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Liberation Theology as a Lens of Civic Engagement

Awarded Grant
Irvine, Andrew
Maryville College
Undergraduate School
Topics: Diversity and Social Justice   |   Teaching a Specific Subject   |   Innovative Teaching and Best Practices   |   Designing Courses

Proposal abstract :
The central question of the proposed project is, how can students cultivate and demonstrate enhanced awareness of the possible influence of social location on what they and others believe? The main goals of the project are: (1) to propose answers to that question at the theoretical level, by gathering a small group of colleagues aiming to acquaint ourselves with some key literature on pedagogies of community engagement; (2) to develop pedagogical resources for a semester-long course that will test our answers and, hopefully, succeed in fact in enabling students to enhance their awareness of interactions between social location and religious belief.

Learning Abstract :
How might students coming from a diverse range of social locations be spurred to understand themselves as constituted in part by communities of particular privilege and/or privation? And how might those communal ties constitute resources for and/or resistances to learning something new together, creating new learning community? This project took the preparation of an undergraduate introduction to liberation theology as an occasion to study scholarship of teaching and learning in the area of civic/community engagement, and to develop tools and tactics for the class that would implement and test the "CLEA" model for teaching engagement, proposed in Clingerman and Locklin (eds.), Teaching Civic Engagement. The initial intention to focus especially on students' awareness of their social location(s) and its influence on their knowledge proved hard to sustain. However, the project eventuated in renewed appreciation of "complexity of thinking" as a basic capability to nurture for and through potentially liberative engagement.
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