Criminal Justice: Practicing Hesed in Beloved Community
This immersive travel seminar with Professor Asante Todd explores how contemporary criminal justice has become entangled with the ideology of “security” and how this process both perpetuates racial divisions and frustrates the vision of Beloved Community. Participants will visit historic sites that define the character of the region as well as key institutions of the criminal justice system. They will also meet with local concerned religious and civic leaders. Together we will unpack various perspectives on criminal justice, gain historical and cultural insight into the history of criminal justice in Huntsville, and reflect on value systems present in religion and culture.
We will learn through study and conversation online and through an immersive experience in Huntsville, Texas, the birthplace of the criminal justice system. Our hope is to leave this experience equipped to articulate an alternative vision of justice grounded in the practice of hesed within beloved community.
Five Online Sessions: Online Feb 7, 21, Mar 7, 21, April 4 (6:30pm for all online sessions)
Immersive Travel Seminar, Central Texas: Apr 22 at 1:00 p.m. – April 24 at 11:00 a.m.
Cost: $375 includes Friday and Saturday single-occupancy hotel room plus meals Friday evening through breakfast Sunday.
Dr. Asante Todd, associate professor of Christian ethics at Austin Seminary, focuses his research on public theology, the ways in which theological and religious commitments impact public debate, policy, politics, and opinion. He also desires to think with religious communities about social consciousness and democratic responsibility. His publications include “Thomas Hobbes on Human Nature,” an essay in Beyond the Pale: Reading Ethics from the Margins (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) and a chapter, “Black Lives Matter and the New Politics,” in the new book, Faith and Resistance in the Age of Trump (Orbis Books, 2017).
Todd earned an undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 2002 and the Master of Divinity degree from Austin Seminary in 2006. During his years as an Austin Seminary student he served as president of the student body and received the Rachel Henderlite Award, given to a graduating student who has made a significant contribution to cross-cultural and interracial relationships while at Austin Seminary. He earned the PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2016; the title of his dissertation was “Political Sovereignty and its Theologically Cultured Despisers: Prospects for an African American Political Theology.” A native of Midland, Texas, Todd has also worked in the Texas State Legislature, for the Austin Area Urban League, and has served as youth minister.