This course explores the tangled history of Christianity and race in America. It examines how empire-building, migration, slavery, abolition, racialization, and other features of European expansion impacted the development of Christianity in North America. We will pay special attention to Native American and African-American voices in the Atlantic world as well as Asian and Asian-American perspectives in the Pacific world to study the multicultural dimensions of American Christianity. Along the way, participants will learn how historical inquiry can shape Christian witness that aspires toward the common good.

  • Eight Weeks Online (March 2 – May 8, 2020): The core portion of the course is delivered online through flexible distance learning technology. Students can participate online from all over North America or anywhere in the world. NHS has over seven years of experience in quality online education. 

  • Optional Immersion in South Korea (March 25-31, 2020): In an effort to de-center the prevailing influence of European theology in our learning experience, we will travel together to Asia to learn about Christianity as a world religion with a wide variety of cultural expressions. Click on “Optional Immersion” tab below for more info.  


Peter Y. Choi

Peter Y. Choi

Peter Choi (PhD, Notre Dame) will be the primary instructor for the course. He is director of academic programs at Newbigin House and a historian of eighteenth-century North America. Peter’s areas of specialization include transatlantic revival religion, early evangelicalism, and world Christianity. His research has been funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Huntington Library, and the Library Company of Philadelphia. His first book, George Whitefield: Evangelist for God and Empire examined the British imperial context of early evangelicalism. His current book project focuses on the history of Christianity and race in America.

Lisa Sharon Harper

Lisa Sharon Harper

Lisa Sharon Harper will be a guest instructor in the course. She is the founder and president of Freedom Road, a groundbreaking consulting group that crafts experiences that bring common understanding and common commitments that lead to common action toward a more just world. Lisa is a public theologian whose writing, speaking, activism and training has sparked and fed the fires of re-formation in the church from Ferguson and Charlottesville to South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Ireland. Lisa’s book, The Very Good Gospel was named 2016 “Book of the Year” and the Huffington Post identified Lisa as one of 50 Women Religious Leaders to Celebrate on International Women’s Day.

Unit 1 / Discovery, Conquest, Race, and Christianity (Mar 2-13)

  • Empire

  • Migration

  • Slavery

Unit 2 / Christianity and the Long Process of Racialization (Mar 16-24)

  • Early Evangelicals of Color

  • Theology & Missiology

  • The Problem of a Resistance/Assimilation Binary

Break for Immersion in Korea, Holy Week, and Easter: Mar 25–April 12

Unit 3 / Race and American Culture (April 13-24)

  • Critical Race Theory

  • Intersectionality

  • Race and Politics in a Pluralistic World

Unit 4 / World Christianity in America (April 27-May 8)

  • Postcolonial Hermeneutics

  • Liberation Theologies

  • Asian American Christianities

Optional Immersion in South Korea (March 25-31, 2020): In order to learn about the wide variety of cultural influences that have shaped American Christianity, and to facilitate the de-centering of Western theology in this approach, students will participate in a one-week immersion trip to Seoul, South Korea. The immersion will include:

  • Visits to religious sites like churches (from small migrant churches to mega-churches with members in the hundreds of thousands), Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery, etc.

  • Visits to cultural sites like the Demilitarized Zone, the War Memorial of Korea, etc.

  • Lectures from experts on Korean and various other Asian theologies 

While the trip is optional, participation is highly encouraged. Using this immersion experience to trace the impact of world Christianity on North American Christianity will contribute to a better understanding of the cultural location of Christianities across the world, including the United States.

Tuition (for Credit) / Advanced Standing with Credit

  • $1,200 (3 credits; online only)

  • $1,600 (4 credits; online + immersion in South Korea)

Tuition (not for Credit) / Audit, Personal Enrichment

  • $600 (online only)

  • $1,000 (online + immersion in South Korea)

Travel Costs / Optional Immersion in Seoul, South Korea

  • $1,000 (immersion fee; includes lodging, some meals, group transportation, and tours)

  • Participants should also budget for airfare + miscellaneous incidentals 

Limited financial aid is available; applicants will have the opportunity to indicate their need in the course of the application process. 

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Open Courses like this one are made available to our current students, alumni, and friends of Newbigin House of Studies. Focusing particularly on topics of pertinent interest for those in ministry, these courses are designed to provide personal enrichment as well as continuing education opportunities for a wide variety of participants.