Rev. Cláudio Carvalhaes, MA, MDiv, PhD `07
Professor of Worship
3041 Broadway, AD 401
New York, NY 10027
M.Div., Independent Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1995
M.Phil.,Methodist University of Sao Paulo, 1997
M.Phil., Union Theological Seminary, 2006
Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary, 2007
Cláudio Carvalhaes, theologian, liturgist and artist, a native Brazilian, completed his Ph.D. in Liturgy and Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 2007. He earned a Master of Philosophy in Theology, Philosophy, and History at the Methodist University of Sao Paulo in 1997 and a Master of Divinity from the Independent Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Sao Paulo, Brazil) in 1992.
Previously, Dr. Carvalhaes taught at McCormick Theological Seminary, Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Carvalhaes is an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
A much sought after speaker, writer, performer, and consultant, Dr. Carvalhaes has preached at Wild Goose Festival, Festival of Homiletics, Forum for Theological Education, Child Defense Fund – Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry, Academy of Homiletics and many other places. He has given lectures at the Liturgy Symposium Series at Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, the Buddhist-Christian Conference at Denison University, the 7th Aasta Hansteen Lecture on Gender and Religion in Oslo, Norway, the Jubilee 800 Order of Preachers of the Dominican Order at the Vatican, Italy, Societas Liturgica in Belgium, Liturgical Conference in Germany, and the International Academy of Practical Theology in Brazil. He led worship for the All African Council of Churches in Mozambique, taught at the Global Institute of Theology of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and leads worship and teaches at the Hispanic Summer Program since 2013.
Recently he has been working on a global project called Re-Imagining Worship As Acts Of Defiance And Alternatives In The Context Of Empire. With a grant from the Council of World Mission, he is leading a workshop on liturgy amidst the poor with scholars, pastors and students in four continents: Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe.
Dr. Carvalhaes, the author of three books in Portuguese, has edited two books celebrating the work of Jaci C. Maraschin and Ivone Gebara. He has published a book in English, “Eucharist and Globalization: Redrawing the Borders of Eucharistic Hospitality” (Wipf&Stock, 2013) and is the editor of “Liturgy in Postcolonial Perspectives – Only One is Holy,” (New York: Palgrave Macmillan: Post Colonialism and Religions Series, 2015). His upcoming books are: “What Has Worship Got To Do With It? Interpreting Life, Church and the World Liturgically” (Cascade Books, 2018) and “Preaching and Liberation Theology: Metaphors for Our Time,” (Abingdon Press, 2019). He also recently edited Forms of Speech, Religion and Social Resistance, CrossCurrents, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Summer 2016), Black Religions in Brazil/Religiões Negras no Brasil. Editors: Cláudio Carvalhaes and Marcos Silva. CrossCurrents, Vol. 68, No. 1 (Winter 2017) and The Poetics of Religion in Rubem Alves. Editors: Claudio Carvalhaes and Paulo Augusto S. Nogueira, Estudos de Religião, Brasil V. 32, N. 2 (Summer 2017).
A member of the American Academy of Religion, Dr. Carvalhaes is a member of its Theological Education Committee. He was the co-chair of the Arts, Religion, and Literature Group, and serves now on the board of the Liberation Theology Group. He is also a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, Academy of Homiletics and the International Academy of Practical Theology. Dr. Carvalhaes serves on the editorial/advisory board of academic journals and publishing houses including Currents of Encounter Series (Brill, Netherlands); Cross-Currents; Ecclesial Practices: Journal of Ecclesiology and Ethnography; Horizontes Decoloniales/Decolonial Horizons (Argentina) and TEAR: Journal of Liturgical Resources of CLAI, Conselho Latino Americano de Igrejas.
Dr. Carvalhaes says he is at home at Union, a school that formed him and changed his life. Union contributed immensely to turn a shoeshine boy into a scholar, he explains.
FALL 2020, FALL 2021
How do we imagine performance, public worship and ritual practices in the face of ecological disasters, white supremacy, extreme poverty, violence and interreligious dialogue? This course introduces students to the performative ways we enact religious and non-religious beliefs that constitute public performances, rituals, Christian worship and rites of passages. The following techniques are explored: ritual structural patterns, theological themes/frameworks, spiritual paths, aesthetics, ethical issues and historical-social-cultural practices.
What are the markers of hospitality and hostility around the sacraments? What does the rite of baptism have to do with issues of health, ecology, inclusion, justice and the poor? How is the celebration of the Eucharist associated with notions of international power, race, land/food, world migration and non-documented immigrants in US? This course seeks to connect the philosophical, social, political, racial, class, and sexual references that mark the Christian faith but usually go unnoticed in the theological thinking with the liturgical practices of the sacraments. In order to do that, this course intends to offer tools for the students to make connections between the sacraments and historical processes of globalization, under the rubrics of hospitality.
Prayer is said to be the grammar of faith and this course delves into the heart of liturgy: prayer. By going to poor and abandoned places in New York City, students learn how to pray from below. By being with the poor, we learn a new grammar for our theologies and spiritualties. We learn about prayers from other traditions which help us understand those at the margins that are different from non-Christian perspectives. With this new vocabulary, students are able to create a narrative/action, word/performance that help defy the structures of Empire.
This course offers an exploration of the connections between theology and the arts through ecological performances and ritual studies. The goal of the course is to do what Airton Krenack and Bruno Latour call ‘ecologise,’ which is a way of relating fully with everything around us. In this course, students explore the social- ecological history of Manhattan sites and look at ways contemporary performing artists, indigenous voices, and contemplative communities are all disrupting anthropocentrism and entangling concepts of built/natural environment. Structured as a performance practicum, students will explore strategies to ecologize both our learning processes and our urban surroundings. Each class will anchor on a bodily sense: touch, taste, sound, smell, vision and spirit; and be divided in two sessions. Mornings we will explore embodied practices and discuss readings. In the afternoon, students will take off-campus site visits to the areas researched each class and create ritual interventions.
The earth must be the ground zero of our thinking and practice. In this course, we learn about the ways our world is organized around a capitalistic system called extractivism. Extractivism is the ongoing work of coloniality, the turning of the earth and all its forms of life into profit. This system organizes the political, theological, economic and emotional resources of our time, also called the anthropocene. Students learn how to respond to this way of being by creating rituals and liturgies based on readings, discussions and videos.
The ongoing ecological collapse demands us to find new language, new thinking, new gestures, and new ways of understanding relations and subjectivities. This course challenges forms of theology that focus only on humans that dismiss the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds. Students engage theology, anthropology, philosophy, and performance theory in a two-fold exploration: first, by looking at natural theology and its relations with perspectivism/animism/pantheism that engage with other forms of life and subjects; second, by studying performance theory and how ritual structures shift when we consider other forms of life and subjects. Starting from a Christian perspective, this course offers tools for students of different religious traditions to engage their understandings and practices of the sacred and its relation with the earth.
If Christian worship entails definitions of what is to be human, this course engages the question: what is to be (the) earth? In this interdisciplinary course, we read important works from philosophical, anthropological, political, and indigenous perspectives on the earth, the environment and the anthropocene. From these expansive forms of knowledges and understandings, we engage in learning and dialoguing, recognizing challenges, correcting and expanding Christian notions of liturgical theologies, worship, rituals and liturgies in order to response to the current climate catastrophe of our time.