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Friday, November 6 • 3:30pm - 4:45pm
R 1.01

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Making the Familiar Strange: The Sociological Imagination and Religious Education
Melissa James (First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego)

Research Interest Group. [Paper] In the mid-20th century the concept of sociological imagination, coined by C. Wright Mills, created a significant and lasting shift within sociological engagement with the world. To employ the sociological imagination one must “make the familiar strange” whereby everyday experiences are seen as parts of larger social structures. This paper examines the use of sociological imagination as a framework to engage in religious education for social change and asks whether or not a more robust employment of the sociological imagination is warranted within children’s religious education.

From Location and (Non-)Place to Space: An Exploration of the Role of Imagination as the Key to Creating Spaces Learners Feel Attached to
Cok Bakker (Utrecht University)

Research Interest Group. [Paper] Our focus is on ways to decorate a place to address learners’ imaginative power, a precondition to satisfy their (presupposed) spiritual longings for a better world. Video-taped statements of pupils age 10-11 of three intercultural and interreligious primary schools illustrate the power of architecture. We invited them to write down their stories about safe and unpleasant places in the school. We are inspired by authors articulating the emotional effect of the environment on people’s well-being (Jonker, 2014).

Note: Ina ter Avest will not be able to present with Cok Bakker.


Cok Bakker

Professor, Utrecht University

Melissa James

Professor; Director of programs including religious education, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego

Friday November 6, 2015 3:30pm - 4:45pm
Brookhaven (Hotel Terrace Level)

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