Practicum in Interfaith Engagement

Field: Religious Studies
Unit Code(s): AR8200T 
Unit value: 24 points
Level: Postgraduate Foundational
Delivery mode: Class-based only (with placement)
Prerequisites: AR2000T – Introduction to Interfaith Engagement

This unit builds on the unit ‘Introduction to interfaith Engagement’ by giving students a practical opportunity to engage in interfaith activity. Each student will work with a supervisor to construct a functional model of interfaith engagement. The student will then apply the model to create a relationship with a selected faith community which is not their own, entering into the worship space of the other faith, joining the adherents in their religious practices and ultimately thinking reflexively about the experience, thus enabling the other faith tradition to impact on his or her personal theology. Each student will share experiences and reflections with the other students in the class, in order to sharpen understanding of the process and potential rewards of interfaith engagement.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • reflect critically on new experiences of interfaith engagement in the light of one’s own beliefs and life-style
  • articulate the experiences associated with interfaith engagement and dialogue
  • develop capacity to communicate with people who adhere to a different religious tradition
  • engage with the practical details of another faith tradition in order to reflect back on one’s own beliefs and behaviours
  • reflect critically on the experience of engaging with different faith communities with openness, sensitivity and empathy. 
  • Seminar participation, sharing insights from active experience in another faith tradition, expressed in journal form of 2,000 words (30%)
  • Poster presentation (equivalent 1,000 words) depicting student reflection upon their behaviours and feelings through these encounters (20%)
  • 3,000-word essay (50%)
Recommended Reading:

* recommended for purchase

Boys, Mary and Lee, Sara S. Christians and Jews in Dialogue: Learning in the Presence of the Other, Skylight Paths Publishing, Vermont, 2006.

Firestone, R. An Introduction to Islam for Jews, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2008.

Firestone, R., Swidler, L & Duran, K (eds). Trialogue: Jews, Christians, Muslims in Dialogue: A Practical Handbook, New York: Twenty-Third Publications, 2007.

Heft, J., Firestone, R. & Safi, O (eds). Learned Ignorance: An Investigation into Humility in Interreligious Dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Hettiarachchi, S. Faithing the Native Soil: Dilemmas and Aspirations of Post-Colonial Buddhists and Christians in Sri Lanka. Colombo: CSR, 2012.

Knitter, P. Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian. London/New York: OneWorld Publications, 2009

Matlins, Stuart. How to be a Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook, 4th edition, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2006 (1st edition 1995)

Matlins, Stuart. How to be a Perfect Stranger, Volume 2: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People’s Religious Ceremonies, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2014

Pannikar, Raymundo. Myth, Faith and Hermeneutics. New York: Paulist Press, 1979

Swidler, Leonard. ‘Understanding Dialogue’, in Interfaith Dialogue at the Grassroots, Philadelphia: Ecumenical Press, 2008.