Centering Students at the Margins: Critical Interfaith Praxis as Hospitality

Screengrab from the webinar

From the very opening of this webinar, it is clear that each speaker embodies an ethic of interfaith hospitality that could transform space and place in higher education. Facilitator and IFYC staff member Janett Cordoves immediately invited participants from a place of abundant warmth—which she explicitly names is inspired by her Cuban heritage and Catholic upbringing. Speakers JT Snipes and Zandra Wagoner use turns of phrase that likewise capture the very notion of an interfaith praxis that broadens perspectives in higher education. JT speaks of his book Remixed and Reimagined as a “contribution of love,” and Zandra thoughtfully discusses how various critical theories can transform the campus into what she calls a “home place” if thoughtfully integrated into the lives of students. It is clear that this conversation among scholars is of a different sort than we’re accustomed to—and that’s the point.  

If this resonates, check out the video here, find the full transcript below and please take a deeper look into the following resource list, generously and thoughtfully curated by our speakers: 

From the Speakers Themselves  

Chapter 2 in Remixed and Reimagined“Critical Interfaith Praxis in Higher Education” 

Journal of College and Character. “Interfaith Engagement and Student Empowerment Among Latino/a and African American Students” 

JT Snipes’ Interfaith America article on Bodies Out of Place and his podcast Blacktivism in the Academy  

Critical Theory 

Freire, P. (1970) Education for critical consciousness. New York, Continuum Publishing Company. 

Sandoval, C. (2000). Methodology of the oppressed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 

Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples (2nd ed.). London: Zed Books. 

Critical Race Theory: 

McCoy, D. L., & Rodricks, D. J. (2015). Critical race theory in higher education: 20 years of theoretical and research innovations. ASHE Higher Education Report, 41, 1–117. 

Solarzano, D., & Yosso, T. (2001). Critical race and LatCrit Theory and Method: Counter storytelling Chicana and Chicano graduate school experiences. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 14, 471–495. 

Intersectionality 

Collins, P. H., & Bilge, S. (2016). Intersectionality. Malden, MA: Polity. 

Community Cultural Wealth 

Yosso, T. (2005) Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth, Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(1), 69-91. DOI: 10.1080/1361332052000341006 

Mestiza Consciousness 

Anzald.a, G. (1999). Borderlands: La frontera. San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books. Astin, A. W., Astin, H. A., & Lindholm, J. A. (2011). Assessing students’ spiritual and religious qualities. Journal of College Student Development, 52, 39–61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/ Csd.2011.0009 

Elenes, C. A., Gonzalez, F., Delgado Bernal, D. & Villenes, S. (2001) Introduction: Chicana/ Mexicana feminist pedagogies: Consejos respeto, y educación. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 14(5), 595–602. 

Margins 

hooks, b. (1989). Choosing the margins as a radical space for openness. Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media, 36, 15–23. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/44111660 

Black Feminist Thought 

Collins, P. H.. (2008).  Black feminist thought. New York, NY: Routledge. 

Critical Interfaith Studies/Praxis 

Allocco, A. L., Calussen, G. D., & Pennington, B. K. (2018). Constructing interreligious studies: Thinking critically about interfaith studies and the interfaith movement. In E. Patel, J. Howe Peace, & N. Silverman (Eds.), Interfaith-interreligious studies: Defining a new field (pp. 137–146). Boston, MA: Beacon Press. 

del Vecchio, K., & Silverman, N. J. (2018). Learning from the field: Six themes from interfaith/ interreligious studies curricula. In E. Patel, J. Howe Peace, & N. Silverman (Eds.), Interfaith-interreligious studies: Defining a new field (pp. 137–146). Boston, MA: Beacon Press. 

Eichler, H. (2011). Interfaith dialogue, structures of discrimination and call. Retrieved from http://www.stateofformation.org/2011/01/interfaith-dialogue-structures-of-discriminationand- call/ 

Hill Fletcher, J. (2018). The promising practice of antiracist approaches to interfaith studies. In E. Patel, J. Howe Peace, & N. Silverman (Eds.), Interfaith-interreligious studies: Defining a new field (pp. 137–146). Boston, MA: Beacon Press. 

Mikva, R. S. (2018). Six issues complicate interreligious studies and engagement. In E. Patel, J. Howe Peace, & N. Silverman (Eds.), Interfaith-interreligious studies: Defining a new field (pp. 137–146). Boston, MA: Beacon Press. 

Puett, T. (2005). On transforming our world: Critical pedagogy for interfaith education. Cross Currents, 55, 264–273. 

Singer, K. (2019). For interfaith engagement to succeed, White religiosity must seek solidarity with people of color. Journal of College & Character, 20(1), 77-83. 

Tichavakunda, A. A. (2020). Studying black student life on campus: Toward a theory of black placemaking in higher education. Urban Education, https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085920971354 

Goodman, M. K., Geiss, E. M., Patel, E., Love, C. & Kruger, K. (2019). Educating about religious diversity and interfaith engagement: A handbook for student affairs. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. 

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

Thirty-two percent of vaccinated Americans reported in June that a faith-based approach made them more likely to get vaccinated, according to the survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC).   
As the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. echoed Theodore Parker, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Let’s bend it together.
In both my work as an interfaith leader and a dancer, rethinking is all about opening our minds, asking questions, and having conversations.
Some U.S. churches have been reckoning with this activity for years through ceremonies, apologies and archival investigations, while others are just getting started.
A global study of the communication patterns of 1.3 million workers during the global lockdown showed the average workday increased by 8.2% during the pandemic, and the average number of virtual meetings per person expanded by almost 13%.
Across Missouri, hundreds of pastors, priests and other church leaders are reaching out to urge vaccinations in a state under siege from the delta variant. Health experts say the spread is due largely to low vaccination rates — Missouri lags about 10 percentage points behind the national average for people who have initiated shots.
The solution, said Chris Palusky, president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services, is “the loving care of a family, not another orphanage.” He pointed to Scripture passages that say God sets the lonely in families and call on Christians to care for those who have been orphaned.
The following interview features Debra Fraser-Howze, founder and president of Choose Healthy Life, an initiative that fortifies community infrastructure to better address the pandemic in Black communities. The interview was conducted by Shauna Morin for IFYC; it has been edited and condensed for clarity.
The seven monks have been clearing brush from around the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and running a sprinkler system dubbed “Dharma rain,” which helps keep a layer of moister around the buildings.
Over 800 Muslim Americans are expected to attend the family-focused event at the Green Meadows Petting Farm in Ijamsville, Maryland, making it one of the larger such gatherings around the country in the era of COVID-19.
Besides demanding equitable distribution of vaccines, the Interfaith Vigil for Global COVID-19 Vaccine Access called on the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property rights for vaccine manufacturing in order to enable more countries to produce COVID-19 vaccines domestically.
Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is typically marked by communal prayers, large social gatherings, slaughtering of livestock and giving meat to the needy.
Our Lady of La Vang is said to have appeared in a remote rainforest in the late 1700s to a group of Catholics fleeing persecution in Vietnam.
This article is part of a series called Faith in the Field that explores responses to Covid-19—including vaccination efforts—within different faith communities. 
Yet the debate about the vaccine in Tennessee is not solely a debate about science. Rather, I believe the vaccine debate is also a referendum on our public capacity to embrace vulnerability.
The study found that while there are many promising signs that students perceive support for their RSSIs on campus, there is also considerable room for improving welcome, particularly for students whose RSSIs are a minority.
Coronavirus deaths among clergy are not just a Catholic problem, said Andrew Chesnut, chair of Catholic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, with faith leaders across denominations having elevated exposure rates as “spiritual front-line workers” ministering to the sick and dying in hospitals and nursing homes.
Legislation legalizing human composting has encountered religious resistance from the Catholic Church.
From the 26th of November, 2020, a farmers protest has been in existence on the outskirts of Delhi, India’s capital city. For the past eight months, farmers in the tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, have been fighting three laws that threaten the future of agriculture in the country.
Sivan and I feel that it is crucial to work for increased vaccination rates, particularly with more transmissible and potentially more deadly variants emerging across the country and throughout the world.
We made calls to friends, disseminated flyers, engaged in social media marketing, partnered with faith-based communities, and engaged the local health department to encourage members of our community to come to our upcoming clinic and get vaccinated.

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.