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Featured Courses


Asian Spiritualities and Global Affairs

GLAF 30605 | ANTH 30605 | ASIA 30605

Instructor: Alex Hsu

MW 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

3 credits

To understand religion, we should go to Asia: Asia boasts the majority of the world's religions and religious people. In this class, we look at what Asian religious traditions are up to today, and how they inform everyday social and political life. How might religious traditions as diverse as Zen Buddhism and Zoroastrianism inform conflict, coexistence, and cooperation? What is it to be human within worldviews that seem to depart from our own with respect to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, dis/ability, and the natural world? How might society, culture, or economy develop in Sunni Muslim, humanistic Buddhist, or atheist Maoist terms? How might we learn to "scale up" spiritual practices such as shamanism, ancestor worship, radical nonviolence, and mindfulness meditation to solve global problems? We read historians, anthropologists, and other scholars of religion to explore Asian spiritual routes and roots, from Iraq to Japan and beyond.

Credit hours contribute to the:

Global Affairs Major — Keough School of Global Affairs

Asian Studies Supplementary Major or Asian Studies Minor — Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies

American Evangelicals and Global Affairs

GLAF 30606 | AMST 30930 | CNST 30251

Instructor: Charles Powell

MW 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.

3 credits

Since the end of the Cold War, American Evangelicals’ political influence has increased significantly. For example, Christian Zionist have continued to contribute meaningfully to American political support for the state of Israel. Additionally, to improve human dignity, Evangelicals have established schools and promoted literacy, built clinics and dispensaries, promoted agricultural development and distributed food aid, created orphanages, and propagated values about the inherent worth of all persons. Twenty-five to thirty percent of the US population is neo-evangelical and another five to ten percent adheres to some form of evangelical theology. That means that 100 million Americans are in one way or another tied to evangelical theology and they seem to pray, think, vote, and lobby as a coalition.

This course will examine the rise of American Evangelicalism and explore matters deemed important to Evangelicals: social and political affairs, global engagement, participation in public affairs, international affairs, support of Israel, political and economic development. More generally, this course offers a compelling account of Evangelicals’ influence on America’s role in the world. Students will learn how to engage more thoughtfully and productively with this influential religious group – a group that has been called political kingmakers! Students will also learn about the largest protestant denomination in the world – Southern Baptists – from the professor, who was a former Southern Baptist Minister and church planter.

Credit Hours Contribute to:

Global Affairs Major — Keough School of Global Affairs

Constitutional Studies Minor— Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government 

American Studies Major Department of American Studies

Christianity, Violence, and Peace

IIPS 20509 | GSC 20642 | THEO 20642

Instructor: Flora Tang

MWF 9:25 am - 10:15 am

3 credits

In Pope Francis' most recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti he writes that there is "a need for peacemakers" who "are prepared to work boldly and creatively to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter" (#225). This course explores the Christian call to be peacemakers from the Sermon on the Mount to nonviolent activism in the 20th and 21st centuries. A central aim of this course is to consider what unique contributions the Christian tradition makes to our understanding of peace and nonviolence. In our own context, where peacebuilding has become an academic and professional enterprise, we will consider what it means to understand nonviolence as a way of life grounded in faith, spirituality, and growth in virtue. The first section of the course will give a very brief overview of how peace, violence, and nonviolence are discussed in current peace studies literature. The second part of the course will cover a biblical understanding of peace in the Hebrew scriptures and New Testament. We will also consider how Fratelli Tutti engages with scripture, specifically the story of the good Samaritan. The third section of the course will give a brief historical overview of approaches to peace and violence from the early Church to the Reformation. Topics that will be covered in this section include: martyrdom, the rise of just war theory, the concept of a "holy war," and the anabaptist commitment to nonviolence during the radical Reformation. The fourth part of the course will cover the development of Church teaching on just war and peace in the 20th and 21st centuries. Attention will be paid to contemporary issues such as nuclear weapons, the death penalty, and whether it is possible to have a just war today. The fifth section focuses on contemporary peacebuilding exemplars. Exemplars and communities that will be considered include: Franz Jaggerstatter, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement, MLK and the Civil Rights Movement, Jean Zaru and the nonviolent activism of Palestinian Christians, Maggy Barankitse's work for peace in Burundi, and Christian Peacemaker Teams. In the final section of the course we will consider how peace intersects with other justice issues. In this regard, this course will focus on how Christian ecological ethics intersects with nonviolence and peacemaking. At the conclusion of this course students will be invited to answer the following question for themselves: In light of what we have studied together as a class, in our own context, what does it mean to follow Pope Francis' call to "work boldly and creatively to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter"? (#225).

Credit Hours Contribute to:

Supplementary Major or Minor - Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies