Black Theology & Religious Experience
|Field of Study||Theology|
|Location||Common Room West|
Course Description Masters Level
McCormick Theological Seminary
Course Number and Title: T 418 - Black Theology and Religious Experience
Faculty: Bernard Chris Dorsey
Term: Fall 2010
This course examines the form, content and history of Black Theology and the varieties of religious experience within the African-American community. While dealing primarily with African-American Christian thought, it also briefly engages Islam and African Religions.
As theology course, it is designed to engage students in an analytical exploration of how African-American religious thought both raises and attempts to answer questions of ultimate meaning and value for people of faith. We will explore particular questions such as: What are Black theology and Womanist theologies? To what extent is African-American Religious experience shaped by historical events? How do race, class, and gender factor into the religious experiences of African-Americans.
- To understand the characteristics and methodology of Black Theology and Womanist Theology
- To critically engage a variety of sources related to African-American religious experience past and present
- To become more acutely aware of the historical events that have shaped Black Theology and African-American religious experience
- To understand some of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by contemporary African-American religious communities.
Masters Program Learning Outcomes
The learning outcomes established for each degree program are below. The ones that are underlined are those addressed by the course above. Because a course may be taken by students in any masters degree program, outcomes in more than one degree program may be addressed by this course.
M.Div. Learning Outcomes
- Lead communities of faith with integrity, imagination and compassion.
- Perform the skills related to nurturing the life of faith (for self and others) including preaching, teaching, care-giving, leading public worship and public ministries.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the Bible and Christian traditions and the ability to interpret texts and practices.
- Work and worship with people from diverse backgrounds (racial, ethnic, religious) informed by knowledge from cross-cultural and anti-racist perspectives.
- Analyze social locations and cultural contexts in order to develop contextual forms of Christian ministry.
- Be proficient in the theological and ethical reflection related to situations and decisions in local, national and global contexts.
- Practice appropriate habits of spiritual formation and self-care and possess a growing, healthy sense of vocational identity.
MTS Learning Outcomes
- Exhibit the ability to interpret and teach Christian traditions, texts, and practices that nurture the life of faith and scholarship in themselves and the communities they serve.
- Articulate a point of view effectively and coherently in spoken and written communication.
- Engage in theological research and analysis based upon an argument and construct a theological essay or thesis article.
MA in Discipleship Development Learning Outcomes
- Teach basic concepts of Christian belief, traditions and practices.
- Equip others to engage in a variety of spiritual practices (such as prayer, hospitality, or worship).
- Plan and lead programs of Christian formation in a variety of settings.
- Analyze and evaluate resources and practices for Christian formation.
MA in Urban Ministry Learning Outcomes
- Examine and analyze urban contexts using Chicago as a laboratory / case study.
- Draw on biblical and theological resources to reflect ethically on issues of church and society.
- Demonstrate capacity to engage in cross-cultural ministries.
- Evaluate skills and strategies to organize communities and access political power in urban settings.
Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk, Penguin Classics. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1989.
Cannon, Katie G., Katie’s Cannon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community
Cone, James H. God of the Oppressed. New York, NY: Seabury Press, 1975.
X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. 1st Ballantine Books trade ed. New York: One World/Ballantine Books, 1992
Hopkins, Dwight N. Introducing Black Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1999.
Sernett, Milton C. African American Religious History: A Documentary Witness. 2nd ed, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999
Walton, Jonathon, Watch This!: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2009
Approximate amount of work per week students can expect (reading, writing, etc.)
100 – 150 Pages of reading per week
Writing will vary from week to week. Total number of written pages for course: 15 - 20
Course Assignments and Projects
1. Attendance and Participation in Class 10%
2. One (1) Reflection Paper 15%
3. In-class Mid-term Exam 25%
4. Class Presentation 15%
5. Final Paper 35%