting Dr. Shaun Casey, Special Representative for Religion & Global Affairs
  • 11:45 am: Depart U.S. Department of State
  • 12:00 pm: Islamic Society of North America - We will be meeting Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director for the Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
  • 1:30 pm: Public Religion Research Institute - We will be meeting Dr. Robert Jones, the CEO of Public Relgion Research Institute
  • 3:45 pm: Leave PRRI for Hotel

Saturday

  • 10:40 am: Depart Hotel
  • 10:45 am: National Cathedral - We will be meeting with Rev. Gina Gilland Campbell, Canon Precentor of Washington National Cathedral
  • 2:15 pm: Depart Cathedral for Wofford

 


 

Interfaith Leadership in Business and the Professions
Saint Mary's College of California

Busad 108-01
Professor: Barbara A. McGraw, Professor of Social Ethics, Law, and Public Life
Email: bmcgraw@stmarys-ca.edu

Course Description

This course joins interfaith understanding, leadership theory, communication methods, and religious literacy, and applies them in business and professional settings. In so doing, this course helps students begin to develop the knowledge, values, and skills needed to lead inclusively and effectively in a religiously diverse environment to further business and professional goals.

Today cross-cultural and cross-religious contacts are almost unavoidable, whether one pursues professional goals outside of the U.S. or remains in the U.S. As a consequence, it is necessary to know and respect the religious and spiritual orientations of those the business and the professions serve in the U.S. and abroad – and to be able to lead in religiously diverse environments. Yet engagement with religion remains taboo in most professions, leading to heedless ignorance, harm to relationships with constituents, organizational dysfunction, and even litigation. Nevertheless, increasingly professionals in various sectors (healthcare, law, business, education, government service and public policy) are beginning to recognize the need to address the religious dimensions of their work not only to serve more compassionately and effectively, but also to contribute to the evolution of a more inclusive and just society.

Course Learning Goals

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the main leadership theories;
  • Identify qualities and capacities of various types of leaders and articulate where the student finds him/herself;
  • Demonstrate understanding and critical appreciation across religious differences;
  • Articulate how religious worldviews affect perceptions of issues in that arise in the workplace and other professional contexts;
  • Identify how effective communication skills can avoid interfaith conflict and build interreligious understanding;
  • Identify interfaith leadership challenges and opportunities and propose inclusive ways of addressing them;
  • American Diversity Learning outcomes: Analyze aspects of religious diversity and how they affect society in the United States of America, including the effect on business and the professions and the people and communities they serve; and explain how social categories and structures of power may affect businesspersons and professionals and the people and communities they serve; and
  • Common Good Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a capacity for coherent, principled analysis of concrete social problems related to interreligious understanding and conflict; articulate a critical account of a just social order from the perspective of a variety of religions, including with regard to economic justice; and articulate a critical account of a just social order that includes respect for religious differences based on an understanding of “pluralism” in the interfaith context.

Required Texts and Course Materials

  1. Susan R. Komives, et al., Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference, 3rd ed., selected chapters (John Wiley & Sons, 2013)
  2. Stephen Prothero, God Is Not One: The Eight Religions that Run the World—And Why Their Differences Matter “Introduction” & selected additional chapters (HarperOne, 2010)
  3. Jennifer Howe Peace, Or N. Rose, Gregory Mobley, eds., My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth and Transformation, selected stories (Orbis Books, 2012)
  4. Marshall B. Rosenberg, Speak Peace in a World of Conflict: What You Say Next Will Change Your World (Puddle Dancer Press, 2005)
  5. Barbara A. McGraw, “Moral Economy in Global Perspective: Protestant Christianity, Confucianism, Islam and Hinduism” in Purushartha: A Journal of Management, Ethics, and Spirituality (School of Management Science, February 2013)
  6. Eboo Patel, et al., “Interfaith Leadership: Bringing Religious Groups Together” in Crossing the Divide: Intergroup Leadership in a World of Difference (Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, 2009)
  7. Stephen Prothero, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—And Doesn’t, Chapter One (HarperOne, 2007)
  8. Robert S. Ellwood and Barbara A. McGraw, Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions, Chapter One & Excerpts from Chapters Seven and Nine (Pearson Education, 10th ed, 2014)
  9. Joseph Runzo, “Pluralism and Relativism” in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity, ed. Chad Meister (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  10. John G. Oetzel, et al., “Historical, Political, and Spiritual Factors of Conflict,” in The Sage Handbook of Conflict Communication (Sage Publications, 2013)

Class Assignments

Notebook Entry Assignments

Each student will keep a well-organized notebook folder, which should have a nicely designed cover with at least a title and the student’s name. Use the very flat folders that have three-hole fasteners (not 3-ring binders). The notebook will be divided into four parts—all of which should be labeled and have a divider:

  • Part I, which will consist of your brief reflections (one page, typed, single-spaced, 1 inch margins all around, 12 pt type) on each Neighbor’s Faith chapter as it is assigned (written before the class for which the chapter is due, so you are ready to use it during class discussions, as relevant). The reflections on these chapters shall address the following in the order given on the next page:
    • What do you think was the reason the author thought it was especially important to tell that particular story?
    • How does the story illustrate how interfaith encounters enrich people’s understanding of themselves or others?
    • What reactions (feelings/thoughts) do you have to the story? Does it relate to your life in some way?
  • Part II, which will consist of your written responses to the assigned Speak Peace exercises (written before the class for which the assignment is due, so you are ready to discuss this during class). (One half to one page, typed, single-spaced, 1 inch margins all around, 12 pt type for each.)
  • Part III, which will consist of two things: (a) your answers to the questions for the assigned Ted Talk video and (b) your answers to the questions for the assigned video on the “5 Levels of Leadership.” (One page, typed, single-spaced, 1 inch margins all around, 12 pt type for each video.)
  • Part IV, which will consist of a couple things from Exploring Leadership, as noted, including the VIA Survey and the question about that survey. (One page, typed, single-spaced, 1 inch margins all around, 12 pt type for each video.)
  • Part V, which will consist of your Religious Site Visit paper, which will be included in the Notebook, but will be graded separately, and your Project Reflection Paper. (See instructions below.)

Religious Site Visits & Paper

There will be two opportunities for Religious Site Visits; students must participate in at least one, but it is highly recommended that the students attend both. Students will write a Religious Site Visit Paper for only one of their religious site visits, even if they attend two, based on the following:

  • Before your Religious Site Visit, Read Many Peoples, Many Faiths, Chapter One (on Moodle) so you know what you are looking for.
  • After Religious Site Visit, write a paper on the visit for your notebook based on these criteria:
    • Include full name, exact address, the exact religious affiliation of the site visited (not too general; e.g., not just “Buddhist” or “Christian”), and the date of the visit.
    • From your observations and discussions at the site (and the reading assigned above which explains what these questions entail) address the following questions in your paper:
      • Based on the visit, what do you think the religion teaches?
      • Based on the visit, what do you think the religion’s practices entail?
      • Based on the visit, what kind of group do you think it is?
      • What is your own reaction to the visit? Thoughts? Feelings?
    • The Religious Site Visit Papers must be between two and three pages, single-spaced, 1 inch margins all around and 12 pt type, and include an introduction and conclusion and consist of well-formed sentences and paragraphs.
  • Be ready to discuss the site visit during the class following the Religious Site Visit.
  • Grading will be based on the same criteria as for the overall Notebook, but will be graded separately.
  • Due the class that follows one week after the Religious Site Visit you attended. After grading, the paper will be added to the Notebook, as noted in the Notebook instructions.

Interfaith Leadership Project

The class will produce an interfaith awareness event for the Saint Mary’s College campus community. More information about this project will be provided later.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will be cumulative and will include multiple-choice questions and may include an essay, term or concept identification, and/or short answer questions. More information will be provided at the end of the semester.

Grading

The final grade for the course will be an accumulation of points for the following (adjusted for any attendance issues as described above). All assignments will be graded on a 100 point scale, but they will be weighted as follows.

  • Class Participation (average): 250 points (2.5 x the points given)
  • Notebook (first review): 100 points (the points given)
  • Religious Site Visit Paper: 100 points (the points given)
  • Interfaith Leadership Project: 200 points (2 x the points given)
  • Notebook (second review): 200 points (2 x the points given)
  • Final Exam (150 points (1.5 x the points given)
  • Total Points: 1000 points

Course Schedule

Week One
Tuesday: Intro to Course

  • No assignment due 1st day of class

Thursday: Intro to Interfaith Leadership

  • Read “Interfaith Leadership” article by Eboo Patel, et al. (in course reader)
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith #6
  • Enter Journal Entry for #6 (see questions in syllabus)
  • Be prepared to discuss your own “interfaith encounter”

Week Two
Tuesday: Interfaith Encounters in the Workplace

  • Read Taxi Driver Case “Driven by Faith or Intro to Non-Violent Communication (NVC) Customer Service” (posted on Moodle)
  • Be prepared to discuss questions at end of Taxi Driver Case
  • Read Speak Peace, pgs 9-26
  • Enter Speak Peace Exercise in Journal (must be something you can share with others in the class)
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith #10
  • Enter Journal Entry for #10 (see questions in syllabus)

Thursday: Intro to Religious Literacy & NVC (cont.)

  • Read Religious Literacy, Ch 1 (in course reader)
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle
  • Read Speak Peace, pgs 27-40
  • Enter Speak Peace Exercise in Journal (must be something you can share with others in the class)
  • Be prepared to discuss Speak Peace in class

Week Three
Tuesday: Intro to Leadership & NVC (cont.)

  • Read Exploring Leadership, Ch 2, pgs 35-71
  • Be prepared to discuss Ch 2 Chapter Activities (hereafter referred to as “Ch As”) #1
  • Read Speak Peace, pgs 41-55 (Ch 3)
  • Enter notebook entry on SP exercises (must be something you can discuss in class)
  • Be prepared to discuss Speak Peace in class
  • Watch Ted Talk video before class
  • Enter answers to questions posted on Moodle for this Ted Talk
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle for Ted Talk

Thursday: Relational Leadership & 5 Levels of Leadership

  • Read Exploring Leadership, Ch 3
  • Be prepared to discuss Ch 3 Ch As #1, 2, 5
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith #22
  • Enter Notebook Entry for #22 (see questions in Syllabus; yes this should be in the Notebook for the first hand in)

Week Four
Tuesday: Exploring Your Potential for Leadership Part I (Understanding Yourself) & NVC (cont.)

  • Read Exploring Leadership, Intro to Part II and Ch 4
  • Be prepared to discuss Ch As ## 1, 2, 5
  • Enter answer to #2 in Notebook
  • Read Speak Peace Chapter 4
  • Enter Speak Peace exercises in notebook (must be something you can share with others in the class)
  • Be prepared to discuss Speak Peace in class

Thursday: Religious Literacy: Understanding Diverse Religious "Lenses" Part 1 and Their Influence on Culture

  • Read God Is Not One, “Introduction”
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle
  • Read “Moral Economy in Global Perspective” sections: “Introduction,” “Religious Origins of U.S. “Capitalist Culture,” and “Calvinist Protestantism and Economic Liberalism” posted on Moodle
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle

Saturday: Religious Site Visit: San Ramon Islamic Center

  • Before your religious site visit, read Many Peoples, Many Faiths, Ch. One (in course reader) and criteria for your religious site visit journal reflection in the syllabus so you know what you will be looking for.

Week Five
Tuesday: Tuesday: Religious Literacy: Understanding Diverse Religious "Lenses" Part 2

  • Read God Is Not One, “Islam” Chapter 1
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle
  • Be prepared to discuss your Site Visit in class 26
  • Read “Moral Economy in Global Perspective” sections on Islam posted on Moodle
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith #25
  • Enter notebook entry for #25 (see questions in syllabus)

Thursday: Exploring Your Potential for Leadership Part II (Understanding Others)

  • Read Exploring Leadership, Ch 5
  • Be prepared to discuss Ch A #2 and this question: “What does intercultural competence entail?”
  • Enter notebook entry for your answers to those questions
  • Read Speak Peace Chs 5 & 6
  • Enter Speak Peace exercises in notebook (must be something you can share with others in the class)

Week Six
Tuesday: Religious Literacy: Understanding Diverse Religious "Lenses" Part 3

  • Read God Is Not One, “Hinduism” Chapter 4
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle
  • Read “Moral Economy in Global Perspective” sections on Hinduism posted on Moodle
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith #39
  • Enter notebook entry for #39 (see questions in syllabus)

Thursday: Five Levels of Leadership

  • Watch “5 Levels of Leadership” video before class
  • Be prepared to discuss “5 Levels” video questions posted on Moodle
  • Enter “5 Levels" questions posted on Moodle
  • Continue discussion of Hinduism

Sunday: Wat Mongkolratanaram Thai Buddhist Temple

  • Before your religious site visits, read Many Peoples, Many Faiths, Ch One (Handout) and criteria for your religious site visit paper in the syllabus so you know what you will be looking for. Be prepared to discuss your site visit in our next class.

Week Seven 
Tuesday: NVC (continued): What do you want to change?

  • Read Speak Peace, Ch 7
  • Be prepared to discuss Speak Peace questions posted on Moodle and review Speak Peace material assigned to date. (Please review key points in Speak Peace for this class discussion)
  • Enter Speak Peace exercises in notebook (must be something you can share with others in class)

Thursday: Work on Interfaith Leadership Projects together during class time, also:

  • Find a time to take the VIA Survey on pg. 175 of Exploring Leadership (not due for this class, just notebook)
  • Enter the VIA Survey in your notebook
  • Enter your answer to Ch A #11 on pg. 186 in notebook

Week Eight
Tuesday: Religious Literacy: Understanding Diverse Religious "Lenses" Part 4

  • Read God Is Not One, “Confucianism” Chapter 3 27
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith #38
  • Enter notebook entry for #38 (see questions in syllabus)
  • Read “Moral Economy in Global Perspective” sections on Confucianism posted on Moodle
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle

Thursday: Midterm Holiday

Week Nine
Tuesday: Structural Social Obstacles to Understanding and Cooperation

  • Read Speak Peace, Chs 8-9
  • Be prepared to discuss Speak Peace questions posted on Moodle
  • Enter Speak Peace exercises in notebook (must be something you can share with others in class)

Thursday: Leading with Integrity

  • Read Exploring Leadership, Ch 6
  • Be prepared to discuss Ch As # 2 and 9 and the scenario on pgs. 273-274
  • Time set aside for IFL project update report
  • Be prepared to report substantial progress on your project

Week Ten
Tuesday: Understanding the Dimensions of Pluralism

  • Read “Pluralism and Relativism” (in reader)
  • Be prepared to discuss the questions for the above reading posted on Moodle
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith #32
  • Enter notebook entry for #32 (see questions in syllabus)

Thursday: Conflict Communication in Comparative Perspective #1: Muslim Lens

  • Read “Historical, Political, and Spiritual Factors of Conflict,” excerpt on Muslims
  • Be prepared to discuss the questions for the above reading posted on Moodle

Week Eleven
Tuesday: Conflict Communication in Comparative Perspective #2: Chinese Religion Lens

  • Read “Historical, Political, and Spiritual Factors of Conflict,” excerpt on Chinese religion
  • Be prepared to discuss the questions for the above reading posted on Moodle
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith # 35
  • Enter notebook entry for #35 (see questions in syllabus)

Thursday: Guest Speaker

  • Non-violent communications expert comes to class!
  • Read Neighbor’s Faith #30
  • Enter notebook entry for #30 (see questions in syllabus)

Week Twelve
Tuesday: Making a Difference as an Interfaith Leader

  • Read Exploring Leadership, Intro to Part IV and Ch 11
  • Be prepared to discuss Ch As #1, 2, 5
  • Read Speak Peace, Ch 10
  • Be prepared to discuss Speak Peace questions posted on Moodle
  • Enter Speak Peace exercises in notebook (must be something you can share with others in class)

Thursday: Interfaith Leadership Project Team Meetings

Week Thirteen: Thanksgiving Break

Week Fourteen
Tuesday: Accommodating Religious Diversity

  • Be prepared to discuss the summary material power point posted on Moodle
  • Read “Religious Diversity in the Workplace” Case posted on Moodle
  • Be prepared to discuss the questions at end of the Case
  • Read Prison Case posted on Moodle f Be prepared to discuss the Prison Case questions posted on Moodle

Wednesday: Interfaith Projects / Community Time

Thursday: Putting it All Together: Transforming Business Culture

  • Read Speak Peace, Ch 11-13
  • Be prepared to discuss Speak Peace questions posted on Moodle
  • Enter Speak Peace exercises in notebook
  • Read “Moral Economy in Global Perspective” section on “Implications for a Moral Economy” to end of article posted on Moodle
  • Be prepared to discuss questions posted on Moodle

Saturday: Final Notebook Due

Week Fifteen: Final Exam

 


 

Politics of Community Development, With Attention to Interfaith Studies
California Lutheran University

Professors: Jose Marichal and Colleen Windham-Hughes
Email Addresses: marichal@callutheran.edu and windhamh@callutheran.edu
Direct relevant outside of the classroom discussion to Twitter & Instagram: #pols317

Course Learning Goals

This course will address the following CLU General Education Goals:

  1. Written and Oral Communication Skills
  2. Understanding of Cultural and Global Diversity
  3. Critical Thinking
  4. Growth in Identity and Values

In this course, students are expected to:

  1. Employ different theoretical approaches towards understanding the relationship between place-making, community formation, social/economic structures and values, with a particular emphasis on the role of interfaith dialogue;
  2. Demonstrate an advanced competency to articulate clearly and knowledgeably the diversity of beliefs and practices within and among religions;
  3. Demonstrate an advanced competency to write respectfully about religious views other than their own;
  4. Exhibit critical thinking and effective writing skills by incorporating course readings into reflective essay assignments;
  5. Demonstrate the ability to work with other students in groups to present information; and
  6. Show an ability to find, evaluate, use and communicate information in both oral and written formats

Course Schedule

Visual analysis (10 points)

Twice during the semester, we will ask you to engage with place by taking photographs and posting them on Instagram using the hashtag #pols317. The pictures will call on you to reflect on how space and place reflect collective value choices. You will be asked to share your images to the class as part of a group project.

Place Based Analysis (10 points)

We will ask you to write a 5-7 page analysis of your interaction within an experiential learning site. There will be three opportunities during the semester to visit a particular place in Southern California. You will be required to take part in one of these experiences and write a reflection on how what you observed related to class reading and discussion. Although you are strongly urged to take part in all of the experiences, you will only be required to attend and write an analysis on one of these.

Position papers (25 points)

Periodically during the semester, you will be asked to write a position paper on a case study presented in class. The papers will ask you to apply the theories and concepts in the readings to the case presented. In addition, you will be asked to cultivate your own voice by rendering an informed and supported opinion on courses of action.

Case study final project (25 points)

You will write a 15-20 page case study on a current issue in a local community. The report should include: 1) a statement of the problem you are examining and 2) the goal for your paper, a discussion of the trends in the social issue, 3) an examination of the reasons explaining these trends, 4) a consideration of the values expressed by people affected by the issue along with their mobilization strategies/lack of mobilization, and 5) an examination of the alternative solutions to the issue.

You will present your work during Week 14 of class via a power point presentation that will contain at least five slides (one slide for each section of the paper). This final paper and the presentation will be worth a combined 25 points (20 points from the paper and 5 points from the presentation).

Exams (30 points)

We will complete our consideration of community development dynamics with two in-class exams in which you will be asked to apply the theories and concepts learned to current issues related to community development and interfaith dialogue. At the end of our final section of the course, we will do a second in-class exam that will have the same objectives. Each essay exam will be worth 15 points.

Class Assignments

Week One

  • Friday: Orum, “The Centrality of Place”

Week Two

  • Monday: Visual Analysis #1 Due
  • Wednesday: Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations”
  • Friday: Ahmad, “Islam, Modernity, Violence, and Everyday Life”

Week Three

  • Monday: Smith, “Beyond Mydral, Tocqueville and Hartz”
  • Wednesday: Shuck, “In Diversity we (Sorta) Trust”
  • Friday: Eck, “From Diversity to Pluralism” and Position paper #1 due

Week Four

  • Monday: Patel, excerpts from Sacred Ground
  • Wednesday: Taleb, “Antifragile”
  • Friday: Readings from Taylor and Visual analysis #2 due

Week Five

  • Monday: Hammond, excerpts from With Liberty for All
  • Wednesday: Kymlica, “Multicultural Citizenship”
  • Friday: Hamtramck reading in Religion Out Loud and Position paper #2 due

Week Six

  • Monday: Catch up & review
  • Wednesday: Midterm Exam
  • Friday: Dacey, “Why Belief Belongs in Public Life”

Week Seven

  • Monday: Anderson, excerpts from Imagined Communities
  • Wednesday: Session with staff members from Interfaith Youth Core
  • Friday: Fall Holiday

Week Eight

  • Monday: Jacobs, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”
  • Wednesday: Oldernburg, “The Great Good Place”
  • Friday: McKinney, “Design Desperately Needs Social Justice” and Position paper #3 due

Week Nine

  • Monday: Weiss, “The Rise of Community Builders: The American Real Estate Industry and Urban Land Planning”
  • Wednesday: Stout, “Blessed are the Organized” and Alinsky, “Rules for Radicals”
  • Friday: Los Angeles/CLUE and Davis, “City of Quartz” Excerpt

Week Ten

  • Monday: Harvey, “The Right to the City”
  • Wednesday: Sassen, “Mortgage Capital and Its Particularities”
  • Friday: Rankine, “The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning” and Position paper #4 due

Week Eleven

  • Monday: Krippner, “The Financialization of the American Economy”
  • Wednesday: Imbroscio, “Beyond Mobility: The Limits of Liberal Urban Policy”
  • Friday: Asset-Based Community Development

Week Twelve

  • Monday: Blyth, “Austerity”
  • Wednesday: Coates, “Letter to my Son”
  • Friday: Ferguson/Occupy Wall Street and Position Paper #5 due

Week Thirteen

  • Monday: Occupy Wall Street
  • Wednesday: Break – No Class
  • Friday: Break – No Class

Week Fourteen

  • Monday: Student Presentations - Case Studies
  • Wednesday: Student Presentations - Case Studies
  • Friday: Student Presentations - Case Studies

Week Fifteen

  • Monday: Fields, “Contesting the Financialization of Urban Space”
  • Wednesday: Getting to the common good – Readings TBD
  • Friday: Getting to the common good – Readings TBD

Week Sixteen

  • Monday: Final Exam

 


 

Religious Diversity in Theory and Practice
Loyola University Chicago

Interfaith/Interreligious Studies 300
Instructor: Dr. Devorah Schoenfeld, Professor of Theology
Email: dschoenfeld@luc.edu

Course Description

Course Description This course provides an introduction to the field of interreligious and interfaith studies by way of its main components: interreligious literacy, religious pluralism, models of interreligious relations, and interreligious conflict resolution. It is intended to equip students to work in a multireligious setting. Students will learn about the ways in which religious diversity impacts daily life, about models for religiously diverse environments, and about tools for interreligious conflict resolution. The final project will use the case study method to apply what was learned to a specific situation where problems or tensions have arisen in a multireligious setting.

Course Learning Goals

  • Be prepared to work in religiously diverse environments
  • Understand challenges that might arise and responses to them
  • Understand religious diversity in America and its practical implications
  • Understand basic methodologies and concepts in the study of interreligious relations

Beyond these practical outcomes, learning a new religion can be like learning a new language: on the one hand it opens your mind to new ways of thinking about and encountering the world, on the other hand it opens up the possibility of entering into a different community.

Required Texts and Course Materials

  1. Eboo Patel and Patrice Brodeur, eds, Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action, Rowan & Littlefield, 2006.
  2. Diana Eck, A New Religious America, HarperCollins, 2009.
  3. Stuart M. Matlins and Arthur Magida, How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook, SkyLight Paths, 2010.
  4. David Chidester and Edward T. Linenthal, eds, Sacred Space in America, Indiana University Press, 1995.
  5. Articles and excerpts that are available on course website.

Assessment of Student Learning

  1. A mid-term exam which will cover basic interreligious literacy as presented in the assigned readings: 25%
  2. Reflection papers on four of the assigned readings: 20% 34
  3. Presentation of a case study in interreligious relations based on current events, to be given during the last two weeks of the semester: 20%
  4. A final paper which will draw on class readings and outside research to analyze the student’s case study: 25%
  5. Class participation: 10%

Course Schedule

Week One

  • Imagining Religious Pluralism
  • Reading: Eboo Patel and Patrice Brodeur, eds., Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action, Rowan & Littlefield, 2006

Week Two

  • American Pluralism in Practice
  • Reading: Diana Eck, A New Religious America, HarperCollins, 2009

Week Three

  • Religious Diversity in America: Dietary Practices
  • Reading: Benjamin E. Zeller, et al eds. Religion, Food and Eating in North America, Columbia University Press, 2014

Week Four

  • Religious Diversity in America: Dress Codes and Displays of Faith
  • Reading: Darnell Cole and Shafiqa Ahmadi, “Perspectives and Experiences of Muslim Women Who Veil on College Campuses,” Journal of College Student Development, January/February 2003, vol. 44 no. 1, p. 47-65
  • Reading: Grigo, Jacqueline. “Visibly unlike: religious dress between affiliation and difference.” Journal of Empirical Theology 24, no. 2 (January 1, 2011): 209-224
  • Jarvis, Cynthia A. “Dress code: a client’s request turns into a test of integrity and faith.” Christian Century 130, no. 26 (December 25, 2013): 26-28
  • Wilson, Andrew. 2011. “Boots, indecency, and secular sacred spaces: implicit religious motives underlying an aspect of airline dress codes.” Implicit Religion 14, no. 2: 173-192

Week Five

  • Religious Diversity in America: Holidays
  • Reading: Stuart M. Matlins and Arthur Magida, How to Be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook, SkyLight Paths, 2010

Week Six

  • Religious Diversity in America: Sacred Space and Prayer Practices
  • Reading: David Chidester and Edward T. Linenthal, eds, Sacred Space in America, Indiana University Press, 1995

Week Seven

  • Religious Diversity in America: Ritual and Sacrament
  • Reading: Stephen Prothero, Religious Literacy, (excerpts) HarperCollins, 2009
  • Mid-term exam

Week Eight

  • Theorizing Religious Difference: Anthropological and Sociological Approaches
  • Reading: Douglas Hartman, Daniel Winchester, Penny Edgell and Joseph Gertiss, “How Americans Understand Racial and Religious Differences: A Test of Parallel Items from a National Survey,” The Sociological Quarterly 52 (2011) 323-345
  • Stuart Elliott Guthrie, “Religion: What is It?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1996 35 (4) 412-419

Week Nine

  • Theorizing Religious Difference: Theological Approaches
  • Reading: Francis Clooney, Comparative Theology: Deep Learning Across Religious Borders, WileyBlackwell, 2009 (excerpts)
  • Alan Brill, Judaism and World Religions: Encountering Christianity, Islam, and Eastern Traditions, Palgrave MacMillan, 2012 (excerpts)

Week Ten

  • Thinking about Interreligious Peacemaking
  • Reading: Eboo Patel, Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, Beacon Press, 2012 (excerpts)

Week Eleven

  • Thinking about Interreligious Peacemaking (continued)
  • Reading: Martha Nussbaum, The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age, Harvard University Press, 2012 (excerpts)

Week Twelve

Week Thirteen and Fourteen

  • Student Presentations

 


 

Introduction to Interfaith Studies
Dominican University

Theology 105
Professor: Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, Professor of Theology and Dean of the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences
Email: jcarlson@dom.edu

Course Description

This course investigates a range of theological and philosophical warrants and resources within particular religious traditions, including Catholic Christianity, for engaging constructively with other religious and nonreligious worldviews. It explores efforts to establish common ground while understanding the dynamics of conflict. It studies significant moments in the history of interfaith interchange, with particular attention to developments following the 1893 World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago. Students will analyze and have some direct experience with contemporary interfaith organizations and initiatives, including those that foster theological dialogue, the sharing of religious and spiritual experience, and cooperative action in an effort to promote “a more just and humane world.” This course will satisfy the theology core area requirement and the multicultural core requirement.

Course Learning Goals

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain key dynamics accounting for the increasingly diverse religious landscape of the United States;
  • Explain key beliefs and practices of several different religious traditions found in contemporary America, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism;
  • Analyze key moments in the history of interfaith cooperation in American history;
  • Explain and assess specific perspectives on interfaith leadership;
  • Explain and assess Catholic theological interpretations of religious diversity;
  • Explain and assess some other religions’ theological/philosophical interpretations of religious diversity;
  • Analyze and assess specific perspectives on the theological and philosophical underpinnings of interreligious dialogue;
  • Connect course materials to reports about religious diversity in contemporary news media;
  • Connect course materials to site visits outside of class;
  • Propose ways to create a culture of interfaith understanding and cooperation at Dominican university; and
  • Begin to develop one’s own theology or ethic of interfaith cooperation.

Required Texts and Course Materials

  1. Gustav Niebuhr, Beyond Tolerance: How People Across America Are Building Bridges Between Faiths, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-14-311555-7
  2. Kate McCarthy, Interfaith Encounters in America, 2007, ISBN: 0-8135-4030-5
  3. Catherine Cornille, The im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue, 2008, ISBN: 0- 8245-2464-0
  4. Other readings and materials on this course’s Canvas site, including regular reading of the Religious Diversity Newsfeed from Harvard University’s Pluralism Project
  5. Videos, readings, quizzes, discussions, and other materials on the Canvas site, “Introduction to Interfaith Leadership,” co-produced by the Interfaith Youth Core and Dominican University

Assessment of Student Learning

  1. Quizzes: 20% of the final grade.
  2. Online discussion on course website: 10% of the final grade.
  3. In-class discussion: 10% of the final grade.
  4. Individual assignments (2): Each is worth 20% of the final grade. See Appendices I and II for assignment details.
  5. Group assignment: 20% of the final grade. See Appendix III for assignment details.

Course Schedule

Week One

  • Introductions
  • Syllabus
  • Course website or Canvas site
  • Explore Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, On Common Ground
  • Explore the Interfaith Youth Core website

Week Two: On Common Ground: Religion

Week Three: On Common Ground

Interfaith Leadership

  • Complete Module 1, “Martin Luther King, Jr. as an Interfaith Leader” on the Canvas site
  • Complete all Module 1 readings, watch the Module 1 video, and participate in the Module 1 discussion questions on that site f Quiz on Canvas site

Week Four: Interfaith Leadership

  • Complete Module 2, “Identity of an Interfaith Leader” on the Canvas site. Complete all Module 2 readings, watch the Module 2 video, and participate in the Module 2 discussion questions on that site
  • Complete Module 3, “The Social Landscape of Religious Diversity” on the Canvas site. Complete all Module 3 readings, watch the Module 3 video, and participate in the Module 3 discussion questions on that site
  • Read “Nostra Aetate: Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions
  • Quiz on Canvas site
  • Special event: 7 PM at the Priory Campus Auditorium: Amy-Jill Levine, “The Present and Future of Jewish-Catholic Dialogue” (required)

Week Five: Interfaith Leadership

  • Complete Module 4, “American History and Interfaith Cooperation” on the Canvas site Complete all Module 4 readings, watch the Module 4 video, and participate in the Module 4 discussion questions on that site
  • Complete Module 5, “A Theology or Ethic of Interfaith Cooperation” on the Canvas site. Complete all Module 5 readings, watch the Module 5 video, and participate in the Module 5 discussion questions on that site
  • Quiz on Canvas site

Week Six: 
Interfaith Leadership

  • Complete Module 6, “Appreciative Knowledge and Shared Values” on the Canvas site
  • Complete all Module 6 readings, watch the Module 6 video, and participate in the Module 6 discussion questions on that site

Beyond Tolerance

  • Read Gustav Niebuhr, Beyond Tolerance, pages xv-84
  • Quiz on Canvas site

Week Seven

  • Individual Assignment 1 Due – See Appendix I for assignment details f
  • Site Visit to the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, 10915 Lemont Rd., Lemont, IL. We will depart promptly at 3:30 from the Circle Drive outside the south entrance of Lewis Hall (facing Division Street). Do not go to the classroom. Meet outside and look for the Dominican University vans. Transportation will be provided by Dominican. Read the Temple Visitors Guide in advance

Week Eight: Mid-Semester Vacation

Week Nine: Beyond Tolerance

  • Read Gustav Niebuhr, Beyond Tolerance, pages 85-195
  • Read Katherine Marshall Global Institutions of Religion, Chapter 4, “Interfaith Encounters: Institutions, Approaches, and Questions”
  • Quiz on Canvas site

Week Ten: Interfaith Encounters in America

  • Read Kate McCarthy, Interfaith Encounters in America, pages 1-83
  • Read Karla Suomala, “Complex Religious Identity in the Context of Interfaith Dialogue”
  • Quiz on Canvas site
  • Respond to the Discussion prompt on Canvas site
  • In class: Discussion questions and group assignment brainstorming

Week Eleven: Interfaith Encounters in America

  • Read Kate McCarthy, Interfaith Encounters in America, pages 126-210
  • Explore a few of the online sites described in Chapter 5 of McCarthy’s book
  • Quiz on Canvas site f Respond to the Discussion prompt on Canvas site
  • Review the documents created in class last week: Group Assignment brainstorming, and group assignment getting started

Week Twelve: Interreligious Dialogue

  • Read Catherine Cornille, The im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue, pages 1-94
  • Quiz on Canvas site
  • Review the Group Assignment brainstorming document created in class last week
  • Review the THEO 105 group assignment document

Week Thirteen: Interreligious Dialogue

  • Read Catherine Cornille, The im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue, pages 95-135
  • Quiz on Canvas site
  • Respond to the discussion prompt on Canvas site
  • In class: Discussion questions

Week Fourteen

  • Read Catherine Cornille, The im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue, pages 137-216
  • Quiz on Canvas site
  • In class: Discussion questions

Week Fifteen

  • Individual Assignment 2 Due – See Appendix II for assignment details
  • Site Visit to the Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 875 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL. We will depart promptly at 3:30 from the Circle Drive outside the south entrance of Lewis Hall (facing Division Street). Do not go to the classroom. Meet outside and look for the Dominican University vans. Transportation will be provided by Dominican. Read more about Unity Temple here

Week Sixteen

  • Group Assignment Due, including presentations - See Appendix III for assignment details​


APPENDIX I

Individual Assignment 1
Worth 20% of final grade

This assignment has four steps:

Step 1: Review the readings, videos, online discussions, and quizzes, from our Canvas site, as well as your notes. What has most advanced your own thinking about interfaith matters?

Step 2: Go to the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) website and download the resources for students. Review those resources. Begin to ask yourself: In light of what we’ve been studying in our course so far, which of these resources would be most helpful in creating a culture of interfaith understanding and cooperation at Dominican University?

Step 3: Go to the Dominican University interfaith website and review the materials there, particularly in the “Education” section. Be sure to watch at least one of the videos in the “Events” section. Begin to make some connections in your mind between the materials from our course (Step 1), the resources for students on the IFYC site (Step 2), and the materials found on the Dominican interfaith site (Step 3), with an eye toward creating more of an interfaith culture at Dominican.

Step 4: Write a paper of approximately 5-7 pages, double-spaced with 12-point font and 1-inch margins, in which you draw selectively on key aspects of the materials you’ve considered in Steps 1-3, in order to propose and defend your own thesis about how best to create a culture of interfaith understanding and cooperation at Dominican University, in a way that flows from your own emerging theology or ethic of interfaith cooperation.

Strong papers will exhibit these characteristics:

  1. Express and defend a clear, arguable thesis about how best to create a culture of interfaith understanding and cooperation at Dominican.
  2. Express and support your own emerging theology or ethic of interfaith cooperation.
  3. Demonstrate a solid understanding of a good range of materials considered in our course so far, from our Canvas site, with some explicit attention to at least three different readings and/or videos from those sites, including at least one that involves a key religious text drawn from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism.
    • Give good reasons for your selection of those particular materials.
    • Explain how they advance your thesis, rather than merely summarizing what they say.
  4. Demonstrate familiarity with a good range of materials found on the IFYC website’s student resources section, with some explicit attention to at least two different resources you found there.
    • Give good reasons for your selection of those particular materials.
    • Explain how they advance your thesis, rather than merely summarizing what they say.
  5. Demonstrate familiarity with Dominican’s interfaith website, with some explicit attention to at least two different resources found on that site.
    • Give good reasons for your selection of those materials.
    • Explain how they advance your thesis, rather than merely summarizing what they say.
  6. Overall, your own sophisticated academic voice should be in control throughout this paper.
  7. The paper should be free from errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and mechanics. 

 

APPENDIX II

Individual Assignment 2
Worth 20% of final grade

  1. What are a few of the key theological/philosophical warrants within Roman Catholicism, and within one other religion, for engaging in positive ways with people holding other religious, spiritual, or value-based worldviews? How are these two religions similar, and different, in their approaches to this issue? How do some of their key scriptures, beliefs, practices, etc. provide, for each religion, a rationale for engaging positively with others?
  2. What is central to your own emerging theology, ethic, or reasoned assessment of interfaith dialogue and cooperation? Is knowledge about diverse religious, spiritual, or value-based worldviews and their interactions important for your university studies? For your potential future profession? Is it important in shaping your understanding of significant current and historical events? Why, or why not?

Write a paper of approximately 5-7 pages, double-spaced with 12-point font and 1-inch margins, in which you address these questions. In doing so, you must draw upon what you deem to be key aspects of Cornille’s book, McCarthy’s book, the Pluralism Project website, and at least one of the six IFYC/ Dominican videos from our course’s Canvas site.

Strong papers will exhibit these characteristics:

  1. Clearly explain the warrants within Roman Catholicism for engaging constructively with others, providing clear examples from within Catholicism in terms of key scriptures, beliefs, practices, etc.
  2. Clearly explain the warrants within another religion for engaging constructively with others, providing clear examples from within this religion in terms of key scriptures, beliefs, practices, etc.
  3. Draw clear and insightful comparisons between the two religions under consideration in terms of how they seek to understand/interact positively with others. Explain clearly how they are similar and how they are different—as well as why they are similar and different, in terms of the main tenets of each religion.
  4. Express and support your own emerging theology, ethic, or reasoned assessment of interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
  5. State and defend a position on how knowledge about diverse religious, spiritual, or value-based worldviews and their interactions relates (or does not relate) to your university work, your potential future profession, and your understanding of significant current and historical events.
  6. Demonstrate a solid understanding of a good range of materials considered in our course, with some explicit attention to what you deem to be key aspects of Cornille’s book, McCarthy’s book, the Pluralism Project website, and at least one of the six IFYC/Dominican videos from our course’s Canvas site—in terms of their relevance for this paper.  
    • Give good reasons for your selection of those particular materials, showing how they advance your argument, rather than merely summarizing what they say.
  7. Overall, your own sophisticated academic voice should be in control throughout this paper.
  8. The paper should be free from errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and mechanics.

 

APPENDIX II

Group Assignment
Worth 20% of final grade

Reflect on our Course Learning Goals from our Syllabus. Develop a project in your group that will allow you to accomplish several of these goals. Your group project will result in a presentation to the whole class, 20 minutes in length, followed by 10 minutes of discussion/engagement with the class, facilitated by your group. In addition, you will need to post your project’s supporting materials, including a statement of “who did what” signed by all team members, on our Canvas site by 3:30 p.m. on May 5th. In a group project, each team/group member has a clearly defined role, and the project is stronger due to the combination and coherence of all efforts. Your grade will be based partly on the overall project and partly on your own individual contribution to it.

Strong projects will exhibit these characteristics:

  1. Demonstrates substantive knowledge, including some new research, related to one or more topics introduced in this course. Provides new information and/or a fresh approach to the topic under discussion.
  2. Uses supporting materials in a sophisticated way and cites them properly.
  3. Demonstrates effective teamwork, in which each member of the group contributes in a valuable way to the project, and demonstrates a high level of mutual respect and collaboration among team members.
  4. States thesis/argument/points clearly and uses appropriate examples. Transitions and flow are easy to follow.
  5. Presents material in an original and creative way that holds audience attention.
  6. Team members are poised and have clear articulation. Every team member speaks and participates at a balanced level. Speakers demonstrate good volume, eye contact, enthusiasm, and confidence.
  7. Generates significant, enthusiastic participation from the audience, in the form of questions, comments, or other means of engagement.
  8. Posted materials should be free from errors in sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics.