Course Syllabus


Instructors: Rev. Laura Rossbert and Dr. Andriette Jordan-Fields 

Welcome to the course Identity, Power and Difference!!! We are truly excited to be on this creative and empowering journey with you. This class provides rich opportunities to engage challenging topics with regards to idenity, power and differences in our lives, our towns and cities, our faith communities, our country and our world. IPD demands not only academic work but emotional and spritiual work as well. We will walk together as a community as we have conversations about identity, power, and difference, and how that interacts with religion, spritiuality and your personal vocation.

We will explore the socially constructed nature of identity, power, and difference. We will examine our own individual identities and social locations critically. We hope to move from an individualistic worldview to an ideal of a structure/system that we participate in /benefit from/are disadvantaged by. This work is foundational to being in a school of theology. All theology is socially contingent and our respective social location shapes how we do theology. Being an effective minister, religious leader, and social justice agent requires an examination of our power and privilege and their effects on those around us in our communities and society. The critical consciousness of our place in the world and how we benefit from the oppression of others is integral in engaging in theology which stands for justice, equity, and equality.

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Why does Iliff require IPD of all of our professional degree students?

  • The course expresses Iliff’s core justice commitments by introducing students to anti-oppression work as a central element of any kind of ministry or religious leadership work.
  • Iliff is committed to educating persons who have some initial competence in working in multicultural environments and who understand their need to nurture this competency through a lifelong practice of ongoing education and development.
  • We hope to help students continue to develop their understanding of the way their complex, embodied social identity has been shaped and what it communicates about them and how it influences their perspectives in the US context of structural inequality, and to begin to attend to the potential impact that this social identity could have on their work in the world.
  • We are introducing some basic conceptual and interpersonal tools to navigate constructively within interlocking systems of advantage and oppression.
  • We understand this work as part of students’ vocational and spiritual formation as well as preparation to fully engage other courses in the curriculum that work on issues of colonialism, oppression, and privilege in historical and contemporary contexts.

 All reading materials are provided on Canvas!


Course Synopsis:

Identity, Power, and Difference cultivates students’ ability to engage in social and theological analysis, particularly about social structures, ideologies, and embodied practices that lead to domination or oppression. It helps students think critically about their own social locations; their power and privilege, and what effect these have on their professional and vocational contexts (as pastors, ministers, educators, and religious and non-profit community leaders). The course takes the perspective that this sort of analysis is crucial to serving effectively in today’s complex social environment. It encourages students to deepen their commitment to dismantling privilege and oppression at individual, institutional, and societal levels. It also seeks to help students move within their varied levels of awareness about matters of power and difference to action. This course embodies Iliff’s core commitments to respect difference and foster just relationships both in this context and beyond the school.

 No books need to be purchased for this course.

Overview and Objectives


Writing Rubric

Policies and Services


Course Summary:

Date Details Due