A joint project of the Graduate School, Peabody College, and the Jean & Alexander Heard Library

Title page for ETD etd-03242011-202645

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Van Zee, Karla D.
Author's Email Address karla.van.zee@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-03242011-202645
Title Emerging Adults and A-ha Moments: Practical Theological Descriptions of Their Formative Experiences Involving Crisis, Relationships, and Practices
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bonnie Miller-McLemore Committee Chair
Barbara McClure Committee Member
Volney Gay Committee Member
  • practical theology
  • religion and science
  • formation
  • a-ha moments
  • emerging adults
  • crisis
  • practice
Date of Defense 2011-03-03
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation focuses on essays from forty-eight college students in which each student answers the question: What has been your biggest “a-ha moment” in college? I argue that a rich, thick, and complex set of lenses is needed to understand these experiences and the inherently interdisciplinary approach of practical theology, grounded in critical hermeneutical theory, is one of the best ways to guide this search. My hypothesis is that a practical theological examination of these essays has explanatory power for interpreting and understanding college student development and formation. Locating my methodology in critical hermeneutical theory, I construct four theoretical lenses to view the essays: (1) a psychosocial lens focusing on emerging adulthood; (2) a psychological lens concentrating on object relations theory (ORT); (3) a pastoral theological lens addressing crisis; and (4) a practical theological lens focusing on the concept of practices. By constructing a set of critical lenses to view the essays, a richer understanding emerges than that found in empirical studies. Using the resources of descriptive theology and thick description, I conclude the dissertation with seven suggestions for higher education based on the practical wisdom, or phronesis, found within the essays.
  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  VanZee.pdf 1.58 Mb 00:07:20 00:03:46 00:03:18 00:01:39 00:00:08

Browse All Available ETDs by ( Author | Department )

If you have more questions or technical problems, please Contact LITS.