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.


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%
Forum Posts: 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 posted
responses of 250-400 words; careful to have read the instructions and questions in
the topic so all the necessary components in the response was addressed.
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 as well
as the posts from people in that thread.

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 posts,
but they are less than 250 words and not engaged with the other comments being
posted. It is obvious that the reading assignment was completed.

The student has fulfilled the minimal requirements for this course, making the
minimum required posts. 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. Posts consist of a few words or a sentence. 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 respectful of 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.

Submission of Assignments: In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we ask that no assignment be submitted in paper form. Please electronically submit your final using your first initial and last name as the file name (i.e., mdelatorre).

Incomplete Policy: Students are responsible for following the procedures outlined in the attached document.

Submission of Assignments: In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we ask that no assignment be submitted in paper form.  Please electronically submit any required papers.

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! Please attend at least two of the sessions.

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

They will be held on the following dates:

March 31 at 6pm - Link to:

April 8 at 7pm - Link to:

April 16 at 6pm - Link to:

April 23 at 6pm - Link to:

April 29  at 7pm - Link to:

May 5 at 6pm - Link to:

May 11 at 6pm - Link to:




Recommended Readings:

De La Torre, Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians .

Required Readings:

Boff, Ecology & Liberation

De La Torre, 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 24, 2020TueIntroductionsdue by 05:59AM
Mar 26, 2020ThuThe Historical Roots of Liberation Theologydue by 05:58AM
Apr 02, 2020ThuLatin American/Latinx Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:59AM
Apr 09, 2020ThuAsian/Asian American Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:58AM
Apr 16, 2020ThuAfrican/African-American Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:58AM
Apr 23, 2020ThuGender and Orientationdue by 05:58AM
Apr 30, 2020ThuThe Poor and Disabledue by 05:58AM
May 05, 2020TueThesis Statementdue by 05:59AM
May 07, 2020ThuJewish and Islamic Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:58AM
May 14, 2020ThuIndigenous and Humanist Liberative Theologiesdue by 05:58AM
May 21, 2020ThuEnvironmental Liberation due by 05:58AM
May 30, 2020SatFinal Examdue by 05:59AM