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The Science of Religion: A Defence

Essays by Donald Wiebe

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Donald Wiebe

Donald Wiebe, Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Trinity College, University of Toronto, has spent much of his academic career arguing for a clear demarcation between Theology and Religious Studies. The Science of Religion: A Defence offers a brilliant overview of Professor Wiebe's contributions on methodology in the academic study of religion, of the development of his thinking over time, and of his intellectual commitment to 'a science of religion'.

The work is divided into three parts. The first part identifies pertinent connections between 'religion', 'religious studies', and 'science' and why 'reductionism' in the academic study of religion, when properly applied, can bridge the explanatory gap between the sceptic and the devotee. The second part treats conceptual debates in the academic study of religion, with particular reference to the place of 'belief', 'understanding', and 'meaning' in the modern study of religion. The third part addresses the theological resistance to the scientific study of religion and how that resistance can be overcome. Finally, two new essays are included: a critique on ‘The Preconceptions of a Science of Religion’ by Anthony J. Palma, and an accompanying reply by Donald Wiebe.

The Science of Religion: A Defence is an essential resource for both scholarly and non-scholarly audiences alike, and will be of particular interest to both defenders and critics of a scientific study of religion.
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Fiona Leach

Reclaiming the Women of Britain’s First Mission to Africa is the compelling story of three long-forgotten women, two white and one black, who lived, worked and died on the Church Missionary Society’s first overseas mission at the dawn of the nineteenth century. It was a time of momentous historical events: the birth of Britain’s missionary movement, the creation of its first African colony as a home for freed slaves, and abolition of the slave trade. Casting its long shadow over much of the women’s story was the protracted war with Napoleon.

Taking as its starting point a cache of fifty letters from the three women, the book counters the prevailing narrative that early missionary endeavour was a uniquely European and male affair, and reveals the presence of a surprising number of women, among them several with very forceful personalities. Those who are interested in women’s life history, black history, the history of the slave trade and British evangelism will find this book immensely enjoyable.
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Through the Fire: From Intake to Credential

Teacher Candidates Share Their Experiences through Narrative

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Cleveland Hayes, Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner, Hillary B. Eisworth and Kimberly White-Smith

By applying an auto-ethnographic approach in this volume to share and explore the experiences of prospective teachers as they navigate the preparation and credentialing processes of teacher education, we – as those who have gone before the future educators in this text and those who will come behind them, gain first hand insights from these young women and men about what it means and how to better prepare prospective educators to become a teacher against a backdrop of historical inequities in schooling and prepared for the multi-culturally diverse classrooms of today. Teacher educators, school and community leaders, and others committed to pushing toward more equitable social domains and forms of living and learning hence would do well to take up the opportunity provided in this text to learn from the narratives included in this volume and those of other teacher candidates; indeed, the narratives of teacher candidates herein and elsewhere are, in part, reflections of ourselves as teacher educators and evaluations of our work in teacher education and the professional preparation of those who will carry on our professions after us and for rising generations. What we as teacher educators teach, or think we are teaching, in teacher preparation courses may, or may not, be what prospective teachers are learning about being a teacher and successful teaching and learning for all learners, particularly those students historically underserved.

Each of the prospective educators who share their narratives in this volume are striving to become critical educators capable of promoting equitable educational and social opportunities, outcomes, and experiences for all learners. While their journeys are each distinctive and unique to them personally, the teacher candidates who share their narratives in this volume highlight some of the challenges and opportunities they have encountered in teacher preparation courses to learn about the functioning of social structures that sustain society’s existing hierarchies and develop the skills and knowledge requisite to identify, implement, and assess critical learning strategies aimed at challenging inequities and promoting more inclusive forms of education. Specifically, these future teachers included in this volume are sharing with us, their readers, their attempts at learning to unhook from Whiteness and to disrupt the pernicious and historical school-to-prison pipeline that has long existed in the US between the nation’s prison system and schools serving learners and their families and communities identified as racially not White, economically poor, and otherwise not members of the White, middle-class, primary English speaking, heterosexual, patriarchal mainstream.
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Reel Big Bullies

Teaching to the Problem

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Brian C. Johnson and James E. Vines

Talk with students about bullying in their schools/communities and three themes are likely to emerge: a) there’s nothing anyone can do about it, b) bullying is necessary as it builds character, and c) there needs to be more educational programming in the schools designed to curb bullying behavior.

Contrast those sentiments with the helplessness teachers and administrators feel. Many will tell you that current state and federal guidelines tie their hands until after an incident occurs. In other words, a student must get hurt before the school is able to do anything. Reel Big Bullies is designed for regular anti-bullying campaigns and will not cost struggling districts thousands of dollars to implement as it provides teachers with educational resources to complement regular instruction in classrooms.

Using clips from Hollywood blockbusters like Knocked Up, The Emperor’s New Groove, The Benchwarmers and others, Reel Big Bullies is designed to help students, administrators, teachers and counselors create a safer school environment for all students. It is also intended to help all students understand the terrible toll bullying can take on its targets, and to encourage students to stand up for their classmates who are being bullied.

The book’s framework follows the three themes above and discusses the pertinent legal and policy decisions affecting educational intervention. With the already busy (overwhelmed) teacher in mind, we describe nearly 200 film clips teachers can show in class to promote and spark discussions with students in middle and high schools.
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Kimberly Dark

The Daddies is a love letter to masculinity, a kaleidoscope of its pleasures and horrors. The question “Who’s your Daddy?” started showing up in mainstream cultural references during the 1990s. Those words can be spoken as a question, or a challenge, as a flirtation, a joke, or a threat. It’s all about inflection, intention, and who’s asking. Apparently, we have so much shared cultural meaning about “Daddy” the speakers and listeners can simply intuit meaning and proceed to laugh at the joke, or experience the shame, as appropriate. But who is Daddy in American culture? The Daddies aims to find out more than who – but how the process of knowing Daddy can prompt readers to know themselves and their society. This allegory about patriarchy unfolds as a kinky lesbian Daddy/girl love story. Daddy-ness is situated in all people, after all, and we each share responsibility for creating a fairer world. The Daddies can be used as a springboard for discussion in courses in sociology, gender and women's studies, cultural studies, sexuality studies and communication. As a work of fiction, The Daddies can also be enjoyed by general audiences.
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The Creative University

Contemporary Responses to the Changing Role of the University

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The concept behind the Creative University is about knowledge cultures, critical creative thinking and innovative learning processes, situating the university as flexible, open and responsive to contemporary educational ideologies. Its vision reflects world-wide interest in students’ engagement with diverse knowledges that challenge and break with habitual actions and thought and elevates creativity as central to the design of new and innovative pedagogies. In The Creative University: Contemporary Responses to the Changing Role of the University, leading authors position the university to inviting exploratory constructions and approaches that respond to past, present and future social and educational tensions and developments. This volume is a provocation for discovery, fostering and critiquing creativity and advancing innovation.
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To consider gender and politics is to ask “Who has the power?” The Politics of Gender attempts to break through power structures by examining the institutional roles each play. This text takes several approaches to understanding the politics of gender, beginning with an introductory chapter focused on the major terms and theoretical approaches connected to political and gender studies.

Topics covered throughout the book include a historical discussion of the feminist movement, an analysis of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, the nomination (and subsequent reactions) of Hillary Clinton, the impact Michelle Obama had for women of color as the first African-American First Lady, as well as the ways lesbian women’s bodies are scrutinized. In addition, this volume addresses the ways gender is litigated by examining the rights of lesbian women in Nigeria, the treatment of trans-gender people while in prison, and the connection between gun laws and intimate partner violence.

Finally, this text provides the reader with suggestions for community involvement, resources for voting, reading, film and Podcast recommendations, all combined with the stories of two women who discuss the change they created in their communities.
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Navigating the Aspirational City

Urban Educational Culture and the Revolutionary Path to Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

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Lorin G. Yochim

The re-emergence of China as a world power promises to be the signal economic, political, cultural, and social development of the 21st century. In the face of its rise, fine grained accounts of the shape and texture of this new China are both timely and necessary.

Navigating the Aspirational City forwards a theory of contemporary Chinese urban educational culture that focusses on the influence of dominant conceptions of “the good citizen” and the material environment upon parents as they pursue their childrearing projects. The book provides a description of the beliefs and practices of urban Chinese parents as they “educate” their children. These beliefs and practices are placed in relation to a historical chain of ideas about how to best educate children, as well as within the urban context in which they are produced and reproduced, renovated, and transformed.

Beginning with a history of revolutionary “orders of worth” culminating in the “aspirational cité,” the book details the shifting standards that define the “human capital” conditions of possibility of a developed modern economy. It goes on to describe a set of policies and practices known as san nian da bianyang by which the whole of one particular city, Shijiazhuang, has been demolished, re-built, and re-ordered. Contemporary China is, the author contends, no less revolutionary than Mao’s, noting that parents’ beliefs and practices articulate with the present ideational and material context to produce what appears, at times, to be radical transformation and, at others, remarkable stability.
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Knowledge and Decolonial Politics: A Critical Reader offers the perspectives of educators and learners within current developmental settings, highlighting the systemic barriers faced whilst trying to implement decolonial pedagogies and practices. In the hope to challenge the dominance of Western Eurocentric thought in education and international development, the authors of this book offer counter narratives to promote the use of embodied cultural knowledges and histories, along with Indigenous perspectives, in order to subvert Western knowledge systems which are inherently colonial in nature. Changing education as we know it today requires creating spaces in which multiple knowledges can co-exist and benefit from one another. These spaces will ensure the continuity of decolonial practices and shape the intellectual politics of future generations.

Contributors are: Olivia Aiello, Nana Bediako-Amoah, Shirleen Datt, George J. Sefa Dei, Chisani Doyle-Wood, Candice Griffith, Mandeep Jajj, Wambui Karanja and Lwanga G. Musisi.
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The Drama of Reality Television

Lives of Youth in Liquid Modern Times

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Danielle T. Ligocki

In The Drama of Reality Television: Lives of Youth in Liquid Modern Times, the author offers a glimpse into the lives, viewing habits, and opinions of today’s Generation Z. While reality television is quite often viewed as just a guilty pleasure, the conversations that the author had with young people show that reality television is a major pedagogical force in the lives of young viewers.

This is compounded by our current liquid modern time period; a time in which everything is fluid, there are no solid bonds and people are disposable. The author shares the incredible conversations that she had with seven honest, insightful pre-teenagers to give us a deeper understanding of the ways in which just a ‘guilty pleasure’ is working to deeply impact the lives of young people.