Social Faith, Eco-Justice and Transforming Beauty

Course Code: RGT2943HF


Gordon Rixon, S.J.


Spring 2017
May 9 – 12          9:00-12:00
May 16 – 19        9:00 – 12:00



Course Description

This course explores the spiritual integration of social activism, aesthetic appreciation, and critical reflection in a secular context. Students identify theological resources and develop a transdisciplinary approach to examining critically the contribution of religion to ecological, social, cultural and ecclesial reconciliation. Students explore an empathetic understanding of the evolution of ecological awareness and the rights of indigenous peoples.


Assigned readings draw on authors such as Craig Calhoun, Cynthia Crysdale, John Dadosky, Robert Doran, Bernard Lonergan, Ronald Niezen, Karl Rahner, Thomas Reynolds, Paul Ricoeur, and Charles Taylor. The course includes two practical sessions in the development of social discernment facilitated in collaboration with social change practitioners from the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice. The course process includes assigned readings, class discussions, online bulletin board participation and seminar participation in social discernment in the Ignatian tradition. Evaluation is based on regular, guided journaling and a short integration paper.

Course Objectives

Attendance at all sessions is required. Assigned readings are complete prior to each session. No later than 8pm on the day preceding a session, students post a question or short comment of no more than 100 words on assigned readings. Within one week of each session, students post a short 150-200 word journal entry in response to a guiding question. Within two weeks of the last session, students submit a final integration paper of 1,500 words.



Detailed instructions for journal entries and final integration paper with criteria for grading are found in the Schedule of Readings and Assignments, which is available on the course website.



Please, papers should be type-written, doubled spaced, left-justified, and have one inch margins on all sides and no more than 12 characters per inch (ie, a standard font, size 10-12 is acceptable). Do not exceed the page limit. Extensions for assignments are to be negotiated with the professor prior to the due-date. All sources must be documented in accord with accepted academic practice such as that described in Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 5th Edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987. An excellent guide to style is presented in Joseph M. Williams, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. For additional writing assistance, consult http://www.utoronto.ca/writing/

Course Schedule

A detailed course schedule is available for download.

Week 1

Spiritual Conversation

Week 2

Religion and Activism after a Secular Age

Week 3

Beauty and Eco-Justice

Week 4

Religion and Indigenous Peoples after a Colonial Age

Week 5

Resistance, Surrender and the Option for Marginalized Peoples

Week 6

Utopia, Providence and Creaturehood

Week 7

Ignatian Mysticism in the World

Week 8

Spiritual Conversation