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World Religions Teachers Online Event
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 Export to Your Calendar 10/23/2020
When: Friday, October 23, 2020
12pm-5:15pm Eastern / 9am-2:15 Pacific
Where: Online Event via Zoom
United States

Online registration is available until: 10/23/2020
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In lieu of our annual gathering of World Religion Teachers at AAR, CSEE is hosting a one-day online event with three terrific presenters. Come learn from experts in the field, and share tips and resources with peer world religion teachers from around North America.



Bob Mattingly and Brian Blackmore: Welcome and Introductions - 12:00pm-12:15pm EST


 Maureen Costello: "Going Beyond Religious Literacy: Teaching World Religions with a Social Justice Lens" - 12:15pm-1:45pm EST


 Dr. Dheepa Sundaram: "Towards Inclusive Pedagogy: Hinduism, Caste, and Identity" - 2:00pm-3:30pm EST


 Dr. Shehnaz Haqqani: "An Introduction to Islam with a Focus on Gender and Sexuality" - 3:45pm-5:15pm EST





Going Beyond Religious Literacy: Teaching World Religions with a Social Justice Lens

We teach world religions, but why? For some, it’s to foster religious literacy and engender respect for diversity. Beyond that, however, we can see how religious identity affects one’s experience of the world, and how one chooses to act in the world. Using the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards, and the four domains of Identity, Diversity, Justice and Action, we’ll explore new ways to approach the study of world religions that go beyond comparing beliefs and practices. The workshop will introduce participants to the Social Justice Standards and demonstrate ways to develop learning goals that align to both religious literacy and the social justice standards.


Maureen Costello is an independent consultant who previously led the Teaching Tolerance project at the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as the Newsweek Education Program.  For nearly two decades before that, she taught U.S. History at Notre Dame Academy High School on Staten Island, whose mission is to advance, embody and excel at liberating education for young women.  She earned her MA in American History from New York University, has contributed chapters to several books, and been quoted by major news outlets on topics ranging from teaching about American slavery to countering hate in schools.  Her proudest media appearance was an interview conducted by a former student and published in Rolling Stone magazine.






Towards Inclusive Pedagogy: Hinduism, Caste, and Identity

This presentation offers pedagogical strategies for teaching Hinduism through an anti-casteist lens that centers marginalized/minoritized practices, traditions, communities, and beliefs. In particular, we will discuss how to present the diversity of communal identities, theological assumptions, ritual practices, and belief traditions that comprise modern Hindu praxis. In addition to providing pedagogical resources for doing this work effectively, this webinar will also discuss negotiating one's privilege in the classroom, breaking down colonial/imperial assumptions that undergird Hinduism pedagogy within the Western academy, and offer specific activities, textual materials, and alternative resources and methods (e.g. films, blogs, social media, webpages, etc.) for teaching Hinduism within a Western academic context.


Dr. Dheepa Sundaram (she/her/hers) is scholar of performance, ritual, and digital culture at the University of Denver. Her research examines the formation of Hindu virtual religious publics, online platforms, social media, apps, and emerging technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Dr. Sundaram's current monograph project examines how commercial ritual websites fashion a new, digital canon for Hindu religious praxis, effectively "branding" religious identities through a neoliberal "Vedicizing" of virtual spaces. Her most recent article explores how Instagram helps foster virtual, ethnonationalist, social networks within India, highlighting issues of access/accessibility to religious spaces and the viability and visibility of online counter-narratives, especially those from minoritized/marginalized caste, gender, and class communities.




An Introduction to Islam with a Focus on Gender and Sexuality

This talk will offer a brief introduction to Islamic studies as a discipline and then introduce Islam as a living religion with a focus on gender and sexuality. Among the themes that will be touched are Islamic feminism, attitudes towards LGBTQ+ in Islam, and teaching about Islam and gender. 


Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender. Her primary research areas include religious authority, Islamic feminism, and change and tradition in Muslim thought. Shehnaz vlogs and blogs on Islam and gender, and she's a host on the New Books in Islamic Studies podcast, a channel with the New Books Network. 








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