Teaching Religion in Public

Teaching Religion in Public (TRiP) Reading Group

One of the Being Human project’s four original components, Teaching Religion in Public (TRiP) is a series of collaborative meetings between faculty and graduate students. The aim is to reflect on diverse experiences of teaching religion both within and outside the public university classroom; to create a distinctive sort of public among ourselves; and to reimagine teaching religion in public as a collaborative activity rather than a transmission of expertise.

Each semester explores a different theme, led by a team of faculty and graduate students. Join our email list (thehuman@indiana.edu) to receive the readings and Zoom link.

Upcoming Meetings

Scripture Series

This Scripture series explores the pedagogical stakes of canonization and reverence. How do we teach texts deemed uniquely authoritative without being constrained by questions of authority or power dynamics? What can be learned by shifting attention from specific scriptures to the category itself?

Drawing from Asian as well as Jewish and Christian scriptures, we explore a series of pedagogical case studies in relation to Vincent Wimbush’s arresting questions: What is the work ‘humans’ make ‘scriptures’ do? And what, in turn, does scripturalization do to humans?

We inaugurate the series with a conversation about an introductory text by Wimbush, a scholar of comparative scripturalization. The second session considers pedagogical challenges posed by the story of Cook Ding, in the Zhuangzi. As teachers of sacred texts, how do we religious scholars guide students to appreciate the transformative effects of these texts without leading students to think that we are somehow “converting” or “indoctrinating” them?

The third session complements the second by focusing on an example of scripture explicitly presented as an agent of indoctrination, using selections from a Christian text produced in late Ming China (16th-17th c.). “The Gospel for the Ordinary Reader” is not scripture that invites reflective, prayerful, or meditative reading, but instead a dogmatic summary, designed to identify and curtail deviant readings. What work is this catechism doing? What relationship does it have to the work of scripture?

Speakers for the fourth and possibly fifth sessions are likely to include a teacher of Bible at a Jewish high school, and a Chinese scholar of Confucianism.