Faculty News - Dec. 2013
Rosemary Radford Ruether, Carpenter Emerita Professor of Feminist Theology at Pacific School of Religion, and Visiting Professor of Feminist Theology at Claremont School of Theology, recently published a new book titled My Quests for Hope and Meaning: An Autobiography. The book is an intellectual autobiography of how Ruether’s thought and publications have developed, published by Wipf and Stock in October.
Helene Slessarev-Jamir, Mildred M. Hutchinson Professor of Urban Studies at Claremont School of Theology, has been appointed co-chair of the upcoming SCUPE (Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education) Congress on Urban Ministry. The topic of this year’s congress is religious activism. As co-chair, Slessarev-Jamir will be part of the strategy and planning team in preparation of the congress and also give the closing keynote address.
On September 26th, Najeeba Syeed-Miller, Assistant Professor of Interreligious Education and director of the Center for Global Peacebuilding at Claremont School of Theology, gave a lecture titled “Actual Peacemaking” at Arizona State University. In the lecture, Syeed-Miller examines religion as both a resource and a problem of conflict resolution. According to Syeed-Miller, though religion has the unique capacity to positively transform people and move them in the direction of forgiveness and healing, it can also contribute to the escalation of conflict in many contexts. Syeed-Miller also points out that religion cannot be easily separated from other kinds of identities, such as race, neighborhood, community, and nationality. Since religion is always embedded in a complex web of social relationships, she argues, there is always a risk to simply single out religion as the focal point of a conflict. According to Syeed-Miller, singling out religion may prevent peacemakers from recognizing other important dimensions of a conflict. Her lecture challenges peacemakers to think critically about their assumptions about religion.
More recently, on October 9, Syeed-Miller gave a lecture titled “Peacemaking Paradigm for Human Rights” at the Just Peacemaking Initiative conference hosted at Fuller Theological Seminary. In the lecture, Syeed-Miller challenges the conventional assumption that religion is primarily about personal convictions. According to Syeed-Miller, as more NGOs are engaging in peacemaking activities at the local level, it is becoming increasingly important that practitioners understand how religion functions as different forms of ritual and public piety. She argues that taking into account the public and practical elements of religion can help practitioners identify alternative sources of religious authority that might help to de-escalate conflicts. Syeed-Miller urges peacemakers to take communal practices and narratives seriously, because they may reveal hidden aspects of a conflict that might help peacemakers gain a fuller understanding of the situation.
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