Teaching on Religion and Violence

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Charles Bellinger


I have many times now taught a course entitled “Religion and Violence” at Brite Divinity School and Texas Christian University. The Brite course is in-class; the TCU course is online with Master of Liberal Arts students. I will describe the difference between the two formats and also provide sample syllabi. The course has traditionally focused on the “why” question--“Why are human beings violent?”--rather than on ethical debates about pacifism vs. just war. Feedback from the online students often asked for another course focusing on peacemaking, now that the psychology of violence has become better understood. I therefore developed a new course called “Peacemaking in a Violent World,” which will also be described. I will make the argument that our culture as a whole would benefit from greater curricular attention to the psychology of violence, at all levels of education. I will also provide attendees with a bibliography for collection development in this area.

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