Courses available at Catherine of Siena College
We offer two streams of courses - 10 week courses, and 6 week courses. These are taught exclusively online, allowing you to work through course material at your own pace and at times convenient for you. Discussion boards and scheduled live discussion times provide important opportunities for conversation with other students and course tutors. We use a participatory educational model that recognises course tutors and students as co-learners. For the dates of upcoming courses please scroll down. For further information or to apply for a bursary please contact us at email@example.com or see below.
|30 September - 08 November|
|30 September - 06 December|
|11 November- 20 December|
27 January - 06 March
|02 March - 10 April|
|27 April - 03 July||Interreligious Engagement for Justice and Peace (10-Week Course)|
|27 April - 05 June||
Course Creator: Anupama Ranawana
This six week course provides the student with an introduction to Asian theology, with a specific focus on the conversations occurring within Catholic spaces. It reflects on how theology exists and grows in non-Christian and interfaith spaces. It also notes theological interpretations that occur in grassroot, political and feminist spaces, that is, in sites of struggle and contestation. The course employs a variety of open access sources such as scripture, fiction, scholarship and documentary as teaching resources.
Changing Church: Understanding Church Practices
Engaging constructively in order to effect desired change has become an issue of enormous importance for all organizations. Churches - institutions whose purpose is transformation - are no exception. This course will look at various models and approaches to change, uncovering key ideas, underlying assumptions and practical implications, while acknowledging that churches have particular theological and ecclesiological characteristics which may complicate attempts to apply models from other contexts. Students will consider what change might mean in the context of Church, the forces and triggers for change, and how to create the conditions for engagement as well as ways of working with responses to change.. The course will identify different models and approaches which may have relevance. Factors such as organisational culture, organisational structure, patterns of power and politics, and leadership behaviours and their implications for the change process will be considered. Students will have opportunities to consider the impetus and requirement for change within their own contexts and the inhibiting and facilitating factors, and will reflect theologically on both their personal and organisational experience of being involved in change within different contexts. They will consider what styles and skills of leadership will be helpful, assessing their own capabilities and capacities. Using the theological resource of the story of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land and a range of case studies, drawn mainly, but not exclusively, from the Methodist Church, students will be helped to apply different models and approaches.
Gender and Feminisms: Theological Perspectives
Course Creator: Dr Emily Pennington
This module will introduce you to questions, ideas, and debates within the study of gender and feminisms in theology and theory. Since the late 1960s, feminist theologians have developed a substantial body of work that brings critical feminist perspectives to bear on Christian doctrine and theology across a wide range of cultural, historical and political contexts. At the same time, issues of sexual orientation, gender and desire have led to the emergence of queer theologies, informed by the work of gender theorists. This course gives you the opportunity to explore this rapidly expanding and increasingly diverse field of theological reflection and practice, asking how the Christian understanding of the human made in the image of God is influenced by the growing attention given to issues of sexual difference, gender and identity in contemporary culture and academic discourse.
Gender and Social Justice: African Theological Perspectives
Course Creator: Dr Nontando Hadebe
African theologies in general emerged from struggles against the injustices of colonialism in most of Sub-Saharan Africa and apartheid in South Africa. Because these injustices affected entire nations the focus was on national liberation which was assumed would bring liberation for all. The assumption was challenged by women in liberation movements who exposed patriarchy and gender inequality in all structures of society and culture. Similarly, The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians took the struggle for gender equality and social justice into the theological and cultural spheres. The epidemics of HIV and AIDS and violence against women as well as the increase in violence against sexual minorities have once again placed gender at the centre of the struggle for justice for all. This course will introduce students to the rich history, diversity and evolution of African theologies in response to social injustice in general and gender in particular.
Gender and Islam
Course Creator: Dr Zilka Spahic-Siljak
One of the issues today in criticizing and defending Islam is the role of women. Dominant discourse in the West is that Muslim women are oppressed, covered with hijab and without agency to make decisions about their own lives. The course will examine how gender equality is defined, contested and defended in Muslim contexts and how two opposing idealized cosmologies of gender relations, hierarchical and egalitarian, challenge each other in proving and disapproving gender equality. Although the sacred text of the Qur’an - the main source of faith- is immutable, differing interpretations yielded diversities in theoretical and practical application of the core teachings of Islam. Students will learn how changing political and religious ideologies shaped their understanding of gender in Islamic tradition, how the choreography of gender oppression was exercised on one hand, and which methods women have used to overcome barriers in pre-dominant masculine theological and political discourses on the other.
Gender in Church Community Development Practice - An International Case Study Approach
Course Creator: Rev'd Marjorie Lewis
Gender, poverty and injustice continue to affect people across the world, and the church in its local, regional and international bodies recognizes that there is a Christian duty to respond. In this course, we explore church-based approaches to community development. We review the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and evaluate their relevance for local communities. Drawing insights from current human development theories and case studies from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe, we analyse the intersecting systems of poverty and inequality; consider how to collect relevant information and to evaluate it in relation to our own specific local context; assess existing practice; and design new models of sustainable development for local communities. Participants are invited to share their knowledge and experience.
Indian Christianity: encounter, belonging and the dynamics of power
Course Creator: Dr Lynn Thomas
This course will look at the history and experience of Indian Christianity and use this to explore some of the issues surrounding the way we approach religion and religions more broadly. The first part will trace the development of Indian Christianity. It will begin with the stories associated with the coming of Christianity to India and the earliest Indian Christian communities who told them, before moving on to the impact and legacy of Catholic and Protestant missions. In this part of the course, the focus will be on issues to do with belonging and power: In what sense, if at all, is Christianity a ‘Western’ religion? What are the consequences of it being labeled as such, especially for Christian communities in the non-Western world? What was the relationship between Colonial power and Christian mission? Again, how does the perception of that impact on Christian communities in India today?
The second part of the course will turn to the core topics of gender and social justice. The discussion of social justice will introduce the Indian caste system, look at some of the ways in which this has manifested in different Christian communities at different periods, and explore some of the Christian responses to it, including dalit theology. The focus for gender will be Mary, and ways in which her journey to India has changed her. It will look at her encounter and dialogue with Hindu goddesses in the religious life of village India, and explore some of the questions that her role and worship there raises for the boundaries and divisions we habitually put between different religious traditions.
Interreligious engagement for Justice and Peace
Course Creator: Dr Peniel Jesudason Rufus Rajkumar
This course will look at how interreligious dialogue has contributed and can contribute to fostering justice and peace in a multi-religious world. Adopting the premise that the perspectives of the margins are essential for forging justice and peace today, the course will examine the motivation for and methodology of dialogue fromthe perspectives of the often-‘othered’margins and re-imagine dialoguein conversation with Christian scriptures and spiritual/ritualpractices.
Course Creator: Dr Anna Cantelmi
With an estimated 244 million international migrants in the world today, including nearly 20 million refugees, migration is having a significant impact on the life and practices of nations and faith communities across the globe. In this introductory course, we will explore migrant stories (particularly those of women), key types and causes of migration and policy approaches, and analyse pertinent biblical narratives and theological themes. There are also opportunities to discuss ways in which migration is transforming churches, as well as ideas for practical responses and ministry. Sessions will encourage students to make connections with their own contexts and experiences of migration.
Promoting Wellbeing and Health - Church-Based Practices
Course Creator: Rev’d Dr Marjorie Lewis
One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.’ This course adopts a case study approach to reflect on the church’s role in promoting the ideal of good health and well-being for all. Students explore church-based strategies to confront communicable and non-communicable diseases and analyse the effects of intersecting systems of gender, poverty and life-style choices. We discuss the importance of access to early screening, good nutrition, immunization and education in developing relevant church-based health care models and also evaluate the impact of cultural influences on patients’ attitudes regarding stigma and discrimination. There are also opportunities for students to reflect on choices patients make with respect to health care providers and remedies, and to start formulating ways to assess and integrate Christian understandings of healing, cure, health and well-being into sustainable community approaches.
Theology of Disability
Course Creator: Dr Luca Badetti & Dr Cristina Gangemi
This course is an exploration of disability from a theological perspective. It focuses on disability as a source of revelation of the human and the divine. First, drawing from Disability Studies, the course brings into question what disability is, expanding and challenging common understandings of disability. Secondly, the course introduces students to how disability has been presented in theological discourses past and present, ranging from Scripture and Church tradition to the inputs of contemporary Christian theologians. Lastly, the course will encourage students to reflect on their own theological understandings of disability, by presenting them with some major disability theology questions: is the crucified Christ the image of a disabled God? How does intellectual disability challenge an overly ratio-centric understanding of humankind’s Imago Dei? If disability is understood as a positive identity, what is its eschatological relevance - in other words, will there be disability in heaven?
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Theology, Ethics and Sustainable Development
Course Creator: Prof. Tina Beattie
The question of sexual and reproductive health and rights generates intense debate between religious and secular organisations in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and international discourse about human rights. This course focuses on the theology and ethics of sexual and reproductive rights in the context of sustainable development, social justice and human dignity. It addresses issues of poverty and exclusion, population control and women’s rights, maternal and infant well-being, and family life in different cultures and contexts. It encourages participants to attend to the voices of women in their own communities and cultures, and in so doing it brings women’s personal perspectives to bear on questions of power, representation and gender in theology and international development discourse.
Women, Faith and Community Development
Course Creator: Dr Irene Ayallo; Course Tutor: Dr Anna Cantelmi
While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality, women and girls continue to suffer violence and discrimination. Designed for practitioners working with faith-based communities, this course will explore different types of communities where women live. It will also offer participants tools to identify and critically analyze issues affecting women in these communities, and to develop abilities to apply appropriate community development theories and approaches for social change and transformation. In this course, we will explore together different types of communities where women live. We will discuss tools to identify and critically analyse issues affecting women in these communities, and develop and hone our abilities to apply appropriate community development theories and approaches for social change and transformation.