Our approach begins with an analysis of structural injustice, realizing that it is not inevitable and is dehumanizing to all. Recognizing the power of human agency in furthering both conflict and peace is at the core of our mission.
Applying a cultural studies methodology, we empower students to identify the complex roles religions play in shaping every aspect of human experience – from politics and policy to art, education, economics, and culture. This approach enables a focus on root causes, while simultaneously challenging the simplistic demonization of those in positions of privilege and the valorization of those who are marginalized.
We believe that providing a sophisticated understanding of religion in relationship to structural injustice allows participants to better envision new approaches to peacebuilding – approaches that speak to the moral imagination by making the invisible visible and by disrupting injustice without replicating it.
Case Study: Israel/Palestine
RCPI utilizes the case study method in its investigations, involving up-close, in-depth examination of a particular conflict situation in the world. Through our method of teaching the case, students and fellows gain deep knowledge of the specific context while building practical and professional skills in conflict transformation and just peacebuilding that transfer outside any specific region.
Our current case study is on Israel/Palestine. This case study lends itself to a robust exploration of the complexity of political, economic, religious and social environments in conflict areas. The need for critical interrogation and innovative peacebuilding approaches touches every area of Israeli/Palestinian life. Students from different backgrounds and with diverse vocational goals find broader value in this case study as they develop universal skills and knowledge rooted in this context.