Identity and Otherness in Religious Communities (IP-613)
There is a tendency within individuals and societies to organize and collectively define themselves along dimensions of difference and sameness. This course uses the framework of “otherness” and “belonging” to explore how othering becomes structured and embedded within religious communities. In other words, what are the dynamics, processes, and structures that engender marginality and persistent inequality within our own religious communities? We will use an intersectional, interdisciplinary, and dialogical approach to examine essential concepts such as individual and group identity formation, expression, and boundaries; the dual sides of social cohesion and internal conflict; prejudice and power within religious communities; dealing with the emotional and social costs of leading justice-oriented change; and how identity, power, and privilege varies across contexts. In addition to investigating these forces that contribute to othering, we will also identify the interventions that may mitigate some of these forces, turning toward sustainable solutions that address othering through experiential learning such as site visits and MAP project-related ethnographic study.