Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity

This series explores the place of religious and spiritual life in a world that is sometimes at odds with faith, other times in search of it, and always at work reshaping it.

Lectures Online:

April 23, 2015
Consumerism, the Architecture of Indifference, and the Work of Solidarity — Vincent Miller, Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture at the University of Dayton, talks about how the full consequences of our consumption are hidden from us, and how we might change these shallow economic relationships to relationships of responsibility and solidarity. He is author of "Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture" (New York: Continuum, 2003) and working on a book about how globalization is affecting religious belief and communities.
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October 28, 2014
Unconscious Racial Bias and the Challenge of Solidarity: Catholic Social Teaching Post Trayvon Martin (and Michael Brown and ...)  - Rev. Bryan Massingale, professor of theological ethics at Marquette University, is author of "Racial Justice and the Catholic Church" (Orbis, 2010). He explores the culture of unconscious racial bias, racially-select sympathy and racial isolation that make the shootings of unarmed Black men seem normal and reasonable. And he reflects on Catholic social teaching about solidarity and being our brothers' and sisters' keeper to address the problem.
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Keeping, Changing, and Choosing Religious Faith
Two lectures in October will explore Americans' ties to religion across generations and the often overlooked group of Americans who are converting to Catholicism:

October 2, 2014
Millennials, Parents, and Grandparents: Are families still passing on their faith? — Vern Bengtson, faculty research associate with the Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging at the University of Southern California, talks about his 2013 book, “Families and Faith: Generations and the Transmissions of Religion.” In the largest-ever study of religion and family across generations, Bengtson and his colleagues followed more than 350 families for nearly four decades to find out how religion is, or is not, passed down from one generation to the next.
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October 23, 2014
How Do People Become Catholic? Formation, Incorporation, and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — David Yamane, associate professor of sociology at Wake Forest University, is author of “Becoming Catholic: Finding Rome in the American Religious Landscape.” He talks about the significance of Americans who convert to Catholicism and why, when the focus is more typically on those leaving the faith.
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April 8, 2014
Prophetic Rhetoric in the Public Square — Legal scholar and moral theologian M. Cathleen Kaveny, the newly named Darald and Juliet Libby Professor at Boston College, will discuss how Catholics in a pluralistic society should frame their public discussion of controversial issues. She will analyze both effective and divisive forms of prophetic speech and suggest various ways in which the tension between truth and civility can be identified and managed. Read more.
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October 29, 2013
Shared Responsibility: Re-imagining the Future of Governance in the Church - Mary McAleese is the popular former president of Ireland, serving two terms from 1997 to 2011, and author of "Quo Vadis? Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law" (Columba Press, 2013). She brings her experience in civil law and governance and her study of canon (church) law to a discussion of how authority might be more effectively shared in the church for the sake of realizing the vision of Vatican II.
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March 18, 2013
God and Evolution - Martin Nowak is professor of biology and of mathematics and director of the program for evolutionary dynamics at Harvard University. His latest book, "SuperCooperators," was published by Simon & Schuster in 2011. In this talk, he proposes that cooperation is the third fundamental principle of evolution after mutation and selection. He also addresses the tension between science and religion and suggests that science does not disprove the existence of God, and evolution should pose as little a problem for religion as gravity.
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February 18, 2013
Natural Law, God, and Human Dignity - Robert P. George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and founder and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. In this lecture, he explains that, according to natural law theory, all persons possess irreducible capacities for reason and freedom, and that moral norms are rooted in the good of human beings.
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February 12, 2013
The Burial of the Dead in the Modern Novel - Pericles Lewis, professor of English and comparative literature at Yale University, is assuming duties as president of the New Yale liberal arts college in Singapore. His talk explores the theme of the burial of the dead in the work of such authors James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, and William Faulkner.
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November 7, 2012
Coming to Terms with the Past: How our Understanding of the Christian Past shapes our Future — Kenneth Parker, associate professor of historical theology at Saint Louis University, will discuss how competing accounts of historical narrative are used to define the church today.
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October 16, 2012
Catholicism, Citizenship and Conscience: What Does It Mean to Be a Faith-filled Voter in our Polarized Society? — Bishop Robert W. McElroy is auxiliary bishop of San Francisco and the author of "Morality and American Foreign Policy" (Princeton, 1992). He holds degrees in history, political science and moral theology from Harvard, Stanford and the North American College in Rome.
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October 3, 2012
Living in China's Highly Politicized Church Today - Rev. Paul Mariani, S.J., assistant professor of history at Santa Clara University, will talk about religious policy and conflict in the People's Republic of China since 1950 and how Catholics in China understand their faith today. He is author of "Church Militant: Bishop Kung and Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai" (Harvard University Press, 2011).
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April 19, 2012
Along the Boundary of Faiths: Christianity and Islam on the 10th parallel - Journalist and poet Eliza Griswold, author of The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam, talks about her travels and research in North Africa and Central Asia, where high concentrations of Christians and Muslims live together.
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Read the interview with Griswold by sociology major Emily Comstock '12


February 2, 2012
Catholic Social Teaching, Bioethics and Justice - Lisa Sowle Cahill, the J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology at Boston College, talks about access to health care in the U.S. and globally from the perspective of a theological ethicist and progressive Catholic.
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November 8, 2011
Ignatius Loyola and Why It's Not Quite Enough to Do What Jesus Would Do — Philip Endean, S.J., who teaches theology at Campion Hall, Oxford University, suggests that knowledge of God is more than any encounter with Jesus Christ and that Ignatian spirituality calls on believers to continue where Jesus left off.
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October 18, 2011
The Resurgence of Religion in Global Politics - Monica Duffy Toft, associate professor of public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and director of the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs offers fresh perspectives on how and why religion's influence on politics is surging. Read more.
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April 26, 2011
Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made: My Journey to Womanism - Diana Hayes, professor of systematic theology at Georgetown University, speaks on womanist theology and themes in her 2010 publication, Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made: A Womanist Theology.
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March 16, 2011
Living with Hope in a Crucified World: Resurrection Faith, Ignatian Spirituality and Liberation Theology — J. Matthew Ashley, who chairs the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, shares a first glimpse of his new book on the impact of Ignatian spirituality on three 20th-century Jesuit theologians.
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November 8, 2010
Sacrifice and the Sacrifices of War — Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University Divinity School, a distinguished contemporary ethicist and pacifist, asserts that war is a moral practice and its Christian alternative is worship.
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October 5, 2010
An Ecological Inquiry: Jesus and the Cosmos — Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, will explore the traditional role of Jesus Christ as Savior of the human race and consider if his teachings can be applied to a more bio-centric or cosmos-centric theology. Part of the yearlong series In Our Lifetimes: Environmental Changes and Stewardship.
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April 7, 2010
Understanding the Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults in America - Christian Smith, director of the National Study of Youth and Religion, shares findings from the third wave of NSYR data collection of 18-23 year olds.
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October 5, 2009
The Mission of the Church in the Asian Context— Peter C. Phan, the Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University, provides an overview of the history and current situation of Catholicism in South and East Asia and then discusses how Christian mission is to be understood in that context.
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September 28, 2009
Mystical Transfers, Local and Global: The Modernity of 'Folk' Catholicism in the Philippines — Smita Lahiri, associate professor of anthropology at Harvard University, talks about her research at Mt. Banahaw, a major center of folk-Catholic pilgrimage in the Philippines. 
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March 16, 2009
The Religious Enlightenment - David Sorkin, Professor of History and Frances and Laurence Weinstein Professor of Jewish Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, presents a comparative Jewish, Protestant and Catholic intellectual history, and suggests that the Enlightenment, which gave birth to Modernity, should best be understood as a religious, not an anti-religious project.
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February 2, 2009
Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, visits from the Vatican to talk about the church's understanding of Christian responsibility for migrants, refugees and itinerant people.
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