REL 638 / Theology of Poverty


Theology, Poverty, and Social Change

In which we define our terms and our task. What are we talking about when we talk about poverty as a social problem? And how might theological reflection contribute to its alleviation?

Week 1 (9/8): What is Poverty?

Week 2 (9/15): Theology and Social Change

Theological Approaches to Poverty

In which we survey several influential ways of framing poverty theologically. Our examples represent the major 20th-c. theological traditions that have given sustained attention to poverty: Catholic social teaching, black and womanist theology, Latin American liberation theology, and the social gospel tradition.

Week 3 (9/22): Poverty and the Imago Dei

Week 4 (9/29): Poverty and Jesus’ Ministry

Week 5 (10/6): Poverty and the Crucifixion

Week 6 (10/13): Poverty and Salvation

Reading Week: October 20–24

Week 7 (10/27): Poverty and the Kingdom of God

Organizing Against Poverty

In which we examine major forms of anti-poverty organizing in the U.S. in light of our earlier theological considerations. We’ll focus on one exemplary case of each form.

Week 8 (11/3): Living Wage (Baltimore movement)

Week 9 (11/10): Unions (CTU Strike)

Week 10 (11/17): Public Aid (Obamacare)

Thanksgiving Break: November 24–28

Week 11 (12/1): Grassroots Resistance (Occupy Wall Street)

Makeup Day (12/3): Wrap-up