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Events at the McFarland Center

Fall 2019

Events are free and open to the public unless specified otherwise. Most events are recorded. Find videos of past events on the Listen and Learn page.

The Uninhabitable EarthThursday, August 22; 1-4 p.m., Rehm Library
Faculty Book Discussion: The Uninhabitable Earth — Holy Cross faculty are invited to join in an afternoon discussion of the First Year summer reading assignment, David Wallace-Wells' "The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming" (Penguin Random House, 2019). The group will discuss the contents and issues laid out in the book as well as share ideas on teaching and engaging students in purposeful discussions.

Erika Spanger-SiegfriedTuesday, September 10; 6:30 p.m., Seelos Theater
Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days — Erika Spanger-Siegfried, a senior analyst in the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, will review data from a recent report on the future of extreme heat in the United States. The results highlight a stark choice: We can continue on our current path, where we fail to reduce emissions and extreme heat soars. Or we can take bold action now to dramatically reduce emissions and prevent the worst from becoming reality. Co-sponsored with Sociology and Anthropology and Political Science.

Tuesday, September 17; 4 p.m., Rehm Library
Climate Change and the Role of the New Generation to Take Ethical Action —  Filmmaker Marcos Negrão will share stories and videos from his new documentary, "Child of Nature," of powerful actions taken by youth around the world. In the presentation, he will discuss the role of the new generation in creating positive change, bringing about ethical solutions, and participating in the decision-making for sustainable progress.

Daniel PhilpottThursday, September 19; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
The Islam Question: Why Religious Freedom is the Answer — Daniel Philpott, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, drawing on his newly published book, “Religious Freedom In Islam: The Fate of a Universal Human Right in the Muslim World Today” (Oxford University Press, 2019), intervenes in our culture war over Islam, arguing that religious freedom can contribute to finding a consensus, showing why and how religious freedom can be expanded in the Muslim world, and how the Catholic Church's own journey to religious freedom can help. One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

James NickoloffMonday, September 23; 4 p.m., Rehm Library
"Gay" and "Catholic": Evolving Identities — James Nickoloff, Holy Cross associate professor emeritus of religious studies, explores how the traditional Catholic understanding of the human person is being called into question by science and by the lived experience of real people, especially those whose sexuality is not exclusively heterosexual. Nickoloff is director of ministerial formation at Barry University. Co-sponsored with the Office of College Chaplains.

John GuyThursday, September 26; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Crowns of Transformation: How Vajrācāryas become Bodhisattvas — John Guy, Florence and Herbert Irving Curator of the Arts of South and Southeast Asia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, describes the ritual use of Vajrācāryas crowns and the windows that their contemporary use provides into the medieval Indian origins of these key objects of Vajrayana practice. His talk is in conjunction with the Cantor Art Gallery exhibition Dharma and Puṇya: Buddhist Ritual Arts of Nepal. One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

Erin KellyWednesday, October 9; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library 
Stranded Behind Bars: The Failure of Retributive Justice — Erin Kelly, professor of philosophy at Tufts University and author of “The Limits of Blame: Rethinking Punishment and Responsibility” (Harvard University Press, 2018), explains how retributive justice exaggerates the moral meaning of criminal guilt, normalizes excessive punishment, and distracts from shared responsibility for social injustice.

Monday, October 21; 4 p.m., Rehm Library
Fishbowl Discussion of "The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming" — In his best-selling book "The Uninhabitable Earth," David Wallace-Wells paints a stark, even apocalyptic portrait of the future. Led by Holy Cross faculty Kendy Hess, Brake Smith Associate Professor of Social Philosophy and Ethics; Ellis Jones, assistant professor of sociology; Katherine Kiel, professor of economics; Renee LeBlanc '21; and Sara Mitchell, associate professor of biology; this discussion will summarize and assess the claims made in the book, reflect on how to sustain hope under such challenging circumstances, and ask how we should live in light of what's predicted. McFarland Center Director Thomas M. Landy will moderate. Co-sponsored with Environmental Studies and the Class Deans.

Wednesday, October 23; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Anne Frank, Otto Frank, and the Creation of Memory — This fall, Roger Guenveur Smith, the award-winning playwright and actor, will be coming to Holy Cross to do a one-person performance based on the well-known story of Anne Frank. Of special concern for Smith is the figure of Otto Frank, Anne's father, who would bring her diary to the world. Following Smith's performance, a panel discussion featuring Thomas Doughton, senior lecturer in CIS; Edward Isser, W. Arthur Garrity, Sr. Professor in Human Nature, Ethics, and Society; and Theresa McBride, professor of history; will join Smith and moderator Mark Freeman, Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society, to explore the profound complexities entailed in the creation of both individual and collective memory. Supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Pietro AmeglioMonday, October 28; 4 p.m., Rehm Library
Civil Disobedience as a Moral Weapon for Inhuman Times — Pietro Ameglio is one of the most important teachers and practitioners of active nonviolence in Latin America today. He is a key organizer in the Mexican Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity that emerged in 2011 in response to the spiraling toll of dead and disappeared in the so-called "war on drugs." He co-founded the Mexican Peace and Justice Service and Thinking Out Loud, a Gandhian-inspired nonviolent action collective in Mexico, and authored the book "Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: Mexico Today" (2002). Co-sponsored with Peace and Conflict Studies.

Andrew Davis Mahri Leonard-FleckmanWednesday, November 6; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Wrestling with the Word: Moral Ambiguity in the Hebrew Bible — Andrew Davis, associate professor of Old Testament at Boston College, and Mahri Leonard Fleckman, assistant professor of religious studies at Holy Cross, assert that while reading the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, requires different rules of engagement than the New Testament, it seeks to immerse us in the most difficult issues of human nature, and that its lessons can speak to our world today.

Dr. Andrew KolodnyThursday, November 7; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Responding to the Opioid Epidemic — One of the premier experts on opioids and addiction, Dr. Andrew Kolodny is the co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and the executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. In this talk, he will provide an overview of the current state of the opioid crisis, and the role of prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl on opioid-related morbidity and mortality. The discussion will also include factors that led to the crises and strategies for bringing it under control.

Juliana FlinnMonday, November 11; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Mary in Micronesia: Breadwinner, Protector, and Strong Model for Women — Juliana Flinn, professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas Little Rock and author of "Mary, the Devil and Taro: Catholicism and Women's Work in a Micronesian Society" (University of Hawaii Press, 2010), describes how gender roles among Pollapese Catholics in Micronesia influence their strong image of Mary. Part of the McFarland Center’s initiative on Catholics & Cultures.

Alan RosenWednesday, November 13; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Memory as Protest: How and Why We Remember the Holocaust—Alan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt Scholar in Residence, will explore the ethics of commemoration. Rosen is a lecturer at Yad Vashem, and has held fellowships at the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah in Paris and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Holland CotterThursday, November 14; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Believe in Belief: Looking at Religious Art — Holland Cotter, co-chief art critic of The New York Times, will speak on his approach to viewing and critiquing religious art. In connection with the Cantor Art Gallery exhibition, Dharma and Puṇya: Buddhist Ritual Arts of Nepal. One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

Rafael LucianiWednesday, December 4; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
A New Way of Being Church: The Latin American roots of Pope Francis reforms — Rafael Luciani, a leading Latin American theologian and associate professor of the practice at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, will discuss Pope Francis's Latin American theological vision. Just returned from Synod on the Amazon, he also will report on how the Church moves forward in an economically and environmentally fragile part of the world. The Venezuelan native is author of “Francis and the Theology of the People” (Orbis, 2017), winner of a 2018 Catholic Press Association Book Award.

Spring 2020

Ingrid RowlandThursday, February 13, 2020; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
A Roman Rivalry: Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini on the Strada Pia, 1634-1680 — Ingrid Rowland, University of Notre Dame professor of architecture and history, based in Rome, will offer a review of Jesuit architecture in Rome, including the churches San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane and Sant' Andrea al Quirinale, built a few hundred yards apart by great rival architects of the 17th century. A visit to Sant’ Andrea is part of the Ignatian pilgrimage.


Joshua Wolf ShenkThursday, February 13, 2020; 7:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Vocation of the Writer: Joshua Wolf Shenk — Joshua Wolf Shenk is author of "Lincoln’s Melancholy," named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. He is editor of Believer magazine and director of the Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, a new institute for the study of writing and culture. He writes for The Atlantic and is and advisor for The Moth radio hour. Co-sponsored with the Creative Writing Program.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Archaeologist Elizabeth Bloch-Smith and Hebrew Bible scholar Mark S. Smith will speak as part of a series on the Hebrew Bible. Bloch-Smith's work reconstructs ancient Near Eastern religion from physical, textual, and epigraphic evidence. She currently teaches at Princeton Theological Seminary and serves as field director at Tell Keisan, Israel. Mark S. Smith is Helena Professor of Old Testament Literature and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary. He specializes in Israelite religion and the Hebrew Bible, as well as the literature and religion of Late Bronze Age Ugarit. The pair is collaborating on a commentary on the book of Judges to appear in the Hermeneia commentary series. Supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Shelly MatthewsMonday, March 16, 2020; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
The Lynching Tree and the Cross: James Cone, Historical Narrative, and the Ideology of Just Crucifixion (Luke 23:41) — Shelly Matthews, professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School, will explore African American theologian James Cone’s idea that contemplating the crucifixion of Jesus makes possible a fuller understanding of Christian identity, white supremacist violence, and the legacy of slavery in the contemporary U.S. context. Further, she will argue that the inverse relationship also holds: scholars of the ancient Roman Empire might consider modern lynching practices as a means to understand more fully the workings of ancient crucifixion.

Edgardo Colon-EmericThursday, March 19, 2020; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
The Scandal of the Transfiguration: San Óscar Romero’s Message to Today’s Church — Edgardo A. Colón-Emeric, Irene and William McCutchen Associate Professor of Reconciliation and Theology at Duke University Divinity School, explains martyr bishop Saint Óscar Romero’s conviction that God wants to radically transform people, history, and land starting from the world of the poor, and how priests and churches in El Salvador who embraced his theology were persecuted. He is author of "Óscar Romero’s Theological Vision: Liberation and the Transfiguration of the Poor" (University of Notre Dame Press, 2018). One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

Emily WilsonTuesday, March 24, 2020; 4:30 p.m., Seelos Theatre
War, Homecoming, Heroism, Truth — Emily Wilson, author of an acclaimed recent translation of the Odyssey, will talk about what we might learn from the Homeric poems about ethics and empathy, and about the moral and poetic challenges of studying, engaging with and translating the distant past. She is a professor of classical studies and graduate chair of the Program in Comparative Literature & Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Her talk is the Thomas More Lecture on the Humanities.


Teresia HingaThursday, March 26, 2020; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Religion in the Lives of African Women — Teresia Hinga, associate professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University,  is a founding member of the "Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians," a pan-African association of women who study the role and impact of religion and culture on African women's lives.