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Interrupting Violence: A Case Study into a Power and a Principality

February 5-6, March 4-5, April 15-16

Taking place at locations in the South Side of Chicago and taught by Garrett-Evangelical professors, Dr. Nancy Bedford and Dr. Angela Cowser, Interrupting Violence: A Case Study into a Power and a Principality will help seminary students, clergy, and community leaders understand the theological, sociological, and economic roots of violence. This will mean recognizing the hidden dimensions of violence (symbolic and systemic), not just its obvious manifestations. Course participants will learn ways of staying safe and to help stop the cycle of violence. Through pre-readings, readings, discussions, interviews, analysis of cultural artifacts, and interaction with specific perpetrators and survivors of violence, participants will gain a deeper understanding of violence, and discover/discern responses to it that are cogent and congruent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Nancy Bedford

Nancy Elizabeth Bedford, Dr. theol. (Tübingen, 1994), was born in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina. She has been Georgia Harkness Professor of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston) since 2003. Previously she taught theology at Instituto Universitario ISEDET and Seminario Internacional Teológico Bautista (both in Buenos Aires). She has written or edited eight books and written over 70 book chapters and journal articles, which have appeared in five languages.

Her latest book is Galatians, A Theological Commentary forthcoming summer 2016 from WJK in the Belief series. Her current project is on the Christology of the marvelous exchange from a Latin American and Latino/a perspective. Her research interests focus on global feminist theories and theologies, Latin American theologies, Latino/Latina theologies in North America, theologies in migration, liberating readings of Scripture, hermeneutics, and the rearticulation of classical doctrinal loci from the perspective of critical, artistic and poetic reason.

She is a member of Reba Place Church (Mennonite) in Evanston, where she is on the preaching rotation. She is married to Daniel Stutz, with whom she has three daughters, Valeria, Sofía and Carolina.

Dr. Angela Cowser

Angela Cowser is the director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience (CBE) and assistant professor of sociology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

In the classroom and in the church, she comes as a sociologist of religion, community organizer, and pastor, and as such, tries to give her students theological, ethical, and sociological tools to help them think and act in ways that deal realistically with the world as it is, while they dream, plan, and organize towards the world as it should be. The world as it should be a place where all people are healthy and secure, strong and prosperous, and just, especially towards the poor, and where the people of God are educated rightly on the ways and means of God. Her vocation as a teacher is to help students who hunger and thirst for justice and mercy and equity work effectively and concretely towards these values in this world which God so loves.

Cowser received her bachelor of arts in political science in 1982, a master of arts in international relations from The University of Chicago in 1988, and a master of divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2006. She completed her doctor of philosophy in ethics and society in May of 2012 from the graduate department of religion at Vanderbilt University. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships, honors and awards including most recently, the William J. Fulbright Foreign Scholarship in 2009 and The Fund for Theological Education Doctoral Fellowship in 2006 through 2008. 

Download Syllabus (Draft)

Meeting Times and Topics (Locations TBD)

First Session: February 5-6, 2016
Understanding Violence

Second Session: March 4-5, 2016
Discerning Violence

Third Session: April 15-16, 2016
Interrupting Violence

Seminary Students

Course credit is available for Garrett-Evangelical students through the normal registration procedures. ACTS students may register through normal cross-registration procedures (contact your registrar for more information). Students at other institutions outside of ACTS may contact the Garrett-Evangelical Registrar's Office at for more information.

Clergy and Community Leaders

Though space is limited, half of the course slots have been reserved for clergy and community leaders to participate in the course at a reduced cost and earn three Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Registration is closed.

Required Course Texts

  • Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City by Elijah Anderson
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Dangerous Personalities. An FBI Profiler Shows You How To Identify and Protect Yourself from Harmful People by Joe Navarro
  • Jesus and Nonviolence. A Third Way by Walter Wink

Supplemental Readings

  • Abrams, Laura and Terry, Diane. “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide. How Formerly Incarcerated Young Men Navigate Neighborhood Risks.” Children and Youth Services Review 47 (2014) 61–69
  • Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow. Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: The New Press, 2012
  • Anderson, Kristin and Umberson, Debra. “Gendering Violence: Masculinity and Power in Men's Accounts of Domestic Violence.” Gender and Society 15 (Jun., 2001) 358-380
  • Brown, Geneva. “Ain’t I a Victim? The Intersectionality of Race, Class and Gender in Domestic Violence.” Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender 147 (Fall 2012)
  • Cady, Duane L. “Violence.” Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Second Edition. DeVerteuil, Geoffrey. “Conceptualizing Violence for Health and Medical Geography.” Social Science and Medicine 133 (2015) 216-222
  • Gray, Kevin Alexander, St. Clair, Jeffrey and Wypijewski, JoAnn (eds). Killing Trayvons. An Anthology of American Violence. Petrolia, CA: CounterPunch Books, 2014
  • Graves, Joseph. “Violence, Racial.” Encyclopedia of Race and Racism. Second Edition (2013)
  • Guerra, Nancy and Knox, Lyndee. “Violence.” Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice (2002)
  • Holloway, Kalli. “Masculinity is Killing Men. The Roots of Men and Trauma.” June 6, 2015 (
  • Johnson, H. “What Can Be Done To End Violence Against Women?”
  • Juergensmeyer, Mark. “Nonviolence.” Encyclopedia of Religion. Second Edition
  • Lawrence, Bruce B. and Karim, Aisha (eds). On Violence. A Reader. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007
  • Levin, Jack and Rabrenovic, Gordana. “The Sociology of Violence.” 21st Century Sociology. Ed. Clifton D. Bryant, and Dennis L. Peck. Thousand Oaks CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:
  • McPhillips, Kathleen. “Global Violence. Some Thoughts on Hope and Change.” Feminist Theology 14 (2005) 25-34
  • Moe-Lobeda, Cynthia, “Structural Violence and Structural Evil” and “Love in Action: Resistance and Rebuilding,” in: Resisting Structural Evil. Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013, pp. 49-81 and 271-299
  • Moore, Natalie. 48 Hours in Chicago (August 2013, at:
  • Sharkey, Patrick. Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013
  • “What is GBV (Gender Based Violence)?” Prevention of Domestic Violence and Trafficking in Human Beings, Training Manual, Winrock International, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2001 (