Seeking Justice: The Journey of John C. Raines

A festschrift is historically understood as a collection of academic writings gathered to honor someone, and it is still a common element of the academic world today. Yet the commonplace character of a festschrift in no way diminishes the high regard and esteem in which the one being honored is held by former students and colleagues. And that is certainly the situation in this innovative e-festschrift in honor of the extraordinary Dr. John C. Raines.

What is rare in this case is that students and colleagues, spanning generations and geographies, have come together to recognize the contributions this teacher and scholar made in their academic and personal lives. John Raines, professor of religion at Temple University for over forty years, is worthy of recognition and deep gratitude for the profound and wide-ranging impact he has made in the academy, in society, among his students, and upon the students of his students. We, his students from across the years and now in far-flung places, are more rigorous scholars and more courageous activists because we had Dr. Raines as a motivating guide and friend.

Sitting in his classrooms compelled us not only to consider how power operates within society but, more importantly, our complicity with prevailing social structures. Cognizant of his own social location and the powers that are derived by his gender, race, ethnicity, class, and orientation, Raines moved toward dismantling the very structures that privileged him. In his own teaching he modeled how we could become better teachers.

His example, as well as his words, makes him one of the premier scholars of the academy; and for his witness, his testimony, and his example, we—his students—are deeply grateful. This present collection is a variety of pieces, some words of reflection, others statements of appreciation, and some scholarly essays, along with photographs and recorded interviews. By their very diversity these multifaceted contributions attest to the numerous ways Dr. Raines influenced our lives both individually as well as for a greater common good that he helped us envision. And so we offer this collection in celebration and with deep appreciation to our teacher, mentor, and colleague:
John C. Raines.

Festschrift Essays

Photos of John

Additional Information



Special thanks to Professors Miguel De La Torre and Edwin Aponte for their leadership in creating this Festschrift. This was their vision. We thank Patricia Way for serving as an editor on this project. We thank Gayle Schooley, our extraordinary administrator for curating this project and Amanda Stankiewicz in the College of Liberal Arts for making the website. We are grateful to the College of Liberal Arts Development office and the Religion Department Development Fund for their support of this project . And we thank Professor Khalid Blankinship and Professor Laura Levitt, the current and past chairs of the Religion Department for seeing through the launch of this website.