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Can Courage Be Taught? Teaching within the Confines of Systemic Hatred: A Book Proposal

Awarded Grant
Westfield, Nancy
Drew Theological School
Theological School
Topics: Diversity and Social Justice

Proposal abstract :
The grant will support the writing of a book proposal and manuscript created from the many blogs I have written for Wabash. Like the blogs, the book will focus on issues of teaching, learning, identity politics, race and racism. Thinking through and creating a cohesive manuscript from my blogs will require fresh editing, rewriting, as well as original writing. Pulling from the ideas in my blogs to create an integrated manuscript will require focused time and a space to do the writing. It also will require the hire of a freelance editor and the conversation of colleagues. I will use the funds to: (a) rent spaces to use as a personal writing retreat during seminary break times, (b) hire a freelance editor, and (c) provide hospitality for colleagues who are willing to provide conversation and feedback (my 2017-18 Peer Cluster Group).

Learning Abstract :
My project was designed to strengthen my writing. Specially, the goal of this project was to write a book proposal which included several sample chapters. The burgeoning book was about issues of racism, oppression and alienation. Fodder for the book was from teaching Introduction to Educational Ministries courses from an anti-racism pedagogy. Equally important to the book were my blogs for Wabash Center. Writing well requires time, solitude, and conversation partners and the grant offered me these things. In conversation with colleagues and friends about the book, I was challenged to pitch the book, rather than to a scholarly audience, to a national audience in need of critical conversation about social hatred and racism in the 21st century. What would it mean to take my own learning from my classroom teaching to teach a wider audience? My editor asked me if I could write as if I was talking to parents about issues of bigotry and oppression. Intrigued by this challenge, I have begun to learn to shift my writing voice and proposal outline. I am now targeting an audience beyond the seminary classroom who has a hunger for conversations which can heal the actions and wounds of racism. My project morphed into a public theology project where ideas of teaching and learning are invaluable.
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