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Institute on Teaching the World's Religions
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CSEE's summer institute brings together university scholars and teachers of the world's religious traditions for five days of study, discussion, activity sharing, and camaraderie.

6/25/2017 to 6/30/2017
When: June 25-30, 2017
6pm, Sunday - End Thursday Night (optional departure Friday morning)
Where: Cenacle Retreat Center
513 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, Illinois  60614
United States

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CSEE Member School Faculty: $1095 (includes room and board) or $595 (day-only, includes lunch)

Non-Members: $1495 (includes room and board) or $795 (day-only, includes lunch)

Thanks to a generous donor, scholarships are available for this event. Please inquire at


About this Event

In our current climate and ever-shrinking world, knowledge of the world's religious traditions is vitally important for communication and understanding. CSEE's institute brings together university scholars and world religion teachers from around North America for five days of study, discussion, activity sharing and camaraderie. Participants will leave with new knowledge, new ideas for the classroom, a list of resources and enduring contacts. This year's key presenters will address world religions and ecology, Islam in the West, and Journey of the Universe. Daily sessions will also include ways to incorporate the learned material into the classroom setting.


“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 



Sunday, June 25th
4pm  -  Overnight Guests Welcome to Check-In
6pm  -  Opening Dinner
7pm  -  Participant Introductions, Introduction to the Institute
7:30-8:30pm  -  Brian Blackmore: Teaching World Religions

Monday, June 26th
8:30am - 3:30pm 
John Grim:
- Overview of World Religions and Ecology
- Introduction to Native American Religions and Ecology
- Crow Lifeway: Ritual and Ecology in the Crow Sundance, Reflections on Standing Rock 

Tuesday, June 27th
8:30am - 3:30pm
Mary Evelyn Tucker:
- Chinese Religions and Ecology: Confucianism and Daoism
- Journey of the Universe

Wednesday, June 28th 
8:30am - Noon 
Mary Evelyn Tucker & John Grim:
- Journey of the Universe Conversations

Afternoon free to Explore Chicago

Thursday, June 29th
8:30am - 7:30pm 
Asma Afsaruddin
- Islam and the West

Depart. Cenacle is booked through this night, so overnight guests are invited to depart the morning of Friday, June 30th



Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim have appointments in the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies. They teach in the joint MA program in religion and ecology. Together they direct the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale and have helped to create this new field of study over the past 20 years. They will share an overview of the field as well as their special areas of study. Mary Evelyn will address Confucianism and Daoism and ecology, and John will have sessions on Native American traditions and ecology, as well as a general overview of World Religions and ecology.

Along with Brian Thomas Swimme, Mary Evelyn and John created a multi-media project called Journey of the Universe which includes an Emmy award winning film, a book, and a DVD series of 20 interviews that Mary Evelyn did with leading scientists, educators, and environmentalists, titled Journey Conversations. At the Institute, Mary Evelyn will lead a Tuesday session on Journey of the Universe, and Mary Evelyn and John will give a Wednesday presentation on the Journey Conversations, and reflect on how to use these in the classroom.

For more information on their work, please visit



Asma Afsaruddin, presenting on Islam and the West, is a professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, an adjunct professor in the Department of Religious Studies, and an affiliated professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University. Her research interests include pre-modern and modern Islamic religious and political thought, Islam and religious pluralism, gender roles, and much more. Asma will be presenting at the Institute on Islam and the West.




Overnight guests will stay in the Cenacle Retreat Center rooms. These are single rooms, with shared baths. Meals will be catered by Cenacle, and we've always heard great things about their offerings. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. Rooms come with linens. Cenacle is located a few blocks from beautiful Lincoln Park in Chicago, and there will be open time to enjoy the city.


Travel / Directions

Cenacle Retreat Center is located near Lincoln Park, about 13 miles east of Chicago O'Hare International Airport, and 15 miles North of Chicago Midway International Airport. For directions and transportation options, please visit Cenacle's Directions Site. Parking is limited at the retreat center, so we encourage taking shuttles and public transit.


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




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