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Teaching Religions, Race, and Whiteness: A Two-Day Interdisciplinary Workshop on Pedagogy and Methods

Religious Studies Workshop
June 22, 2021 - 9:30am to June 23, 2021 - 1:00pm

Although many in the academy have been cognizant of issues around race, whiteness, and religion for some time, the public psychic shift set off by the disdain for the humanity and rights of people of color demonstrated so graphically in the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, and so many others has renewed our commitment to combat racial injustice and interrogate racial privilege in our teaching and, for many, our research.

This workshop is intended to aid faculty members and advanced graduate students who teach about religion in thinking through the pedagogical issues involved in teaching about racial justice and privilege within and with respect to religious practices, ideas, communities, and institutions. It will provide opportunities for sharing resources and methods across disciplines while also engaging interdisciplinary approaches.

Day 1: Pedagogy: Considering justice, race, and our own social locations: issues, challenges, and commitments.

  • 9:30 - 11:00 Session I. Roundtable. Issues in disciplines
    • Presiding: Jeanne Kilde, Religious Studies Program, UMN
    • Presenter: Nida Sajid, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, UMN
    • Presenter: Pat Ahearne-Kroll, Classical and Near Eastern Studies, UMN
    • Presenter: Virajita Singh, Office of Equity and Diversity, College of Design, UMN
    • Presenter: David Chang, History Department, UMN
  • 11:00 - 11:15 Break
  • 11:15 - 1:00 Session II. Conceptual Categories: Racialization in Religious Studies
    • Featured speaker: William David Hart, Religious Studies Department, Macalester College. Title: “Secular Coloniality: The Afterlife of Religious and Racial Tropes.”
    • Racialization, anti-blackness– How our study of religions (and the language we use to do so) is entrenched in racialized categories, assumptions, focuses, etc. (Charles Long)
    • Justice/injustice – e.g. raising awareness of the justice issues embedded in the subjects we teach about. What questions are being raised in different disciplines re: justice, human rights, discrimination, etc. Anti-racism strategies
    • Caste framing as a means of focusing on underlying structural strategies, caste and religions (Wilkerson)

Day 2: Practices, methods, and resources

  • 9:30 - 11: 00 Session III. Sample strategies
    • Presiding: Jeanne Kilde
    • Featured speaker: Anthony Bateza, Religion Department, St. Olaf College.
    • “RELS 121C, Bible in Culture and Community”
    • Featured speaker:  Alex Ghebregzi, American Indian Studies, UMN
    • TBA
  • 11:00 - 11:15 Break
  • 11:15 - 1:00 Session IV. Open discussion of syllabi, strategies, methods and resources
    • Participant sharing of theoretical/conceptual materials across disciplines.
    • Discussion of syllabi, demonstration of individual course exercises, units, student-facing resources
Please contact Jeanne Kilde at with any questions.