Liberation Theologies

Instructor: Miguel A. De La Torre


Office Hours: Arranged by email

Course Synopsis:

Purpose: This course examines the emergence and development of the different manifestations of Liberation Theologies and global social protest. Special attention is given to texts and traditions from different ethnic and racial communities, both domestically and international; treating them as living changing heritages, in order to propose critical options which foster emancipatory practices in the contemporary struggle for justice.  The course will concentrate on Liberation theologies, ethics, and hermeneutics. 

Objectives: The aim of this survey course is to enable students to accomplish the following goals: First, to read and reflect upon tensions in the various perspectives on religion and race, class and gender as they relation to theologies of Liberation. Second, investigate consciously constructive religious protest narratives as to the resistance and struggle against Eurocentric domination and oppression. Finally, to examine the challenges various liberative paradigms address to religious traditions from the Eurocentric world. Furthermore, the course will attempt to:

  1. To teach students how to identify ethical and theological assumptions implicit in the moral life of disenfranchised persons and communities.
  1. To teach students to examine critically their own theological and ethical assumptions as well as prevailing ethical assumptions in faith communities and society.
  1. To teach selected options in contemporary religious theories, with special emphasis on liberative theories.
  1. To enable students to develop an understanding of Liberation Theologies which they can articulate and advocate with critical awareness as religious leaders.
  1. To relate theoretical liberative perspectives to select issues in society, especially those germane to pastoral practice.



Masters: 12-pages, typed, double-spaced.

PhD: 20-pages, typed, double-spaced



Course Evaluation:

A pass/fail grade option is available. Please inform professor, in writing, by the third week of the class if you choose this option. No reasons need to be given.

For those who choose a letter grade, the following scale is used:
Final take home examination: 70%
Class Participation: 20%
Academic Decorum: 10%

1) Written grades will be based on the final (70%) Written grades are determined as follows:

The student demonstrates exceptional quality in written work. Little room for improvement exists. Several primary sources (outside of class readings) are used in the writing assignment. Both effort and execution are first-rate. It is obvious that the reading assignment was critically analyzed. Student consistently contributes to the conversation. Responses included critical reflection on the material for the week and advance the discourse with any questions that might further stimulate discussion. Comments demonstrate a grasp of the relevant materials from the course.

The student’s work is above average. At least one primary source (outside of class reading) is used in the writing assignment. Student makes thoughtful comments but not necessarily engaged with the other comments being made. It is obvious that the reading assignment was completed.

The student has fulfilled the minimal requirements for this course, making the minimum amount of comments. Effort and the execution of assignment are of average quality. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not thoughtfully read. There is room for improvement.

The student work is below average. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not done. Minimal comments are made. The student is not living up to the expectations of graduate-level work.

The student failed to accomplish the class assignments.

A late paper will lose one letter grade for each week that it is turned in late. If extra
ordinary circumstances exist which prevent the student from completing her/his
assignment on time, then the student needs to contact the professor to discuss an alternative schedule prior to when the assignment is due. Students who do not hand in ALL completed assignments must make prior signed arrangements for an Incomplete.

Students not making these prior arrangements will automatically receive an "F" for the course.

2) 10% of the grade is based on academic decorum. Being consistently present during forum discussions is a baseline expectation. Grade decorum is based on the following:

The student is civil toward others. While disagreeing or challenging, the student never dishonors or disrespects.

Every so often the student attacks another student rather than challenging or disagreeing with whatever point of view is being offered.

The student is disrespectful and is not willing to entertain different views.

The student disrupts the learning experience of others by the way they conduct themselves in on the forum discussions.

The student creates a hostile experience.

This quarter, we'll be having several Zoom meeting sessions as a way of communicating "in person" as well as through the online discussion forums.  These sessions will be a great way to talk about the readings and pose questions and comments in live format, and get some face time with your instructor! Attendance is optional.

We'll be holding them on different dates and times.

They will be held on the following dates:

April 7 at 6pm - Link to:

April 21 at 6pm - Link to:

May 5 at 6pm - Link to:

May 19 at noon - Link to:





Recommended Readings:

De La Torre, Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians .

Required Readings:

De La Torre, Gonna Trouble the Waters

_______, Handbook of U.S. Theologies of Liberation

________, Introducing Liberative Theologies

________, The Hope of Liberation in World Religions

Smith, The Emergence of Liberation Theology

Required Film Watching:

Romero , staring Raul Julia

Mar 29, 2022TueIntroductionsdue by 05:59AM
Mar 31, 2022ThuThe Historical Roots of Liberation Theologydue by 05:58AM
Apr 04, 2022MonThe Historical Roots of Liberation Theology Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Apr 07, 2022ThuLatin American/Latinx Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:59AM
Apr 11, 2022MonLatin American/Latinx Liberation Theologies Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Apr 14, 2022ThuAsian/Asian American Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:58AM
Apr 18, 2022MonAsian/Asian-American Liberation Theologies Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Apr 21, 2022ThuAfrican/African-American Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:58AM
Apr 25, 2022MonAfrican/African-American Liberation Theologies Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Apr 28, 2022ThuGender and Orientationdue by 05:58AM
May 02, 2022MonGender and Orientation Discussiondue by 05:59AM
May 05, 2022ThuThe Poor and Disabledue by 05:58AM
May 09, 2022MonThe Poor and Disable Discussiondue by 05:59AM
May 10, 2022TueThesis Statementdue by 05:59AM
May 12, 2022ThuJewish and Islamic Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:58AM
May 16, 2022MonJewish and Islamic Discussiondue by 05:59AM
May 19, 2022ThuIndigenous and Humanist Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:58AM
May 23, 2022MonIndigenous and Humanist Discussiondue by 05:59AM
May 26, 2022ThuEnvironmental Liberation due by 05:58AM
May 30, 2022MonEnvironmental Discussiondue by 05:59AM
Jun 04, 2022SatFinal Examdue by 05:59AM