GTU Courses for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Peace

The GTU is committed to offering the educational foundation, practical training, connections and opportunities students need to make a meaningful impact on the world. This semester, as we approach the general election, among many course, we highlight these courses that showcase the ways in which our faculty and students are critically engaging with issues of democracy.

This seminar will consider theological and ethical questions connected to social reconciliation: How is the reconciliation of peoples related to themes of justice, liberation, reparation, and forgiveness? How are reconciliation efforts shaped by christology, theological anthropology,and ecclesiology? How does one morally assess genocide, war, racism, incarceration, slavery, human rights violations of migrants, and sexual violence? How have Christians contributed to efforts for common ground dialogue, reconciliation, and restorative justice? What virtues, skills, and theological perspectives might need to be cultivated for future efforts? Seminar. Requirements: regular preparation for participation in seminar discussion; final project. MDiv, MA/MTS, PhD/ThD, STL/STD.

This is a lecture/discussion course designed for advanced first-degree students (MDiv, MA, MTS) as well as for advanced degree program students (STL, STD, PhD). The course aims to address the following question: How does the tradition of Christian reflect on economic justice, ecological justice, and liberation in the context of globalization? This question has taken on new importance in the wake of the global pandemic. We engage this question by studying (1) aspects of the tradition of Catholic social teaching and (2) various liberation theologies in order to address (3) the implications of globalization for how we think about and live our Christian faith, and (4) the implications of faith for how we respond to ethical problems in the context of globalization. Students will be required to complete various weekly asynchronous assignments and write one short paper and one longer paper. Meeting times TBD. 

Student will examine praxis in interdisciplinary rubrics of practical theology and investigate what is theoethical praxis amid the clashes of theology and ideology. Public witness as discipleship raises public engagement questions on interreligious and community collaboration. A seminar format / Moodle discourse / guest speakers to consider how do we lead change? How do worship and public witness align?

This course aims to introduce students to the interconnection between aesthetics, politics and religion, within the broader field of the arts and cultural production. Using interdisciplinary approaches and a vast array of media such as film, music, visual art, video, photography, fashion and dress, and drawing on anthropology, post-colonial and critical theories, we will addresses questions of memory, spirituality, material culture, ritual, representation and minorities. We will begin with questions of what is aesthetics and what is art and questions of beauty, value and judgement. How do artists navigate religious and political issues in their cultural production/art? Living in an era characterized by hyper-consumerism and excessive exposure to mass media, and the disparities between peoples, we especially address questions of inequity and focus on histories “from below, ” including questions of gender, race, class, language, and nation. Finally, we will look at the relations between aesthetics, politics and religion as it helps us think about affective and embodied expressions, identity and belonging. Course is taught by PhD student Reem Kasba with a Newhall Award.

This seminar course explores the religious peacebuilding and modern day approaches to conflict resolution and political peace processes. The course will include the study of theological and ethical teachings of various religious traditions that offer a foundation for promoting human rights, social justice, and peacebuilding. Method of evaluation consists of a final paper (15 pages), weekly moodle posts, and group presentations. The course is intended for MATh/MA Ph/MTS, MDiv Students. PhD and DMin students are welcome but must register for a course upgrade and complete additional research and writing projects. [Fundamental Moral Theology and or one course in historical or systematic philosophy; Auditors with Faculty Permission]

This seminar course explores the paradox of religion as a source of division and conflict, on the one hand, and of peaceful aspirations and compassionate, sacrificial service on the other. Across the globe, we see how religious tensions among various groups have contributed to local, national, and international conflicts. However, it is also true that faith communities have been valuable partners for promoting interreligious understanding and reconciliation among people. Academic research about these traditions and analysis of case studies reveal ways religions promote non-violence and just peace in a number of settings. In this course, we will explore these findings by in-depth study of the theological and ethical teachings of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Indigenous religious traditions that provide a foundation for promoting human rights, social justice, and peacebuilding. The course is appropriate for MA, MTS, and DMin programs. Doctoral students may take the course with additional research and writing. This course is co-taught by PhD student Zulunungsang Lemtur with a Newhall Award, with Dr. Marianne Farina, CSC.

The relationship of religion and civil democracy has been tested as societies have grown increasingly multicultural and multireligious, especially during conditions of scarcity, social inequality, political instability, or extraordinary circumstances such as pandemic or disaster. In this course, participants will explore theoretical and religious foundations of contemporary understandings of democracy, as well as factors that affect religious involvement in civic and political processes, including public policy development, social justice movements, issues of religious accommodation and exclusion. Religious extremism and hate crimes, and the threats they pose to the common social fabric, will be addressed along with strategies of de-escalation, conflict transformation, and conciliatory peace-building for developing common ground across differences. Taught in a seminar format as conditions permit, with opportunities for theoretical or practical research and community praxis, evaluation will focus on engagement with course material, periodic written reflections, and a final paper.