Academic Theology as Liberation and Resistance

First in the Theological Education in Prisons Series

This presentation examines the role academic theology programs in jails and prisons may play in the work of resisting the carceral system. Certificate and degree programs in theological studies, often sponsored by seminaries and divinity schools, are part of a larger national movement that sees higher education in prison as a vital resource in the work of advocacy and resistance. The presentation will briefly examine the role Christian education has played historically and today to bolster the prison and, in contrast, will outline four characteristics of programs that are in the service of liberation. While doing so, the presentation will lift up the voices of incarcerated students, sharing the theological insights of women matriculating through an academic theology certificate program in Georgia, which served as a model for a similar program created at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

How it Works

When: Available Now

Duration: 75 minutes

Format: Recorded

Price: Free

What You'll Learn

  • Explore the role of academic theology programs in prisons
  • Learn about the role the Church played in the creation of our prison system, and four ways theology programs work toward liberation

Who Should Enroll

If you preach regularly—whether pastor or lay person—you will find much to draw from in this course


Jennifer McBride

Jennifer McBride

Jennifer McBride is associate dean and assistant professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. McBride previously held the Board of Regents Endowed Chair in Ethics at Wartburg College in Iowa and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology at Emory University. At Emory, she served as program director for the Atlanta Theological Association’s Certificate in Theological Studies at Metro State Prison for Women (2009-2011). She founded a similar program through McCormick at Cook County Department of Corrections and serves as the academic representative of McCormick’s Solidarity Building Initiative. She is a graduate of University of Virginia (PhD) and author of Radical Discipleship: A Liturgical Politics of the Gospel (Fortress Press, 2017). Her most recent essays include “Bonhoeffer’s Critique of Morality: A Theological Resource for Dismantling Mass Incarceration” in Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Theology, and Political Resistance (2020). In addition to scholarly journals and anthologies, her work has appeared in popular publications like The Christian Century and CNN.com and has been featured in The New York Times.

Price: $0.00

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Senior Pastor, Asbury United Methodist Church, Atlantic City, NJ

Latasha Milton, Class of 2018

“My passion is doing what I can to empower and liberate people who are hurting. PTS has made me a better person and pastor because it’s given me the tools to better serve the oppressed and marginalized.”