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Events at the McFarland Center

Featured Event

Wrongful Convictions: Working for Justice in Modern America

Tuesday, October 24, 2023
7:30 p.m., Hogan Ballroom, Hogan Campus Center

On July 17, 1982, a young woman was raped by a black man whom she said was a total stranger. At trial, the victim testified in detail regarding the assault and identified Marvin Anderson as her assailant. At age 18, Anderson was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to 210 years in prison. In 2001, after years of effort to draw attention to exculpatory evidence, the Innocence Project won access to DNA testing that excluded Anderson as the person who committed the crime. Anderson was granted a full pardon. Today, he is the father of three children and serves as Chief of the Hanover, Virginia Fire Department and on the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project.  
Christina Swarns, Executive Director of the Innocence Project, and Marvin Anderson, that exoneree, talk about the challenges we face to prevent wrongful convictions and how we can create fairer, more compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. 

Fall 2023

Close and Apart: Collaboration, Connection, and Community

Tuesday, September 12, 2023
7:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Close and Apart

When Christopher Gregory got his driver’s license in 2008, he registered as an organ donor. Soon afterward, Chris died from a brain aneurysm—and six desperate strangers received his organs. Eric Gregory, Chris’s father, wrote a memoir about his son and the friendships the family developed with his organ recipients.
What are the ethics of making art inspired by someone else's story? This question is just one of the many considerations that went into Close and Apart, the song cycle inspired by Eric's memoir. Join collaborators Matthew Jaskot, composer and Professor of Music, and Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, poet and Professor of English, along with Eric Gregory, author of All My Tomorrows: A Story of Tragedy, Transplant, and Hope, and Grace Gregory, for this conversation. 
Plus, don't miss the world premiere of Close and Apart at 7 p.m. on September 12th in Luth Concert Hall, Prior Center for the Performing Arts.

When Immigration Was Stopped by Eugenics: A Dark Chapter in American History

Thursday, September 21, 2023
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Daniel Okrent

At the turn of the last century, a movement to stop immigration from southern and eastern Europe began to take shape. Daniel Okrent, a prize-winning author of six books, talks about how this movement united with the simultaneous development of the false science of eugenics. This convergence resulted in 1924 laws that effectively stopped immigration from several European countries for the next four decades.
This lecture is a part of the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Bots in the Kitchen: A Philosophical Take on the Digital Food Transformation

Friday, September 22, 2023
3:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Andrea Borghini

The digital food transformation promises to rationalize food systems, forge ahead with healthy eating, swiftly create food cultures, and much more. All of this, though, requires the ability to adequately represent the elusive and transitory nature of food and food practices in some formal language. Andrea Borghini, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Milan, Italy, unearthes the ethical and theoretical perils and prospects that digital food transformation creates.
This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Philosophy. 

Nature, Norms, and Society: Seven Hills Workshop

Saturday, September 23, 2023
10 a.m.-6 p.m., Smith Hall 501

Human beings are simultaneously part of nature and a normatively structured social realm within which they have to live up to certain normative commitments and moral obligations. Yet nature, or so the sciences seem to tell us, is the realm of plain facts. Such facts might cause us to do certain things, but they do not tell us what we should do; they do not oblige us normatively. The workshop will address this conundrum through the discussion of five papers. The papers explore the exact nature of the philosophical commitment to the framework of naturalism, suggest ways in which our normative commitments might be tied to our empathic capacities, and analyze the intricate entanglement of fact and values in constituting certain aspects of our food practices.
This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Philosophy. 

Saving the University from Doom: Ethnic Studies as Ethics; Community as Praxis

Monday, September 25, 2023
4:30 p.m., Online via Zoom

Lorgia García Peña

Our colleges and universities sit on stolen land, built by enslaved labor to serve the interests of exclusive colonial structures. For years we have tried to decolonize the university via legislation and practices aimed at creating modes of inclusion. Now, some of those laws and practices are under attack. Lorgia García Peña, professor at the Effron Center for the Study of America and the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, proposes community and ethnic studies as an antidote to the ethical dilemma we face as a university community, confronting the legacies of colonialism and slavery and co-creating freedom in our classrooms and beyond. 
This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.

Why Women Won

Tuesday, September 26, 2023
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall 

Claudia Goldin

How, when, and why did women in the US obtain legal rights equal to men’s, decades after they gained the right to vote? Of the 155 critical moments in women’s rights history from 1905 to 2023, almost half occurred between 1963 and 1973. Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University, explains how the civil rights movement and the somewhat fortuitous nature of the early and key women’s rights legislation were behind the advances and then how a substantial group of women emerged in the late 1970s to champion a different vision for women.
This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Economics and Accounting.

CANCELLED - The Survivors Among Us: Today and Tomorrow

Monday, October 16, 2023
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Alan Rosen

There is considerable discussion about what to do now that we are on the verge of having Holocaust survivors disappear from our midst. To Alan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt Scholar in Residence, this preoccupation with the so-called disappearance of survivors is misguided and is fraught with ethical, scholarly, social, and pedagogic problems. This talk examines what might lie behind this questionable focus on the survivors’ disappearance and sets out a different way to think about the survivors among us, highlighting the lessons we continue to glean from knowing them personally as well as learning about their remarkable lives.

Rethinking the Ethics of War in the Face of the Invasion of Ukraine

Thursday, October 19, 2023
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Catholic and other Christian traditions have tried for centuries to develop ethical norms for when it could be just to go to war and how we are obliged to behave during war.  Does the invasion of Ukraine require us to rethink some of the priorities and directions of Catholic Just War Theory and/or Christian non-violence?  Does either tradition give us adequate guidance in the face of the reality of invasion?
This panel features David O'Brien, Professor Emeritus and Loyola Professor of Roman Catholic Studies at Holy Cross, Andrea Bartoli, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Peacemaking Practice and President of the Sant’Egidio Foundation for Peace and Dialogue, and Laurie Johnston, Associate Professor of Theology at Emmanuel College and co-author of Can War be Just in the 21st Century?. 
Plus: Join Andrea Bartoli the day before, Wednesday, October 18th at noon, for a luncheon reflection on the rhetorical and practical impact of the increased nuclear threat emerging from the invasion of Ukraine. Open to HC Students, faculty, and staff by registration.
This event is co-sponsored with the Peace and Conflict Studies concentration and is part of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion & Modernity. 

W. Ralph Eubanks: Vocation of the writer 

Thursday, October 19, 2023
7:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

W. Ralph Eubanks

The latest Vocation of the Writer Lecture features W. Ralph Eubanks, the author of A Place Like Mississippi. The book takes readers on a tour of real and imagined landscapes that have inspired generations of writers. Eubanks has written for the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, American Scholar, New Yorker, WIRED, and National Public Radio.  In 2023, he was honored with the Mississippi Governor’s Arts Award for literary excellence. 
The Vocation of the Writer Lecture is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program as part of its Working Writers Series and the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture.

A Theology of Migration, The Bodies of Refugees, and the Body of Christ

Wednesday, October 25, 2023
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Father Dan Groody

Fr. Daniel Groody, C.S.C., professor of theology and global affairs, is the vice president and associate provost for undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame. An internationally recognized expert on migration and refugee issues whose papers and books have been translated into seven languages, he is the author of Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice: Navigating the Path to Peace and Border of Death, Valley of Life: An Immigrant Journey of Heart and Spirit. He has edited or co-edited four books on poverty, justice, and migration.

Infinite Canaan: The NewSpace Race in Colonial Context

Monday, November 6, 2023
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Mary-Jane Rubenstein

As the era of “NewSpace” takes hold, corporations and private capital are increasingly involved in space science, exploration, and conquest. Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Professor of Religion and Science in Society at Wesleyan University, explains the escalating NewSpace race as a mythological project. Grounded in God’s gift of the Promised Land (Canaan), this mythology backs the corporate-military seizure of the solar system. The question, then, is whether there might be a different approach to exploring outer space. Is there a way to visit or even to live on multiple planets without ransacking them? And might we find ways to heal our ravaged Earth in the process?