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Institute for Teaching World Religions
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Join world religion teachers from around North America for three days of study, discussion and inspiration!

 Export to Your Calendar 6/22/2020 to 6/25/2020
When: June 22-25, 2020
Start: Monday, June 22, 4pm; End: Thursday, June 25, 4:00pm
Where: Saint Thomas Choir School
202 West 58th Street
New York, New York  10019
United States

Online registration is available until: 6/15/2020
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CSEE Member Schools & ADVIS Members*

Including Meals and Accommodations:  

Day-Only Attendees (includes lunch):  $700

*ADVIS members: please use the ADVIS promo code at checkout to receive the member rate.


Including Meals and Accommodations:  $1100 

Day-Only Attendees (includes lunch):  $900



Join world religion teachers from around North America for three days of study, discussion and inspiration! 

Knowledge of the world's religious traditions is vitally important for communication and understanding in our current world. CSEE's institute brings together university scholars and world religion teachers for study, discussion, activity sharing and camaraderie. Participants will leave with new knowledge, new ideas for the classroom, helpful resources and enduring contacts. Sessions will also include ways to incorporate the learned material into the classroom setting.



Monday June, 22nd

3pm - Overnight Guests are welcome to check in
4pm-5pm: Arrival and Registration
5pm-6pm: Welcome, Introduction, and Opening Remarks
6pm-7pm: Dinner
7pm-8pm: Course Design and Syllabus Construction Workshop

Tuesday June 23rd

8am - Breakfast
8:30am-9:15am: Teaching about Judaism Workshop
9:15am-12pm: Introduction to A Cultural Studies Approach to Teaching about World Religions with Lauren Kerby, Education Specialist at the Religious Literacy Project (Harvard University)
12pm-1pm: Lunch
1pm-3:30pm: Case Studies and Application of the RLP Method with Lauren Kerby
3:45pm-4:30pm: Teaching about Christianity Workshop

6pm - Dinner out: on your own or in groups.


Wednesday June 24th

8am - Breakfast
8:30am-9:15am: Teaching about Islam Workshop
9:15am-12pm: Reconsidering the World Religions approach to Teaching about Religious Diversity with Henry Goldschmidt, Director of the Interfaith Center of New York
12pm-1pm: Lunch
1:00pm-3:30pm: Best Practices for Site Visits to Houses of Worship
3:45pm-5:00pm: Site Visit

6pm - Dinner out: on your own or in groups.


Thursday June 25th

8am - Breakfast

8:30am-9:15am: Teaching about Hinduism Workshop

9:15am-12pm: Presentation about Teaching Buddhism, Dr. Jonathan Gold

12pm-1pm: Lunch

1pm-3:30pm: Jerusha Rhodes: Interreligious Engagement and Teaching About Islam / Muslims

3:30pm-4pm: Closing Remarks and Evaluations


Key Presentations

Dr. Henry Goldschmidt is a cultural anthropologist, community educator, interfaith organizer, and scholar of religion. He is the Director of Programs at the Interfaith Center of New York, where he develops interfaith dialogue and social action programs for religious and civic leaders, as well as religious diversity education programs for K-12 teachers and students, social workers, attorneys, and others. He is the founding director of the Religious Worlds of New York summer institute, which has trained K-12 teachers to teach about contemporary lived religion since 2012. Henry received his Ph.D. in anth­ropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2000, and taught religious studies and anthropology at Wesleyan University and elsewhere before coming to the Interfaith Center in 2010. He is the author of Race and Religion among the Chosen Peoples of Crown Heights, an ethnography of Black-Jewish difference in a contested Brooklyn neighborhood, as well as other scholarly and popular publications on American religious diversity and K-12 religious studies pedagogy. He is a life-long, fanatic New Yorker, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and child­ren.


From “World Religions” to “Lived Religion”: New Models for Teaching Religious Diversity


Most K-12 curricula for the study of religion are structured by the “world religions” pedagogic model, which introduces students to the essential facts, dates, and doctrines of major religious traditions, but arguably fails to convey the depth or complexity of everyday religious life.  In recent years, however, many scholars of religion have shifted toward a focus on “lived religion,” exploring how doctrines, rituals, and texts may shape -- and be shaped by -- the practical and political concerns of contemporary faith communities.  This seminar will introduce recent scholarship on lived religion, and explore the promise (and potential pitfalls) of K-12 lived religion pedagogies.



Learning from Your Neighbors’ Sacred Spaces: Leading Student Site Visits to Houses of Worship


One effective strategy for teaching about lived religion is through place-based, experiential education -- aka, “field trips” to diverse houses of worship.  This seminar will explore some of the pedagogical, practical, and ethical issues that teachers need to address in leading student site visits to houses of worship.  How, for example, do you build partnerships with local faith communities?  How do you structure student learning during site visits, while preserving the open-ended, inquiry-based pedagogy at the heart of experiential education?  We will raise issues like these in the first part of the seminar, then visit a local house of worship, then reflect together on our experiences there.


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Dr. Jerusha Tanner Rhodes is a Muslima theologian, scholar, and public educator. She is Associate Professor of Islam and Interreligious Engagement and Director of the Islam, Social Justice and Interreligious Engagement Program (ISJIE) at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Her work and writing focus on Islamic feminism, interreligious engagement, religious pluralism, and social justice. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Theological and Religious Studies with a focus on Religious Pluralism from Georgetown University; an M.A. in Islamic Sciences at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences; and a B.A. in Anthropology and Religion from American University. She is author of Never Wholly Other: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism (Oxford University Press, 2014) which re-interprets the Qur’anic discourse on religious ‘otherness’ and diversity. Her most recent book, Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018) explores the possibilities of comparative feminist theology.

Interreligious Engagement and Teaching About Islam/Muslims


This presentation and conversation will introduce some of the basic features of an “Interreligious Engagement” approach to teaching about religious diversity. Building upon this approach, we will then explore best practices for teaching about Islam and Muslims given the contextual realities of the United States.


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Dr. Jonathan Gold, Associate Professor in the Department of Religion and Director of the Program in South Asian Studies at Princeton University, presenting on Buddhism. More information coming soon.

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Lauren R. Kerby is the Education Specialist for the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School and an Instructor in Religious Studies and Education at Harvard Extension School. She leads outreach to educators across the country and collaborates with them to integrate the study of religion into their courses. She earned her PhD in the study of American religion from Boston University.



“The content was incredible... The quality of presenters—and participants—made for an exceptional learning experience. Thank you!” - past participant

“The people are always the most amazing part—the participants and the presenters alike. I feel like I’m coming home to ‘my people’ when I come to this conference.” - two time attendee 


Travel / Accommodations


Laguardia, Newark, and JFK airports serve the area. The school is one block away from the Columbus Circle subway station (A, C, B, D, and 1 trains), and on the same block as the 57th Street-7th Avenue subway station (N, Q, R, and W trains). For a map and more information on getting to Choir School, please visit:


Participants will have single rooms in the St. Thomas Choir School dormitory. 

The Area

St. Thomas Choir School is located in the heart of Manhattan: one block walk to Central Park, ten blocks to Times Square, six blocks to the Museum of Modern Art, and ten blocks to Rockefeller Center. In addition to things within walking distance, the school has convenient subway access to many other parts of the city.


 Please see CSEE's Event Policy to learn more about cancellations and refunds.


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