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Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies integrates a variety of theological and other disciplines in order to explore significant and complex relationships within and between religious communities and their traditions. These fields of study attend closely to the connections and tensions experienced as the religions encounter alternative social, political and cultural resources of meaning and identity. This course focuses on the practical and theoretical possibilities posed by intercultural dialogue, and on the challenges of sustaining communities in which the praxis of peace and reconciliation with others is given concrete embodiment.
A variety of modules is offered each year, drawn from the list below. A module on Research and Methods is compulsory; students select a
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Applicants should normally have an honors degree at second class level or GPA 3.2 or above. Students not meeting these criteria may exceptionally be considered at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
Before starting this course, I worked with various populations as a social worker and completed my Master’s in Social Work at the University of Tennessee. As a social worker, I experienced conflict in communities based on values and religious differences, and I engaged in interfaith work to address social welfare problems. I grew up in rural southern Appalachia where much of the population identified as Evangelical Christians, and these religious affiliations and beliefs felt like defining factors in community relationships in this very economically marginalized region. I came to TCD with a desire to understand how religion defines communities, and in particular how (at the time) religious extremism might be understood as more than a set of confining, authoritarian beliefs. I also was seeking a more theoretical (and theological) context for my social work interests. Through the program and the support of the faculty, I was able to build a more solid foundation of social critical analysis that has structured my research and ongoing social work practice (doctoral and post). I developed stronger writing skills through the essay assignments, sharper analysis skills through class discussions and lectures, and a more nuanced worldview through exposure to speakers, faculty, other students, and extra-curricular activities. I especially benefited from access to Peace Studies modules to supplement my course work and from the supportive relationships with faculty. My success in the doctoral program at Boston University and ongoing research at Ohio University is rooted in the foundation of my work at ISE.
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