Last days to read “How the Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change Our Future Teaching” online for free at Religion & American Culture

Free access to this FORUM piece–brief think pieces on current issues–ends tomorrow. Check out contributions by Brandon Bayne, Valerie Cooper, Gastón Espinosa, and me, all scholars of religion writing about the impact of the pandemic on higher education broadly. You can download now and read another day if you don’t have time today.

In my essay, I take up three tensions–charity v. justice, unity v. solidarity, and restoration v. transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Many of us simply are unable to muster nostalgia about a
prepandemic university, given that we never participated in it as
respected, adequately remunerated campus citizens and, as things
were going, never were going to. We are obligated, I think, and also
motivated to teach against a return to normal and for a turn toward
justice. This means silencing our own internal voices that assure us
that everything will be okay and, instead, raising our voices to
demand that universities eliminate the inequality that has led to
coronavirus’s disproportionate harm to people of color, women,
people living in or near poverty, and those with disabilities on
campuses. It means rejecting comforting appeals to a past in which
the academy was a respected, supportive meritocracy—which, for
the roughly three-quarters of college educators who are not on the
tenure track, has never been part of our experience—and creating
institutions that model and foster the kind of interactions necessary
for the welfare of democracy and the demos that compose it. This
requires us to reject superficial calls for a for a return to normality and do deeper, harder, and more honest work. (150)

Religion and American Culture

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