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Formation in the Classroom

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Abstract

What is the relationship between the academic knowledge of the guild and the formation of students in the classroom? This Forum gathers four essays originally presented at a Special Topics Session at the 2009 conference of the American Academy of Religion (Atlanta, Georgia), with a brief introductory essay by Fred Glennon explaining the genesis of the panel. Douglas Jacobsen and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen clarify some of the issues at stake in undergraduate liberal arts classrooms by distinguishing between four dimensions of what they refer to as “the (in)formation teaching matrix: institutional context, course content, faculty roles, and student outcomes. John Thatamanil argues that all learning necessarily presupposes formation. Amanda Porterfield argues against using the word “formation” because it complicates and undermines her teaching goals to historicize religion and narratives about it through open-ended inquiry. And, finally, Mary Elizabeth Moore explores the interactive processes linking formation, information, reformation, and transformation.

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