Learning a religion is never as simple as it appears. The proper names, nouns, ideas and development are put into place as strategies for learners. An engaged process of learning depends on seeing one’s self as a student challenged not only by the terms and their meanings, but also by the way in which contemporary discourse fashions those ideas as part of larger schema. Religion implies a plurality of practices; gender implies a variety of interpretations; rights identify a specific legal construction of social diversity. By holding to view a few concrete examples of transition, this paper will examine a teaching and learning process where the student learns about the nature of self and its preconceptions through making connections across borders with those who practice religions in other jurisdictions. The rhetoric of rights and religions sometimes obscures another rhetorical strategy: the encoding of those claims within a set of ideas which is not only ‘western’ (in some senses) or ‘global’, but also impermeable to the actual claims of religiously-articulated ideas of self and human development. The argument looks at the assumptions behind those concepts which are, finally, neither universal nor susceptible of easy transitions. This paper is a philosophical discussion rooted in extensive pedagogical engagement with the subject and many hundreds of students.
|Keywords:||Gender, Rights, Religion, Transition, Definitions of Self, Learning Across Invisible Borders of Definition of Personhood|
Professor, Theology, History, Huron University College/The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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