Identity and dialogue: Learnings from a personal interreligious encounter

Foley, Toni, and Dinan-Thompson, Maree (2019) Identity and dialogue: Learnings from a personal interreligious encounter. In: Buchanan, Michael T., and Gellel, Adrian-Mario, (eds.) Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education in Schools. Springer, Singapore, pp. 563-573.

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Addressing conceptualisations of Catholic identity in Religious Education and acknowledging the reality of identity as polyvalent and paradoxically both static and changing, I grapple with my own experience of religious identity determined by encounters with religious others. By applying autoethnography, an approach developed to help researchers better understand cultural experience, to understanding religious experience, I utilise my experience of attending a Shabbat service with a Jewish colleague to organically engage my understanding of my Catholic identity in dialogue with the religious other. The process expanded my knowledge of both traditions, including the function of prayer, the concept of relationship with God, the role of community and the religious life of the individual. Critical reflection upon this encounter, while steeped within the discourse of my own prior knowledge and experience, offered me new possibilities for interreligious learning. It stretched my consciousness in relation to how I live my life, how I encounter diversity and what questions I ask. This reflection, and the subsequent internal and external dialogue it evoked, has created new insights into pedagogical opportunities for working with students and highlighted the importance of relationships and encounter with the other. This lived experience offers possibilities for the learning and teaching of religion in the contemporary classroom. Encountering religious diversity in the flesh, approached with the appropriate dispositions and skilful critical reflection, potentially offers students an expanded understanding of their own religious identity and the opportunity to breakdown negative stereotypes and humanise the religious other.

Item ID: 77888
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-981-13-6127-2
Keywords: interreligious learning and teaching; Catholic school identity; autoethnography
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Copyright Information: © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019.
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2023 23:20
FoR Codes: 50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5004 Religious studies > 500405 Religion, society and culture @ 70%
39 EDUCATION > 3999 Other Education > 399999 Other education not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1699 Other education and training > 169999 Other education and training not elsewhere classified @ 30%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1305 Religion > 130501 Religion and society @ 70%
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