Explore the Religious Worlds of New York, and the Religious Lives of Your Diverse Neighbors
The religious landscape of the United States has shifted dramatically in recent years, with the arrival of new Americans from every corner of the globe and every faith tradition. If America's K-12 students are to become truly educated, engaged citizens of their multicultural democracy, they need to understand its vibrant religious diversity. The Religious Worlds of New York summer institute contributes to such understanding by helping public, private, and parochial school teachers teach more effectively about the everyday lives of American religious communities.
The Religious Worlds institute is a project of the Interfaith Center of New York and Union Theological Seminary, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In July of 2014, the institute will bring twenty-five teachers from throughout the United States to New York City, where they will work with leading scholars of religion, meet with diverse religious leaders, visit local houses of worship, conduct field research in a religiously diverse neighborhood, and develop their own religious diversity curriculum projects. This combination of classroom and community-based education will introduce teachers to American religious diversity, help them distinguish between academic and devotional approaches to the study of religion, and give them the pedagogic tools they need to teach about contemporary lived religion.
We hope you'll apply to join us in July of 2014. Applications must be postmarked by March 4th. Don't miss this unique opportunity to explore the religious worlds of New York, and enrich your teaching on religious diversity!
This website will tell you all about the 2014 summer institute, including a selection from the overwhelmingly positive participant evaluations of the 2012 summer institute. And in case you can't join us in New York this summer, the website also offers a wide range of resources for classroom teaching on American religious diversity.
Beyond our work with individual teachers, the Religious Worlds institute is committed to building a more inclusive society for all Americans. America's K-12 schools can play a vital role in fostering interfaith understanding, but unfortunately too many teachers are unprepared to teach effectively, appropriately, and constitutionally about contemporary religious diversity. As a result, too many students learn little more than the basic facts, dates, and doctrines of major religious traditions. This superficial form of religious literacy does not prepare our students to participate in the civic life of a pluralistic society. Our students need to learn the doctrines of major world religions, but much more than that they need to learn about the religious lives of their diverse neighbors. They need an academically grounded engagement with the social realities of contemporary religious communities. They need to know how their experiences of American society may be radically different -- and not so different at all -- from the experiences of their peers living in different religious worlds.
The Religious Worlds of New York summer institute will help teachers introduce their students to the everyday life of American religious diversity. The teachers we work with will thus transform the study of religion in American schools, and empower a new generation of Americans to bridge the divides between their religious worlds.