My graduate alma mater, Union Theological Seminary in NYC, is hosting a class with lectures open to the public. I am unsure as to how the class itself is structured, but Gary Dorrien, Serene Jones, and Cornel West seem to be the instructors, with a few visiting lecturers. Some of the details of the class are below. If I were still in NYC, I would plan on closely following the course as much as I could: I took six courses from Dorrien in two years, Jones I heard speak a few times, and the work of West should be well known. I’m annoyed I’m missing it. I wonder if I left too early….
Christianity and the U.S. Crisis:
Gary Dorrien, Serene Jones, Cornel West
Wednesdays, February 11 – May 6, 2009
5:00-7:00 p.m., Union Theological Seminary
As the world waits anxiously for news of the market’s every fluctuation, as artistic programs feel the purse strings of their funding begin to pull tight, as we watch global violence escalate in conflicts where religion seems to play a key role, as new poverty for some means an exponential increase in suffering for those who have always been on the underside of global prosperity, and as a new generation in North America begins to navigate waters swelling with the waves of new technology and greater human diversity – we feel ourselves caught in the web of a crisis whose origin is murky and whose voracious grasp covers all aspects of our common life.
This course will attempt to describe the various edges and contours of the deepening U.S. crisis and to chart various Christian responses to it. In particular the course will ask:
* How could the resources of the U.S. progressive Christian tradition enable Christian responses to the current crisis?
* How can Christians think theologically about markets, globalization, and social justice?
* How do structural forces of oppression – sexism, racism, homophobia, classism – undergird the crisis we are facing and what constitutes Christian social witness in the face of these structural forces?
* What role do new media and new technologies play in crafting our sense of the common good and how can we understand these technologies theologically?
* Can we think systematically and theologically about a crisis with so many overlapping layers – economic, ecological, social, moral – and what core beliefs would Christians draw on to do so?
The course will be offered to Master’s and Ph.D. students at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. In addition, all lectures will be open to the public. All lectures will be held at Union Theological Seminary, unless otherwise noted on the syllabus.