Courses

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 catherineofsiena@roehampton.ac.uk or see below.

Course Dates 

2018  
24 September - 09 November Gender in Church Community Development Practice - An International Case Study Approach (6 Weeks Course)
05 November - 21 December

Women in the Catholic Church: Contexts and Cultures (6 Weeks Course)

Migration Matters (6 Weeks Course)

08 October -  14 December Gender and Feminisms: Biblical Perspectives (10 Weeks Course)
2019  
21 January - 08 March 

Theology of Disability (6 Weeks Course)

Promoting Wellbeing and Health - Church-Based Practices (6 Weeks Course)

28 January - 12 April

Interreligious Engagement for Justice and Peace (10 Weeks Course)

Guardians of Faith (10 Weeks Course)

25 February - 12 April

Gender and Social Justice: African Theological Perspectives (6 Weeks Course)

06 May - 21 June

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights – Theological Perspectives (6 Weeks Course)

Catholic and Hindu Encounters (6 Weeks Course)

10 June - 26 July

Understanding Gender (6 weeks Course)

Studying Religion through Literature: Translation, Language and Interpretation (6 Weeks Course)

Catholic and Hindu Encounters

Course Creator: Dr Lynn Thomas

This course will look at some of the fruitful theological engagements that have occurred through encounter between Catholicism and Indian religious thought. After a brief introduction to the history and key issues involved in these encounters, the course will look at the work of some key writers, including Klaus Klostermaier (Hindu and Christian in Vrindaban) and Bede Griffiths (The Golden String). Interpreting the encounter more broadly, it will also consider the writings of Thomas Merton, Mahatma Gandhi, and Sri Ramakrishna.  

 

Gender and Feminisms - Biblical Perspectives

Course Creator: Diandra Erickson

This course will introduce students to questions, ideas, and debates within the study of gender and feminisms in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.  Feminist biblical interpretation provides alternative readings of biblical texts that counter oppressive male-centered viewpoints towards women.  Key topics of interest in this course include: identifying and utilizing various feminist methodologies in order to critically evaluate patriarchy within biblical texts; addressing how biblical texts can be used as a resource for women, men, and communities of faith; understanding how to fruitfully discuss the text with individuals and communities that experience gender discrimination and oppression.  

 

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 explore 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 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.

 

Guardians of Faith: Women and the History of the Christian Church

Course Creator: Rev’d Dr Georgina Byrne

The history of the Church and the development of Christianity has largely been told by men, about men. Yet, over the course of two thousand years, women have been followers of Jesus Christ and members of the world-wide Church. This module seeks to help students uncover the rich story of women’s participation in the spread of Christianity. Women were, from the beginning, teachers of the faith, hosts of Eucharistic celebrations, at the forefront of social action and preachers of the Gospel. This short course encourages students to look behind the traditionally-presented mostly male history and discover the women who have, all along, shaped the Christian faith as we have it.  

 

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.

 

Migration Matters

Course Creator: Dr Anna Cantelmi

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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.

 

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. 

 

Studying Religion Through Literature: translation, language and interpretation

Course Creator: Dr Anna Cantelmi

Literature plays an important role in religious writings, and literature in translation can transmit new religious concepts and promote intercultural and inter-religious encounters. Religious themes in literature can help to illuminate cultural and historical perspectives, while providing a lens through which to study attitudes towards gender, sexuality and faith in different contexts. 

This course analyzes the transmission and impact of some of the most influential masterpieces of the western literary tradition, to explore how they depict the religious beliefs and practices of the cultural and historical contexts out of which they emerged. Each week focuses on an extract from a major literary text to identify its religious references and the ways in which metaphors and images are used, as well as asking how effective different translations are in transmitting meanings and beliefs and in revealing the social dynamics of issues such as gender, race and class.

 

Theology of Disability

Course Creator: Dr Luca Badetti

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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?

 

Understanding Gender 

Course Creator: Prof. Tina Beattie 

The language of gender is the focus of heated debate in theology, ethics and human rights theory and practice. Conservative religious and political leaders condemn gender theory and feminism for destroying marriage and the family, while Catholic teaching repeatedly cautions against what it calls “gender ideology”. Gender theorists such as Judith Butler have shaped much theological and philosophical discourse, leading to the emergence of “queer theory” and the dissolution of the male/female binary in favour of a more fluid and multi-facetted understanding of the ways in which gender, sex, body and desire interact in the formation of the self. These issues have vast social and ethical implications. This short course introduces students to a range of theories and theological debates around questions of gender, enabling them to explore complex and contested issues of self, embodiment and God.

 

Women in the Catholic Church: Contexts and Cultures

Course Creator: Prof. Tina Beattie

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Based on the book Visions and Vocations (Paulist Press, 2018), which is a collection of essays by more than 60 Catholic women from 20 different countries, this course introduces students to the many different contexts and cultures that shape Catholic women’s lives today. Each week, a different issue is introduced through one or more of the essays in the book, which includes more than 60 contributors from 20 different countries. Topics range from the conflicting influences of African tradition, Catholicism and globalisation on young Zimbabwean women, to the challenges of being a Catholic woman in Jamaican culture, or a Black Catholic woman in the American South. Issues include the impact of war, poverty and violence on women's lives; the challenges of mothering; sexuality and embodiment; calls to ordination, and women's experiences of theological study, pastoral ministry and religious life. Through a combination of theological and biblical study and personal story-telling, students are invited to reflect on the ways in which their own contexts shape their experiences of faith. The course will be of interest not only to Catholic women, but to all who are interested in issues of gender, culture and religion in modern society.

To find out more about the book on which the course is based, please visit the Catholic Women Speak website.

Catherine of Siena College

Department of Humanities,
University of Roehampton,
London,
SW15 5PH.

Contact: catherineofsiena@roehampton.ac.uk

 

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