2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Religion, Society and Change


Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 quarters

Joli Sandoz academic and creative writing, U.S. literature, research methods in the humanities , Rebecca Chamberlain (F) literature, writing, yoga , Suzanne Simons writing, journalism, sociology
Fields of Study
history, religious studies, sociology and writing
Preparatory for studies or careers in
community advocacy and service, religious studies, sociology, history, education, communication

Religion, Society and Change is appropriate for students of any belief system, whether faith-based or secular. While students who enroll for all three quarters will receive the most depth of learning and experience, anyone is welcome to join the program at the beginning of fall, winter, or spring quarters.

This program centers on historical, cultural, theological, literary, and artistic aspects of religion and spiritual practices. Each quarter will balance intellectual study with hands-on explorations of religious practice and sacred texts. Fall quarter will open with study of origins and development of the three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—from their beginnings through the Medieval era. Visits to local faith communities, guest speakers, and a sacred art retreat in addition to lectures and workshops will deepen our understanding of these religions and their practices. Our work will draw on art, music, contemplative practices, and the literary qualities of sacred texts in addition to the political and socio-economic contexts of religious thinking and religious community development.

We will consider cultural roles of institutional religion, especially U.S. Christianity, during winter quarter by focusing on two very different social justice movements. The Civil Rights Movement of the first half of the 20th century—started and sustained by African Americans, and organized in important ways by and through clergy and faith communities—is a landmark in U.S. religious and political history, and an exemplar of American efforts toward social justice. Our second winter topic, following on Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, will be religious organizing and thinking in relation to climate change, planetary health, and effects on individuals and communities. Here we will examine contemporary religious statements, Biblical texts, and additional materials as we contemplate the part religion currently plays in U.S. political and social affairs and as we reflect on responses to natural disasters (once called "acts of God") and the people most directly touched by them.

Recognition and acknowledgement of human interrelationships and differences, including empathy and compassion, are important aspects of social justice work; program members will undertake faculty-supported service learning in local faith communities. We will also participate in a Tai Ji retreat held on campus. Reading, writing, reflection and collaborative work will be important aspects of instruction and of program energy, as we draw ideas and approaches from history, sociology, journalism and religious studies to inform our work.

Advertised Schedule
Fall: 6-9:30p Mon/Wed plus weekend classes: 5-8p Fri, 10a-5p Sat (Oct. 5-6, 13, 26-27, Nov. 10). Winter: 6-9:30p Mon, 6-8:30p Wed plus weekend classes: 6-9p Fri, 10a-5p Sat (Feb. 1-2); Feb 3 is optional.
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$80 fall quarter for entrance fees and retreats; $10 winter quarter for workshop fees.
Internship Required
Students are expected to complete a minimum of 40 hours of internship/community service in winter.
Offered During
Evening and Weekend

Program Revisions

Date Revision
November 8th, 2012 This offering has been reconfigured to run only in fall and winter quarters. Interested students are encouraged to consider the program "Amazing Grace" for spring quarter.
September 20th, 2012 Changed dates for weekend classes in winter quarter.
July 9th, 2012 Revised description and changed class schedule for all quarters.
May 18th, 2012 Spring schedule updated.
March 14th, 2012 New program added March 5, 2012.