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Yara González-Justiniano

Visiting Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Community

  • B.A., University of Puerto Rico
  • M.Div., Boston University
  • Ph.D., Boston University 

I believe that education (formal or informal) shapes our society and has the potential to build up our society in holistic and integral ways. It is a continuous process that changes and transforms itself with time. Perhaps most fundamentally of all, I always combine theory and practices. For life continues to inform our theory and nurtures our academic endeavors that ultimately shape our life expressions. As a professor, my goals go beyond transmitting the course content. I try to create a classroom atmosphere that fosters critical thinking and community building and engagement. Because the classroom is a space where students and teachers can create together, it becomes a radical space of possibility within the academy.

I am invested in co-creating webs and communities through educational and religious institutions that scaffold on faith, ideologies, and practices that shape who we are. To me, learning is not only an accumulation of content but a rupturing of our stream of consciousness, moments in which some kind of transformation occurs that enriches our knowledge as well as our habits. I ground my teaching in stories and images, for I recognize that metaphors and imagination help students to engage with and retain content, and awaken their curiosity.

 Inspired by Juan Luis Segundo and Paulo Freire, I take on a hermeneutics of liberation and direct my students towards methods on critical thinking and theological discourse that account for the diversity and complexities of life. I do so in order to perform God-talk in just and faithful ways. I understand teaching and learning as an embodied practice, meaning that it accounts for all aspects of life and is not only a cognitive endeavor. I aspire for my pedagogy to be life-giving.

My interests lie in many areas, but fundamentally in practical theology, theology of hope, theology and popular culture, immigration and theology, Latinx theologies, theology of hope, postcolonial and decolonial theology, Caribbean religions, liberation theology, and collective memory.