I.S. 189 Faith, Culture, and Diversity (4 Units)




This course invites students to cultivate a deeper awareness of, and engagement with, cultural difference and diversity--specifically in relation to the urban context of the San Francisco Bay Area that will serve as the living-learning laboratory for an integrative exploration into the themes of a) empathy and compassion; intercultural intelligence and competency; and social privilege and inequality from a committed, hospitable Christian worldview perspective.

We will begin by looking at the nature of empathy and compassion in conversation with the biblical imperatives around love of neighbor/other/stranger as well as perspectives found within the fields of psychology and the social sciences. We will then look at the dynamics of culture, cultural intelligence and cross-cultural competency as a theoretical framework for engaging difference and diversity in a variety of contexts. Finally we will seek to apply these understandings/frameworks to selected urban issues that reflect religious, race, class and gender “otherness” and challenge us to consider anew the questions of “Who is God?” “Who am I?” and “Who is my neighbor?” amidst our present times.

Incorporating the connected disciplines of theology, sociology and cultural anthropology and drawing upon a broad range of local guest speakers and practitioners, this course will expose students to both the theoretic foundations and narrative journeys marking each of the topics undertaken. Moreover, the course will provide students with a mix of reflective and praxis-based assignments aimed at developing increased empathic and cross-cultural capabilities and communication skills in response to selected urban/global issues.


Other fun facts:

The Faith, Culture and Diversity seminar meets once a week.

IS 189 meets the G.E. option “Understanding Society” under “Common Inquiries.”

Local guest speakers supplement significant text readings, reflective writing and guided discussions.