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Teaching Race: Pedagogical Challenges in Predominantly White Undergraduate Theology Classrooms



While a number of scholars in the field of Christian theology have argued for the importance of teaching diversity and social justice in theology and religious studies classrooms, little has been done to document and assess formally the implementation of such pedagogy. In this article, the authors discuss the findings of a yearlong Scholarship of Multicultural Teaching and Learning (SoMTL) study, which examined student learning and faculty teaching regarding race and white privilege in two theology classrooms. After a brief overview of the study's design and execution, we reflect upon our findings and draw out implications for pedagogical practices. In particular we discuss students' emotional responses to the material and the role of cognitive dissonance in student learning with respect to racial inequality via social structures. See a companion essay in this issue of the journal (Karen Teel, “Getting Out of the Left Lane: The Possibility of White Antiracist Pedagogy”) and responses by the authors of both essays, also published in this issue of the journal (“Responses: Toward an Antiracist Pedagogy”).