Fred Glennon, Ph.D. (Courses)
COR 100NA-01 FYS: Faith and Justice in an Age of Violence and Terror
Course Description and Objectives: In our post 9/11 world, concerns about violence and terrorism abound, particularly those act perpetrated in the name of religion. Others raise questions about the justice of the response- unjust wars, acts of torture, and the killing of innocent civilians- sometimes done in the name of God and country. Such events lead many to question the reasonableness of religious faith, especially since scientific inquiry and technological advance seem able to answer many of the questions once thought to be the purview of religions, questions such as: What are our origins? How ought we to live? What is our destiny?
In our post 9/11 world, concerns about terrorism and violence abound, particularly those acts perpetrated in the name of religion. Others raise questions about the justice of the response—unjust wars, acts of torture, and the killing of innocent civilians—sometimes done in the name of God and country. Such events lead many to question the reasonableness of religious faith, especially since scientific inquiry and technological advance seem able to answer many of the questions once thought to be the purview of religions, questions such as: What our origins? How ought we to live? What is our destiny? People still search for meaning and worth in their lives, often referred to as a spiritual journey; but for many the quest takes place apart from the religious institutions of their youth. They profess that they can be spiritual without being religious, finding their spirituality in the expansion of human knowledge and achievement.
Are the skeptics right? Has the “end of faith” come for 21st century humanity? Do religions only perpetrate intolerance, injustice, and violence? Or do we agree with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) which claims that religious faith still has an important role to play in the service of a more just and peaceful world? If so, what does it mean for the way(s) we, as individuals and communities, should respond to the violence, injustice, and terror that haunt our world?
This first-year seminar will introduce students to the challenges that the current age of global terror and religious violence present for people of faith and people of no faith. We will explore how faith has been variably understood-its place in human development, the distinction between faith and religious belief, and its embodiment in religious communities. We will also look into why so many people, especially people of your generation, are leaving traditional religion on the premise that they can be spiritual without the shortcomings of religious practices. We will also look at the various meanings associated with the term justice and see how faith traditions are using these concepts to highlight and address the injustices which responses to global terror have generated in our world.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Understand some of the challenges that religious violence and intolerance have created for 21st century believers and non-believers
2. Differentiate between faith and belief, faith and morality, and faith and religion
3. Articulate reasonable understandings of faith and justice
4. Make connections between Jesuit education and the interplay of faith and justice
5. Demonstrate critical reading skills of both primary and secondary sources
6. Demonstrate basic research skills
7. Practice oral expression skills through discussions and presentations
8. Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the College's policy on plagiarism and academic dishonesty.
9. Take an active role in and responsibility for their learning.
Methods of Instruction: The content of the course will be covered by lectures, group discussions and presentations, audio-visual presentations, structured reading and writing assignments, and other media depending upon student interest and involvement.
Texts and Other Readings: The following required texts are available in the bookstore or online:
Terrence Tilley, Faith: What It Is and What It Isn’t (Orbis Books, 2010).
Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education” (pdf on Canvas)
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. This is the common reading for all First-Year seminars.
In addition to the above, I will also place on electronic reserve through Canvas other required readings for the course. Reference is made to them in the course schedule.
Office Hours: My office hours this semester are: Mon. 10:30-11:30am; T/TH 10-11:15am. Come by if you have any questions related to the course. If these times are not convenient and you need me at other times, I can arrange to meet you either in the office or on campus. The best way to set this is up is by sending an email.
Student Responsibilities and Rights: Students have the responsibility for sharing in and contributing to the learning process. This responsibility includes reading assigned material prior to class, participating actively in group process, class presentations and discussions, completing written assignments on time, evaluating and suggesting positive directions for the class, and assessing their learning. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the student has certain rights. These include a right to voice an opinion that is based on a self-chosen value system, a right to dissent or differ from the professor or from others in the class, a right to graded activities returned at a reasonable time, access to the Professor at hours other than class time, and a right to know the grading system.
Evaluation: Student evaluations will be based on successful completion of assigned and self-chosen activities. The assigned activities include participation (20%), report on field trip to Ground Zero in New York City (15%), information literacy and integrity assignments (10%), and four (4) short response papers (40%). The remaining 15% of the student's grade will be based on the successful completion of one (1) of the following options: final exam, critical analysis of a public lecture, a film or play review, or artwork (see Activity Options for discussion of assigned and self-chosen activities).
For College grading policies, including grievance policies for grades, please refer to the College Catalog, pp. 25-27, online.
Canvas: The bulk of the materials for this course will be distributed through the use of Canvas at Le Moyne. To access these materials, just point your Internet browser to http://Canvas.lemoyne.edu/. The course will be listed under COR 100NA-01 FA-14 (Faith and Justice in Age of Violence and Terror). Students who are enrolled in the course already have access to the course and just need to register their password for the course. I will use the email given to you by the school (your Le Moyne account) as the official means to communicate with you.
Tentative Course and Reading Schedule: The daily class schedule can be found in an html document on the Canvas course site under the Syllabus tab (or accessed directly through the link above). Students should consult the file frequently in order to be apprised of any changes in the schedule. All changes made by the instructor in this file will be considered official.
Special Needs: In coordination with the Academic Support Center (ASC), located on the first floor of the Noreen Reale Falcone Library, reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified students should register with Mr. Roger Purdy (purdyRG@lemoyne.edu), Director of Disability Support Services (445-4118 [voice] or 445-4104 [TDD]), for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations. After receiving the appropriate form from the ASC, students should meet with the instructor to review the form and discuss their needs. Students should make every attempt to meet with the instructor during the first week of class so that accommodations can be implemented in a timely manner.
Students with Personal Problems: Students who encounter personal problems of any kind, especially problems that might affect their academic performance, are encouraged to contact the Wellness Center for Health and Counseling. The Center is located in Romero Hall; appointments may be arranged by phone at 445-4195. The Center provides both individual and group counseling on a strictly confidential basis. The professional staff is also available on an emergency basis.
Policy on Academic Honesty: Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating) undermines the trust between instruc11s and students and among students themselves. Such dishonesty is the attempt to fulfill a course requirement by representing as your own the intellectual property (ideas, words, or work) of another person (living or dead; professional writer or student) found in print or electronic sources, even with the person’s permission. Please note that this definition includes paraphrasing another’s work: if you read it somewhere, cite it. As a member of an intellectual and academic community, you are obliged to acknowledge the source of phrases and ideas that are original to someone else. The minimum penalty is failure of the assignment but could lead to failure of the course. In addition, I will report the incident to the Dean of Arts and Sciences who may decide to take further disciplinary action. A second act of academic dishonesty during your career at Le Moyne often results in expulsion from the college (College Catalog, p. 41). You may access information on plagiarism at: http://www.plagiarism.org/. The Son of Citation Machine is an excellent resource for students. This website will format any type of citation into MLA or APA style. You can also use RefWorks if you are on campus to create an account.