#CFP Diversity in the Religion Classroom

#CFP Diversity in the Religion Classroom January 11, 2018

I thought this call for papers was worth sharing for at least two reasons. One is that the topic itself is an important one: diversity in the classroom. Here is an excerpt from the call for papers:

A key principle of global citizenry is recognizing the power of diversity. As educators and learners, we understand that “Students should develop a delicate balance of cultural, national, and global identifications” (Banks, 2004), if they are to succeed as individuals and global citizens. Thus, for the spring 2018 issue of the Atrium, we invite you to share with us your articles and stories on the topic of diversity and global citizenship. Talk to us about diversity related issues you or someone you know may have faced in your classrooms, any successful actions taken to mitigate issues, or any ideas used for making curriculum more diversity focused. For this issue, we also welcome faculty-student partnered essays to be included in a special section, the details of which are given at the end of this CFP.

The other reason for sharing this call for papers is that it begins with the famous “parable of the elephant.” That parable, as usually understood, does provide a nice image of the way that our collective knowledge is more secure than anything that an individual, or a single culture or religion, can offer unilaterally. The relevance of this to education and pedagogy is clear.

But that parable’s origins, as a recent article by Adam Miller in Bulletin for the Study of Religion points out, was in a context that aimed to show how wrong everyone (or everyone else) was, not how right we all are in part, nor how right we can all be together through collaborative effort.

The diversity of prior knowledge (in degree, extent, and accuracy) that students bring to the religion classroom also presents challenges to an instructor. Some of you will remember that I tried many years ago to develop an online interactive textbook to try to address this aspect of student learning. For those who haven’t heard about it (since I haven’t mentioned it here for a very long time), it is still online and you can check it out here:

https://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/Interactive/Bible/

elephant and religions


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