Black and Jewish, Female and Clergy Co-Teachers Practice Self-Disclosure in Religious Studies Classroom

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Barbara Thiede
Julia Robinson Moore


Presenting ourselves as objective and detached observers is the teaching of a former era. If we want our students to be able to understand themselves in the real world, teachers must model how to analyze the ways in which identities influence how we “read” histories, traditions, texts, and contemporary realities. Two female teachers, Black and White, Jewish and Christian, ordained clergy of their respective traditions with professional lives as academics at a public university, made self-disclosure a mindful practice and an integral part of a class exploring the ways religious narratives could empower and disempower. Using the ways Hagar is figured in varied religious traditions permitted both teachers to model an academic approach to the subject while also acknowledging how their identities affected their reading of the texts. In turn, students learned how to practice identifying the way their multiple identities impact how they read the world around them.

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