LITERATURE, THEOLOGY AND THE RELIGIOUS - A Study of James Baldwin
Much has been written concerning the influence of religion on African American letters. A cursory glance shows how sermons, spirituals, conversion narratives, and prayers fill the pages in African American literature, giving an ample amount of material for religious thinkers to sort through. However, what has gone missing is rigorous research that shows how these writers were not only influenced by religious experiences but were also constructive and critical theologians in their own right. Therefore, this particular course aims to evaluate James Baldwin’s work as a constructive theologian who, homiletically, declared what thus saith the lord to the United States. This course will study Baldwin’s work—essays, novels, and plays—and ask what theological categories is he reimagining? We will ask questions of pneumatology, ecclesiology, theodicy, soteriology, and eschatology. We will examine the modernist tension between faith and reason, religion, and gender/sexuality.
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Ethnic Studies, engages with critical race theory, systemic racism, and the experiences of various communities in the United States. Using a comparative and historical perspective, students will examine how race and ethnicity intersect with gender, sexuality, class, citizenship, and nation. This class will consider how systems of power and inequality are constructed, reinforced, and challenged. Additionally, we will explore the social and political impacts of these systems in the 21st century. Emphasis will be on African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Chicanos/Latinos, and Native Americans, but other communities and identities are also discussed.
This is a social problems course that critically examines issues of power, difference and inequality, utilizing comparative, historical, global, and other critical perspectives. In an age of widening social polarization, the intersections of power, structure and agency are at the heart of sociological inquiry. Topics covered include stratification, social change, and struggles for peace and justice as they relate to issues of class, race, gender, sexuality and citizenship. The course will consider these issues in local, regional and global contexts, with an orientation towards social justice.