April 14: Syllabus Workshop with Garry Sparks

Thursday, April 14, 2016, 12:00-1:30pm (Marty Center Library)
Syllabus Workshop with Garry Sparks

In recent years, religion departments have increasingly sought faculty to teach courses on “Global Christianities,” yet there is no clearly established canon or structure for such a course. Instructors have many choices to make and questions to ask in their particular teaching contexts: How should one organize such a course — thematically, regionally, etc? What kinds of material should be included and omitted? What does one hope students will gain from such a course by contrast with other courses on religion at the introductory level, on the one hand, or more advanced topics in the study of Christianity, on the other? What is at stake in the title: Global vs. World? Christianity vs. Christianities?

This workshop, led by Divinity School alum Garry Sparks (PhD, 2011), will consider the practical challenges of teaching classes on Global Christianities (or analogous formulations) in various different institutional settings. Participants will also have the opportunity to workshop draft syllabi of their own. If you would like to have a syllabus (or a segment thereof) workshopped, please email it in advance to contact-global-christianities@lists.uchicago.edu. Otherwise, participants should simply bring a draft course description and a list of potential readings you might use for such a class of your own design.

Garry Sparks, Assistant Professor at George Mason University, received his Ph.D. in Theology from the Divinity School in 2011. His research and teaching interests focus on anthropological (socio-cultural and linguistic) and ethnohistorical understandings of theological production in the Americas, particularly among indigenous peoples. His areas include histories of Christian thought, theories of religion and culture, Native American religions, and religion in Latin America. He specifically attends to the periods of first contact between Iberian mendicant missionaries and indigenous Mesoamericans as well as current religious movements like liberation theologies, “Indian” theology (teología india), Latin American Protestantisms, and the revitalization of indigenous traditionalism (such as Maya Spirituality or kojb’al). Since 1995 he has done human rights work with and conducted fieldwork and language study among the K’iche’ and Kaqchikel Maya of Guatemala.

Co-sponsored by the Craft of Teaching. The workshop counts as an Arts of Teaching Workshop. Lunch will be provided.