Schooling the imagination: a practical theology of public education
Keefe-Perry, L. Callid
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation develops a public practical theology of education. It argues that education is a practice that “schools the imagination,” forming individuals and communities to operate within social imaginaries that have been shaped by a latent, anti-material, and individualistic worldview. This project aims to show that public education is a viable site for theological reflection and that the results of that reflection can generate proposals for the transformation of both religion and education. It considers how the American social imaginary is maintained by educational practices and the ways these practices influence conceptions of knowledge and human purpose. The assumption is that the shaping influence of the imaginary is not manifested so much in the content of school curricula, but tacitly exists in pedagogical processes and the explicit and implicit goals of the US educational enterprise. Using a qualitative and quantitative mixed-method approach, the project develops the construct of conscientização natal, a pedagogy of birth with utopian anthropological dimensions. Grace Jantzen’s theology and philosophy of religion and the liberative pedagogical insights of Paulo Freire are central to the constructive work. Jantzen and Freire provide a way to interpret the telos and practice of American public education with their respective analyses of “necrophilic imagination” and “objectivizing worldviews.” Additional insights are drawn from educational sociology and history, as well as Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice and Cornelius Castoriadis’ concept of the social imaginary. The dissertation begins by developing a theology of education, doing so with practical theological methods informed by liberation and public theologies. It proceeds to provide historical and cultural-sociological studies drawn from educational literature, amplified by a quantitative study of 125 survey participants on their understandings of the relationship between education and spirituality. The primary discoveries in these three studies are analyzed, then reflected upon theologically, yielding proposals for the transformation of practice and theory in both education and religion. For practical theologians, the project develops a robust understanding of practice that links patterns of action to social imaginaries, providing an example of how practical theology might consider issues of broad public concern.
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Joyful noise: the ecclesiological and evangelistic significance of racial diversity and religious pluralism in the experiences of historically black collegiate gospel choirs on three majority-white university campuses in Greater Boston Hickman-Maynard, Theodore N. (2015)This study offers a practical theology of evangelism for black churches in an increasingly postmodern American cultural context. As a postmodern politics of difference challenges the traditional construction of black ...
Carpenter, Lee; Muelder, Martha; Anna Howard Shaw Center (2012-09-07)An interview with Martha Muelder, wife of Dean Walter G. Muelder, Muelder served the school from 1945-1972 as professor and Dean. Martha was very involved with the life of the school and their local church in Newton, MA. ...
Theuring, Ashley Elizabeth (2018)Liberation, womanist, and feminist theologians re-imagine hope in light of suffering in a variety of communities, via the narratives of cross and resurrection. They insist that hope is shaped by its context and always ...