Academic Programs 
      

American Pluralism    (RS-670)
Fall 2006

Participants will: (1) examine the social and cultural differences among a variety of categorizations of American diversity including race, ethnicity, religion, social class, gender and ideology; (2) engage both historic and contemporary debates about the implications of such diversity for the creation and sustainability of America’s national character and vitality; and (3) explore a variety of contemporary approaches to dealing with diversity, e.g., interfaith dialogue, multiculturalism in the workplace and public school racial integration.  

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m., beginning September 14


David Roozen
Professor of Religion and Society


Contact Information:

phone: 
(860) 509-9546
email: roozen@hartsem.edu

 

 

Course Syllabus

 

Course Goals: The demographic reality of increasing diversity in the United States serves as the course’s point of entry and raison d'être. Against this backdrop, participants will:

1. Probe the social and cultural differences among a variety of categorizations of American diversity including race, ethnicity, religion, social class, gender and ideology;
2. Engage both historic and contemporary debates about the implications of such diversity for the creation and sustainability of America's national character and vitality;
3. Explore a variety of contemporary approaches to dealing with diversity, e.g., interfaith dialogue, multiculturalism in the workplace and public school racial integration; and
4. Given the 2006 mid-term elections, reflect on politics as a basic social process that presumes the necessity of “negotiating” differences.

Expectations:

  • Sharing openly and respectfully.
  • Empathetic listening to one another.
  • What is said in the group stays in the group!
  • Timely and regular attendance. If an emergency comes up, call me or the main seminary number (860/509-9500) and leave word.
  • Keeping up with the assigned reading and written reflection.
  • Active participation in class discussions and exercises.
  • Auditors are welcome. They will be held to the same expectations as credit students, except auditors are not required to do the written reflections.

Course Grade: M.A. students will receive a letter grade. D.Min students are graded High Pass/Pass/Low Pass Fail. Course grade is based on: 2 class participation and 2 written reflections.

Written Reflections: Rather than a major course paper, each student will keep a "log" of reflections on the reading assignments, one section for the readings for each class session. Each log section should include:

  • Session date and reading assignment.
  • Major points:
    • Which confirmed/reinforced your pre-existing perceptions/perspectives.
    • Which challenged/contradicted your pre-existing perceptions/perspectives.
    • Entirely new insights and perspectives.
    • Personal reactions to the readings: questions, affirmations, feelings and connections to your life.

Four to five, typed pages per section (that is, per a class session's assigned reading) is sufficient. The major point material can be in bullet paragraph form. Personal reactions should be in narrative form. Please keep your typed, log sections in a three ring binder.


September 14 Pluralism, Diversity (Plurality) And Me
Class Exercises: Who Am I
Inventorying Your Life Experience With Difference
September 21 Skills and Tools
Class Exercise: Bring a copy of a recent paper you wrote
Reading: Guidelines for Inclusive Use of the English Language
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, pp 1-142 & 187-258
Catholic Common Ground Initiative. “Principles of Dialogue.”
Swidler, Leonard. “The Dialogue Decalogue: Ground Rules
for Interreligious, Interideological Dialogue.”
September 28 Shared Experience
Movie: Crash (Note: You should get a head start for Race 1 reading)
October 5 Debrief Crash
October 12 Race 1
Reading: They and We, all
Race Relations: Opposing Viewpoints, pp 12-70 & 199-223
October 19 Race 2
Reading: We Can All Get Along, handouts
October 26 Gender
Reading: Male/Female Roles: Opposing Viewpoints, pp 12-81 & 252-295
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, pp 164-186
Hand in Written Reflection Binder for review
November 2 Diversity in the Workplace and Affirmative Action
Reading: Making Diversity Happen, all
Affirmative Action, all
November 9 Politics & Post Mid-Term Election Debriefing
Reading: “The Political Frame,” all
How Does Religion Influence Politics, all
November 16 Homosexuality
Reading: Gay Marriage
November 30 Religion 1
Reading: U.S. Lifestyles and Mainline Churches, all
Enduring Issues in Religion, handout
December 7 Religion 2
Reading: The Windsor Report
December 14

Multi-Culturalism and Reconciliation
Reading: Cultural Wars: Opposing Viewpoints, pp 13-69 & 156-199
Conflict Mediation Across Cultures, pp 259-287
Hand in Written Reflection Binder

 

If you are ordering your books from somewhere other than the Seminary bookstore, please note that we will use the most recent edition that is in paperback.

Books:

Augsburger, David W. Conflict Mediation Across Cultures. Louisville, Westminster/John Knox, 1992.

Morrison, Ann M., Marian N. Ruderman and Martha Huges-James. Making Diversity Happen: Controversies and Solutions. Greenboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 1993.

Rose, Peter I. They And We: Racial And Ethnic Relations In The United States (6th Edition – 2005 Paper). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sample, Tex. U.S. Lifestyles And Mainline Churches. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1990.

Opposing Viewpoints Series. Greenhaven Press; San Diego, CA

• Male/Female Roles (paperback edition) (July, 2004) ISBN: 0-7377-2241-X
• Culture Wars (paperback edition) Edition 3 Published/Released: June 2003 ISBN: 0-7377-1680-0
• Race Relations (paperback edition) Edition 2 Published/Released: April 2005 ISBN: 0-7377-0519-1

At Issue Series. Greenhaven Press; San Diego, CA

• Affirmative Action (paperback edition) Edition 2 October 2004 ISBN: 0-7377-2002-6
• Gay Marriage (paperback edition) Published/Released: October 2004. ISBN: 0-7377-2377-7
• How Does Religion Influence Politics (paperback edition) Published/Released: January 2006 ISBN: 0-7377-3426-4



Class Handouts:

Catholic Common Ground Initiative. “Principles of Dialogue.”
www.nplc.org/commonground/principlesOf Dialogue(print).htm.

Commission for Communication. “Guidelines for Inclusive use of the English Language.” Chicago: Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1989.

Ford, Clyde W. We Can All Get Along: 50 Steps You Can Take to Help End Racism. New York: Dell Books, 1994. (October 6) --

John Lyden, Enduring Issues in Religion. Greenhaven Press, 1995. Selected pages.

The Lambeth Commission on Communion. The Windsor Report. London: The Anglican Communion Office, 2004.

David A. Roozen “The Political Frame,” Center for Social and Religious Research Working Paper 9508, Hartford Seminary.

Swidler, Leonard. “The Dialogue Decalogue: Ground Rules for Interreligious, Interideological Dialogue.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 20:1, Winter 1983 – Sept 1984 revision.

 

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