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2020 Bennion Teachers' Workshop - Religion and American Democracy:
Literacy, Liberty, and the Public Good

Date: Monday, June 22 - Friday, June 26, 2020
Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM daily with some evening events
Place: Utah State University, Logan, UT

“Our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.” So said Dwight D. Eisenhower in December 1952, a month after being elected President of the United States.  This quote encapsulates much debate in American life over the place of religion in our government, our society, and our schools. The 2020 Bennion Teachers’ Workshop, “Religion and American Democracy: Literacy, Liberty, and the Public Good” will explore debates surrounding the role of religion in our democracy. What is—and should be—the ongoing relationship of religion and American democracy?  And how do we talk about it in the classroom?

These questions will form the basis of our week long workshop.  Under the guidance of preeminent scholars and practitioners, workshop participants will reflect on the role of religion in American public life, past and present; learn how to teach about religion without teaching religion; and be empowered to facilitate hard conversations about controversial subjects in ways that advance mutual respect and ultimately strengthen our pluralistic democratic society. Through site visits to various houses of worship and meetings with leaders and members of several religious communities throughout our region, the 2020 Bennion Teachers' Workshop participants will explore these questions while increasing their own religious literacy, coming to better appreciate the diversity that surrounds us.

 

Bennion Teachers' Workshop Testimonials -

"As a teacher from a rural area, I really appreciate that Bennion is a world-class opportunity that provides face-to-face scholarly interaction with top-notch students and excellent professors from multiple universities and institutions across the country."
"I love the intense one-week format of Bennion."

"Face to face scholarly engagement with world class professors provides a rich experience."
"Critical for expanding my ability to grow as an educator."

"The only weakness was that the magic had to end, but we will take the magic with us."

What is the Bennion Teachers Workshop?

The Bennion Teachers' Workshop for the Perpetuation of Democratic Principles is a program made possible by an endowment to Utah State University's Mountain West Center for Regional Studies. The endowment was created by Ione Bennion, a teacher and community activist, to "provide an atmosphere and the educational resources to explore the concepts upon which democracy is built, the conditions under which it flourishes, and the dangers to its existence." Taught by Utah State University faculty and guest speakers who represent the latest scholarship in the topics presented, the workshops focus on giving inservice and pre-inservice teachers practical tools that they can use in the classroom.

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