16 July 2019

ART in Orvieto

The ART in Orvieto advanced summer studies program will take place in Orvieto, Italy, between July 16 and August 6 in the Summer of 2019. The intensive will include the Art, Religion, and Theology seminar, led by Dr. Rebekah Smick, as well as an artist's workshop led by David Holt.

For further details, please see the dedicated ART in Orvieto webpage.

Art, Religion, and Theology: Theologies of Art in the Christian Tradition
ICS AiO 120102 S19
ICH3350HS L4101 / ICH6350HS L4101
Dr. Rebekah Smick

ART in Orvieto: Visual Artists Workshop
ICS AiO1501/2501VAA S19
David Holt

(MWS, MA, PhD)


23 May 2019

“To the Unknown God”: Paul and Some Philosophers

Key contemporary thinkers within and beyond the borders of Christianity have engaged in a new exploration of Pauline texts, in order to uncover what Jacob Taubes has called Paul’s “political theology.” In this seminar, we will explore key texts in this growing literature, paying particular attention to that group of thinkers whom John D. Caputo has dubbed “the new trinity of Paul”: Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Žižek. The relatively recent interest in Paul amongst such “non-religious” thinkers as these prompts several initial questions: Why Paul? Why now? What is it about contemporary global society that has led these thinkers to become convinced that Paul’s writings hold a particularly important and salient message for our time? What do these thinkers say that message is? As we develop various answers to these and other questions through class discussion, we will also pay attention to the way in which this turn to Paul affects the future course of secular thinking. Could it be that this new interest in Paul is a further sign that the West is moving into a ‘postsecular’ era, one that is less allergic to religious sources of insight into the shared social and political problems that the global human community currently faces? In turn, we will also explore how the insights of these philosophers affect a Christian’s understanding of Paul’s writings.

ICS 220510 S19
ICT5764HS L0101
Drs. Ron Kuipers, Jeff Dudiak
May 23-31, 2019
Location: TBA

(MA, PhD)


14 January 2019

IDS - Order, Wonder, Love: Reflections on the (True) Origin and End of Philosophy

This course will examine the triangulation of wonder, order, and love via reflections on the origin and end of philosophy. In so doing it picks up on the theme of order and love that became so important in the Winter 2018 IDS on the Legacy of Seerveld, Hart, and Olthuis, adding to order and love, reflections on wonder both as it functions within contemporary continental thought and within Reformational perspective.

*Note the course starts on January 14, 2019

ICS 2400AC W18
Drs. Nik Ansell, Robert (Bob) Sweetman
Tuesdays, 1:45pm - 4:45pm
Location: ICS Learning Studio, Knox College

(MA, PhD)


10 January 2019

God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology

How does the biblical portrayal of Jesus relate to the narrative movement(s) of the Hebrew Bible? To what extent do the OT themes of exile and return, old age and new age, help deepen our understanding of the birth and crucifixion of the Messiah? If we worship Jesus, are we to worship his humanity as well as his divinity? Does Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, who is a named presence in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament only in the Book of Daniel, indicate that her conception of Jesus is to be read apocalyptically? Is it significant that Elizabeth initially greets Mary with words otherwise associated with Jael and Judith? These are some of the exegetical and theological questions we will consider in this engagement with issues at the edge, and at the heart, of contemporary Christology. Conversation partners will include: James Dunn (Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?), Jane Schaberg (The Illegitimacy of Jesus), and N.T. Wright (The Day the Revolution Began).

ICS 240811 W19
ICT3201HS L0101 / ICT6201HS L0101
Dr. Nik Ansell
Thursdays, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Location: ICS Learning Studio, Knox College

(MWS, MA, PhD)


9 January 2019

Albert the Great, Meister Eckhart, and Women’s Spirituality

This seminar examines Meister Eckhart’s mystical discourse and its conceptual configuration as a ‘contradictory monism’ against the backdrop of the “Dionysian” tradition of Albert the Great (and Thomas Aquinas) and the current efflorenscence of women’s mysticism represented by Marguerite Porete.

ICS 220409 W19
ICH5155HS L0101
Dr. Robert (Bob) Sweetman
Wednesdays, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Classroom 2, Knox College
(MA, PhD)


Black Panther, Afrofuturism, and the Ethics of Liberation

The film Black Panther raises questions about the prospects for and ethics of liberation. What is to be done by the victims of oppression and exploitation? Is armed struggle against oppressors an appropriate (perhaps even necessary) strategy for movements of liberation? Or is nonviolent resistance a better (perhaps the only moral) strategic option for such movements? What should come first, ethically and strategically: liberation or education? On what grounds can people participate in or ally themselves with movements of liberation? These are not only questions for the Wakandans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These and similar questions were vital to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa in the late 20th century, as they were in many other places and times, and are today. This course will consider such questions with reference to their exploration in the 2018 movie, the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, the work of the black American theologian James Cone, the legacies of South African anti-apartheid activists and theorists Steve Biko and Rick Turner (both murdered by the apartheid state), and contemporary Afrofuturism.

ICS 242506 W19

Dr. Gideon Strauss
Wednesdays, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Location: Classroom 2, Knox College

(MWS, MA, PhD)


7 January 2019

Lead From Where You Are: Making a Difference in the Face of Tough Problems, Big Questions, and Organizational Politics (Hybrid)

Leadership is not about personality, authority, position, influence, or power as such. Leadership is an art, a craft, a practice, to which everyone is called sometime or other, in widely different situations. Leadership can be practiced with varying degrees of authority, from any position, at varying scales of influence, and with varying access to different sources of power. The kind of leadership that we will learn and practice in this course has to do with diagnosing and addressing the toughest problems experienced by organizations, institutions, and societies. This kind of leadership demands political skill: the skill to discern the overt and covert concerns and interests, agendas, and alliances within the organizations, institutions, and societies we serve, and to give each their due while not failing to pursue the common good. We will learn a language, learn and practice a set of tools and frameworks, and workshop our fresh insights and skills. (This course will draw heavily on both the writing and the pedagogy of Ronald Heifetz and Dean Williams.)

This is a thirteen-week online course, starting in the week of January 7 and finishing in the week of April 7. There will be no assignments due during ICS’s reading week, February 18 to 22. For participants doing the course or credit all outstanding work will be due by no later than May 24.

ICSDH 132504 W19
Dr. Gideon Strauss
Hybrid (Online/In-Person)

(MWS, MA, PhD)


Vocational Wayfinding (Hybrid@London, ON)

“What am I to do with my life?” “Who am I?” There appears to be an inextricable connection between the work that we do and our sense of who we are. As the poet David Whyte has suggested, work is for all of us a pilgrimage of identity. It is not, however, a pilgrimage for which any of us are provided with a GPS device, allowing us to navigate in straight lines with comfortable certainty towards clear career objectives that cohere in obvious ways with an immutable sense of our identity. Instead, this pilgrimage is more like the experience of Polynesian sailors, who traversed the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean with the help of the stars, memory, and close attention to the patterns of the waves on the surface of the ocean as these reflected features of the ocean (including far-off islands). Polynesian wayfinding was a way of navigating that required alert improvisation and frequent reorientation from within a perpetually shifting context. Our vocational pilgrimages require of us to find our way in a similar manner.

In this course we will explore particular practices, frameworks, and tools, by means of which we can engage in vocational wayfinding. Prompted by our readings we will consider some of the relationships between work and identity: How does my work prompt my discovery of my sense of self? How do I try out possible selves in relation to whatever in the world is calling me toward particular kinds of work? What am I to do with my life? We will give close attention to those passages in our lives (in particular young adulthood and the middle passage of life) when both our work contexts and our experience of our identity are most obviously in flux. In addition, we will consider how to contribute skillful leadership and insightful mentoring to others as they engage in their own vocational wayfinding, particularly in the contexts of the workplace and educational institutions.

This is a hybrid course with both online elements and in-person sessions. The online elements of the course will start on January 7 and finish on April 12. The five in-person sessions will take place at Western University (University Community Centre, room 38B) from 6:00 to 9:00pm on the following Tuesday evenings: February 5, 12, and 26, March 5, and 12. The week of February 18 will be an off-week. For participants doing the course for credit, all outstanding work will be due by no later than April 30, 2019.

ICSDH 132701/232701 W19
Dr. Michael R. Wagenman
Hybrid (Online/In-Person)
(MWS, MA, PhD)


Organized Religion: Christianity and Anti-Capitalism in the U.S. and Canada

Is religion the opiate of the masses, as Marx famously put it, providing a salve for a weary working class that will one day fade away along with the material conditions that prompt it? Though there is no shortage of examples to shore up Marx’s point, history shows that Christianity has not been merely a balm for capitalism’s ills, but also an engine for revolutionary change. In the United States and Canada, Christianity and anti-capitalist politics--as expressed in anarchist, socialist, and communist movements--are not always seen as fellow travellers. Yet a rich legacy of preachers, organizers, revolutionaries, and churchgoers suggests that the two have been deeply intertwined, with Christians openly participating in these movements and prominent activists, many with Christian backgrounds, seeking to win over their Christian neighbors. While not an exhaustive history, this course uncovers some of the dialogue between Christians and anti-capitalist political movements in the United States and Canada, from the Haymarket Rebellion to today. Special attention will be given to movements, biographies, dispatches from struggles, and histories (rather than fixing too closely on theoretical exchanges), with an eye toward speculating about what Christian anti-capitalism in Canada and the United States might look like in the future.

This is a thirteen-week all-online course, starting in the week of January 7 and finishing in the week of April 7. There will be no assignments due during ICS’s reading week, February 18 to 22. For participants doing the course or credit all outstanding work will be due by no later than May 24.

ICSD 132901 W19
Dean Dettloff
Distance (Online)