Ritual, Trauma, and Social Change*; June 12-16

In many movements for social change, trauma plays an important, if unacknowledged, role. Social, cultural, and personal trauma can serve to motivate activism even as the effects of trauma may be unrecognized and unaddressed. The process of social change can itself cause trauma and/or reinforce previously experienced traumas. In this context, rituals and ritualizing become important sites for attending to trauma in social change work. This seminar explores the connections between movements for social change and the dynamics of social and personal trauma, as we consider the role that ritual can and does play in uncovering and addressing trauma by engaging participants in the process of reconstructing memory, giving expression to that which has been silenced, offering frames for making meaning, and embodying visions of transformation. We will explore ritual as both part of the process of social change itself and as a source of healing the trauma embedded in activism and movements for social transformation. Evaluation will be based on leadership of discussions, critical reflection, observation, and ritual design/analysis.

About the Instructor

Dr. Sharon Fennema is Assistant Professor of Christian Worship, Director of Certificate in Sexuality and Religion and Director of Worship Life at Pacific School of Religion. Fennema’s research and teaching addresses the intersections of critical and gender theories with Christian worship as a practice which forms identity, performs theology, and shapes engagement in the public and political sphere.


Dates: June 12 – 16, 2017, M-F
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: PSR
Room: Mudd 102
Instructor: Fennema
Credits: 1.5 (2.0 CEUs)

To Register

Current Pacific School of Religion or Graduate Theological Union students: Please search for the course on WebAdvisor in your student planning. Search for LSRS 3500.

Community members seeking CEUs: Please click on WebAdvisor, click on the yellow “Continuing Education” button, and search for LSRS 0002 as the Course Code Number.

For those who wish to take this course for academic credit who are not current GTU students: Please fill out this form to apply for Special Student Status.

Alumni/ae, PSR faculty, PSR staff, Field Education Mentors/Supervisors, Emeriti Faculty, student spouses, and special guests of PSR: You may qualify for a discounted rate. Fill out this form and our Registrar will be in touch.

Questions? Contact Lyndsey Reed, Registrar, at lreed@psr.edu or 510-849-8285.

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