Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Book In The Spotlight: “Transformations at the Edge of the World: Forming Global Christians through the Study Abroad Experience”

From time to time I highlight/review books on IHEC Blog and today I wanted to highlight a new book I received from (2010) Abilene Christian University Press that many IHEC Blog readers may find of interest.  Transformations at the Edge of the World: Forming Global Christians through the Study Abroad Experience is edited by Ronald J. Morgan and Cynthia Toms Smedley and is 272 pages in length.  Here is a description of Transformations at the Edge of the World from the website:

“For the editors of this volume, "the edge of the world" is neither a place of physical remoteness where cell phone coverage runs out nor a region of economic marginality. Instead, it is a place of personal transformations, the point of convergence between the individual student's spiritual development and her commitment to global engagement. The formation of such students requires a holistic approach to education, one that connects knowledge with action and heart with head. In the study abroad context, holistic education emphasizes ethical formation, cultivation of empathy, the creation of deep communities, and commitment to social responsibility.

This collection of essays is characterized by the diversity of its voices. The contributors represent a broad range of faith-based institutions and a wide array of academic disciplines. The study abroad programs they describe, scattered across five continents including North America, reflect a variety of models. Gathered into this pioneering collection are essays that theorize about the conjunction of spiritual formation and global engagement, share practices that are already bearing fruit, and identify potential areas of growth and improvement for the future.”

What I like about Transformations at the Edge of the World is that it focuses on an aspect of study abroad [spirituality] that is quite often neglected in the literature base of our field.  I found Transformations at the Edge of the World to be an excellent read and I highly recommend it to all colleagues and researchers in the field and not just those working at Christian Colleges, Universities and organizations.  Additionally, Transformations at the Edge of the World is very reasonably priced at $24.99 and you can order it here.  Following is an abbreviated Table of Contents:

Table of Contents
Foreword—Ken Bussema (Vice President of the Council for Christian Colleges and

Introduction—Cynthia Toms Smedley (University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana;
Center for Social Concerns)

Part I:
The Journey Inward

Chapter One: Doors to Transformation— Janine Paden Morgan (Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas; ACU in Oxford)

Chapter Two: Students Abroad as Tourists and Pilgrims— John D. Barbour (St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota; semester in Asia)

Chapter Three: Reflection as a Means of Discovery: Where Is God in the Experience?— Andrea Smith Shappell (University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana; Center for Social Concerns)

Chapter Four: Seizing the “God Appointments” When There Is Cultural Disorientation in a Study Abroad Program— Lon Fendall (George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon; semester in Bolivia-Paraguay)

Part II:
Inward Journey to Outward Living: Community Teacher

Chapter Five: New Monasticism Meets Renaissance Bottega: Gordon College’s Semester Program in Orvieto, Italy— JohnSkillen (Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts; semester in Orvieto, Italy)

Chapter Six: An Intentional Roman Catholic Community: Integrating Faith, Reason, and Service at the Heart of the Church— Don Briel (University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota; semester in Rome)

Part III:
Coming Face to Face with the Social Other: Bridging Intercommunal Divides

Chapter Seven: “With Open Eyes”: Cultivating World Christians through Intercultural Awareness— Laura Montgomery and Mary Docter (Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California; Westmont in Mexico)

Chapter Eight: Who Is My Neighbor? Forming Kingdom People in a World of Conflict— Ronald J. Morgan (Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas; ACU in Oxford)

Chapter Nine: Middle Eastern Mirrors for the Children of Empire— David Holt (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities [CCCU] Middle East Studies Program, Cairo, Egypt)

Chapter Ten: San Francisco Urban Program: Encountering America’s Future-Tense— Scott McClelland, Karen Andrews, and Brad Berky (Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California; San Francisco Urban Program)

Part IV:
TheYear of the Lord’s Good Favor: Cultivating Solidarity with the Global Poor

Chapter Eleven: Learning from Slums: Study and Service in Solidarity with the World’s Urban Poor— Richard Slimbach (Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California; Global Studies Program, India, Philippines, and Haiti)

Chapter Twelve: The Phenomenology of a Christian Environmental Study Abroad Program— Chris Elisara (Creation Care Study Program, San Diego, California; Belize, New Zealand, and Samoa)

Chapter Thirteen: The Study Service Term: An Alignment of a Religious Tradition with an Academic Program— Thomas J. Meyers (Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana; Study Service Term, primarily working in developing countries)

Conclusion: Toward Successful Transformations— Ronald J. Morgan (Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas; ACU in Oxford)

Appendix: Liturgies for Study Abroad— Janine Paden Morgan (Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas; ACU in Oxford)


  1. David, looks like a great book! Is it strictly from a Christian perspective?

  2. @Casey ~ Yes, this book is strictly from a Christian perspective. I would love to see other books or even some articles looking at study abroad from a Muslim or Jewish or other religious perspective as well.