In The Spirit of Justice
“Justice is what love looks like in public.”
What is justice? Why does it matter? Why should it matter?
In an era defined by our confrontation with acts of injustice — from the racially-motived killing of George Floyd and numerous others as a consequence of police brutality, to the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and its effects on vulnerable and marginalized communities, as well as disproportionate access to vaccines — individuals, communities and governments across the globe face a stark and startling reckoning with the legacy of white privilege and the problem of evil. In this course, we will familiarize ourselves with key moments in the intellectual history of thinking about justice, as well as explore its formative legacy in the Christian religious tradition. Thinkers surveyed will include Augustine, Ella Baker, James Baldwin, and others. Through engagement with texts and theories offered by these sages of justice, we will move into a conversation about practice —interrogating ourselves, and reflecting upon our larger social framework, to understand our own agency in (re)shaping the world around us in a manner that is, truly, more just.
- Module 1 – What is Justice?
- Module 2 – Accountability and Trust
- Module 3 – Forgiveness and Redemption
- Module 4 – What Love Looks Like in Public
In Greening Spirituality
This course will explore the varied ways in which the natural world, or the “other than human world,” has been imagined and experienced through embodied practices and creative acts throughout American history. The course will examine indigenous ways of knowing and understanding that situate of the human integrally within the broader planetary community.
- Module 1 — Roots: What is “spirituality”? What is “sacred” beyond the diversity of varied religions and rituals? How and why is it connected to the verdant natural world around us?
- Module 2 — “Turtle Island”: The Beat Poets and American Buddhist Ecocriticism
- Module 3 — Decolonizing the Spiritual
- Module 4 — Ecopraxis: Greening Spirituality on a Warming Planet
In The Lure of Power
The power of place, the power of art, the power of speech – these forces commingled with religion on January 6, 2021 as the nation watched a Capitol Insurrection powered by a gloss of white Christian Nationalism, with signs, banners, and T-shirts promoting related signs and slogans. In this 4-part GTUx series, we explore this volatile mixture. The Capitol is a civic building, but in the aftermath of the insurrection it was described, by people of varied political persuasions, as a 'sacred place' and a 'temple of democracy', often without recourse to its complicated legacy. The rampage revealed the paintings and sculptures in the building, meant to display American exceptionalism, instead as exemplars of America’s troubled history. Ironically, language used by critics to decry the violence borrowed heavily in word and cadence from the justice mottos of the Black Lives Matter efforts of activists and churches. Why does religion seem to be a common denominator?
- Module 1 – Religion at the Surface (Dr. Deena Aranoff)
- Module 2 – 19th Century Works of Art in the U.S. Capitol (Dr. Devin Zuber)
- Module 3 – Political Speech as Hermeneutic (Dr. Valerie Miles-Tribble)
- Module 4 – Art, Religion, and Protest (Dr. Elizabeth Peña)