From the Ends of the World: Christian Spiritual Practices as Decolonial Defiance of Empire, Colloquium on Preaching and Worship
This course will focus theologically and latinamente on Christian spiritual practices, such as preaching, prayers, songs, sacraments, healing, worship, exorcism and so on, as daily tools and decolonial political resources to defy the empire of death of our time. From Prosperity Gospel to indigenous forms of Christianity, we will seek to understand these practices from those who Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth.”
Environmental Racism and the Struggle for Ecological Justice
This course will investigate the recent calamities related to climate change, particularly how environmental crises impact upon and converge with racial and socio-economic injustices. We will critically engage Catholic, Protestant and multi-faith responses (including Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’) as well as the wisdom of grassroots communities struggling for justice, to understand, articulate, and practice theological visions for just ecologies. The course will pay particular attention to the disproportionate impact of climate change and environmental destruction on poor and vulnerable communities, using recent case studies as examples, such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Hurricanes Irma and María in Puerto Rico. The goal of this course is to formulate ethical responses that both utilize and challenge dominant faith traditions toward full flourishing of the planet.
Decolonizing Latinx Sexuality
Latinx cultural identities and Latin American/Latinx Christian theological interpretations about human sexuality share the heavy burden of coloniality and its shaping of gender and sexuality through sexual violence. This course will examine concepts of decoloniality and how these may influence how we may work on decolonization of our theologies and cultural notions of sexuality. We will explore Latinx decolonial sexualities in texts, film, and other cultural expressions of fluidity, queer, and straight identities and the theological imperatives that have been used in interpreting these expressions.
Healing from Trauma: Cultivating Presence in our Communities and the World
We are living in times of perpetual trauma especially for vulnerable people and communities of color as we are constantly subjected to the horrors of violence that affect us all and the world in which we live. Senseless killings such as they occurred in El Paso, Texas leave us angry, indignant and fearful; witnessing to the oppression and demonization of migrants and refugees is heartbreaking. As trauma has become more rampant and systemic, we need to cultivate new forms of presence that bring healing to ourselves, our communities and the world.
Throughout this course students will explore the dynamics of trauma in perpetuating violence and oppression and will learn to identify spiritual and psychological resources that help us to break away from the endless cycle of violence, and to reclaim at these crucial times, our presence in ways that embody peace rooted in justice.
Faith and Justice: An Intellectual History of U.S. Liberation Theology
Liberation theologies are modes of theological discourse that rethink the meaning and purpose of religious thought and practice by placing attention on distinctive experiences of injustice and inequality encountered by different individuals and social groups. Although the liberation theology movement is now a global one, the United States has been the birthplace of a good number of liberation theologies. This course examines the emergence, development, emphases, and methodologies of four of these, including African American/black theology of liberation, feminist theology of liberation, Latinx theology of liberation, and LGBTQ theology of liberation. Besides offering students a solid introduction to liberation theology, the course also analyzes basic concepts underlying theories of injustice, domination, and oppression.
Latina/o/x Experiences of Race, Religion, and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
The fraught history of the U.S.-Mexican border is informed by historical constructions of race, religion, and ethnicity. Contemporary legal and popular discourse echoes the historical discourses surrounding Latina/o/x communities, those that pre-date American occupation and immigrant communities. Beginning with the Mexican-American War and moving into the contemporary moment, this course will explore how different Latinx religious communities have shaped and been shaped by American law through interdisciplinary methods and frameworks. Students will explore the ways theologically informed praxis creates spaces of resistance, community, and belonging, as well as interrogate the ways Latina/o/x religious practices intersect with U.S. legal structures in the construction of race, ethnicity, and citizenship.
Latina and Mujerista Biblical Hermeneutics as Decolonial Projects
This course explores the central theological and methodological tenets of these two perspectives (Ada María Isasi-Diaz’s Mujerista Theology, and María Pilar Aquino’s Latina Feminist Theology), and those of decolonial thought related to interpretive textual theories, focusing especially on the epistemologies from the Global South. Then, it advances an epistemic platform for developing a Mujerista Biblical Hermeneutics and a Latina Biblical Hermeneutics as decolonial projects that start with the life in lo cotidiano of the Latinx communities.