Luther College professor wins Racial Equity and Interfaith Cooperation Award

October 19, 2020

Guy Nave, Luther College professor of religion, has received the Racial Equity and Interfaith Cooperation Award from the nonprofit organization Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC).

            In response to a call for projects exploring the relationship between racial equity and interfaith dialogue, Nave submitted a proposal for the creation of an undergraduate course and was chosen from a pool that included hundreds of applicants.

"While I am extremely excited about receiving this award, I am even more excited and encouraged by the fact that IFYC is promoting this sort of interfaith cooperation and engagement that explicitly addresses the need to foster racial justice and racial equity," said Nave. 

As part of this award, Nave will receive grant funding for course development for his new Religion 485 course, "Toward an Interfaith Liberation Theology," which will be offered in the spring of 2021. The course will investigate the relationship between interfaith studies and liberation theology, specifically liberation from racial oppression. 

The innovative and cooperative curriculum "will force students and the college to explicitly reflect upon the role and function of 'faith' in the pursuit of equity and justice, when equity and justice often seem elusive and unattainable," said Nave. "In response to the resurgence of racial inequity in America and the long history of societal pain, injustice, and inequity related to racism, hope is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine and/or sustain. This course will help to rekindle a sense of hope in the face of actions that often discourage hope."

            IFYC will offer Nave virtual networking opportunities with other faculty award winners dedicated to developing similar curriculum. Nave's stipend will also support his use of the IFYC Interfaith Leadership Video Series, designed to help campuses creatively respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis with diverse interfaith remote learning possibilities.

Nave hopes that students who take his course will come away with "a sense of the power of faith when fueled by interreligious (and even nonreligious) cooperation that transcends exclusivist loyalties."

Nave received his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from Yale University. Since joining the Luther faculty in 2001, Nave has taught courses focusing on the topics of Christianity, the New Testament, religious construction of meaning, and the intersections of race, religion, and politics. His current research centers on the power, politics, and meaning behind the rhetoric of "change" and what social "change" looks like in Christian contexts. He created his own online platform, "Clamoring for Change," as a forum for discussion about this topic.  

IFYC seeks to create conversation and community action based on the shared values of mutual respect and religious diversity. The relationships, resources and leadership training IFYC provides connects young people to the global interfaith movement. IFYC's "We Are Each Other's" campaign offered this Racial Equity and Interfaith Cooperation Award to equip interfaith leaders to respond to the nation's current crises by providing curricula, funding and connection opportunities.

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