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Events at the McFarland Center

Spring 2019

Events are free and open to the public unless specified otherwise. Most events are recorded. Check out the Listen and Learn page to access past events online.

Thursday, January 31, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Hogan Ballroom
Jill LeporeThe Rise and Fall of the Fact — Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. A prize-winning professor, she teaches classes in evidence, historical methods, humanistic inquiry, and American history. Her latest book is "These Truths: A History of the United States" (W.W. Norton & Company, 2018). Her talk, the Thomas More Lecture on the Humanities, will focus on the origins of our epistemological crisis.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Denis McDonoughMeeting Our Responsibility to Refugees at the Global, National and Local Levels — Denis McDonough, former White House chief of staff for the Obama administration, will talk about refugees and related structural and legal issues. Prior to his term as chief of staff, he was Obama's principal deputy national security advisor and led a multiagency team to address complex issues including the Iran nuclear negotiations, strategic arms reductions talks with Russia, the United States re-balance to Asia, the Afghanistan surge, and the Iraq drawdown. He is visiting senior fellow in Carnegie’s Technology and International Affairs Program, executive fellow of the Global Policy Initiative at the University of Notre Dame and senior principal of the Markle Foundation.

Monday, February 11, 2019; 7:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Laura van der BergVocation of the Writer: Laura van den Berg — Laura van den Berg’s most recent novel, “The Third Hotel,” was an ABA IndieNext Pick, a Powell’s Books Indiespensable Pick, and an Amazon Best Book of August. She is also the author of the novel “Find M” and the story collections “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us” and “The Isle of Youth”; both books were finalists for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She is a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Fiction at Harvard University. Co-sponsored by Creative Writing and the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Omer BartovThe Holocaust on the Local Level: Coexistence and Genocide in one Galician Town — Omer Bartov, the John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History at Brown University, looks to the Eastern European border town of Buczacz — today part of Ukraine — to explain how ethnic cleansing doesn’t occur as is so often portrayed in popular history, with the quick ascent of a vitriolic political leader and the unleashing of military might. It begins in seeming peace, slowly and often unnoticed, the culmination of pent-up slights and grudges and indignities. Bartov is author of  “Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz” (Simon & Schuster, 2018). Supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Samuel MoynThe Christian Invention of Human Dignity — Samuel Moyn, professor of law and history at Yale University, argues that human dignity has to be linked to the invention of Christian democracy. He is author of "The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History" (Harvard University Press, 2010), "Christian Human Rights" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), and "Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World" (Harvard University Press, 2018). One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Rev.  Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, S.J.Of Ancient Deities and Modern Gods: Making sense of the promises and pathologies of religion and faith in Africa — Drawing on his most recent book, “Religion and Faith in Africa: Confessions of an Animist” (Orbis, 2018), Rev.  Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar, offers a critical assessment of contemporary African religious experience and the tension between ancient and modern religious traditions, beliefs and practices, which continue to shape the past and present of Africans. One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Maeve LewisChild Sexual Abuse: Breaking the Cycle — Maeve Lewis, executive director of One in Four Ireland, an organization that provides professional support to men and women who had experienced childhood sexual abuse, discusses the impact of child sexual abuse across the lifespan. She will outline a systemic attachment-based approach to psychotherapy with adult survivors and their families, and with sex offenders, situating the work within an Irish societal context.

Thursday, March 28, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Peter PhanChurch of Migrants and Migrant Church: Theology of the Church in the Age of Migration — Peter Phan is the inaugural holder of the Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University. He is editor, with Elaine Padilla, of “Christianities in Migration: The Global Perspective,” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Monday, April 1, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Derek ChangA New Curve in the Well-Known Color Line: Race, Respectability, and the Multi-Racial South — Derek Chang, associate professor of history at Cornell University, will provide an overview of Asians in the Jim Crow South to illuminate the ways in which racial systems of power are linked to questions of class, cultural, and religious difference. Chang is author of “Citizens of a Christian Nation: Evangelical Missions and the Problem of Race in the Nineteenth Century (Politics and Culture in Modern America)” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010). One of the Deitchman Family Lectures for Religion and Modernity. Co-sponsored with Asian Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies.

Tuesday, April 2-Wednesday, April 3, 2019; Rehm Library
Mary BoysReadings from the Roots: Bible Translation and Its Impact — This two-day conference highlights a new, historically-sensitive translation of the Revised Common Lectionary (beta available at intended to reduce the potential for anti-Judaism by enriching Christianity through its roots in Judaism. The conference will provide an opportunity for clergy to engage with the translation team and will feature talks by Everett Fox, the Allen M. Glick Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies at Clark University; Adรจle Reinhartz, professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Ottawa; and a keynote by Mary C. Boys, vice-president of Academic Affairs and dean and the Skinner & McAlpin Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, on "Seeing Judaism Anew: Jewish Christian Dialogue." The conference is supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding. Learn more»

Tuesday, April 9, 2019; 12:30 p.m., Hogan Suites B/C
Jeff HesterMore than Specks of Dust: Being Human in a Vast, Evolving Universe — In an informal lunchtime talk for the Holy Cross community, astrophysicist Jeff Hester, professor emeritus at Arizona State University, will take us through an insider’s narrative of the story of the universe — from its origins in the Big Bang through to the evolution of minds capable of pondering their place in the cosmos — and will share his thoughts on how it dramatically changes our understanding of what it is to be human. Hester spent his career as an astronomer at the forefront of research into questions such as the birth and death of stars. He has been intimately involved with the Hubble Space Telescope, including as a member of the team that saved Hubble from failure. Pizza will be served. Space is limited. RSVP no later than April 2.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019; 7 p.m., Seelos Theater
William Lane Craig Jeff HesterIs Theistic Belief Rational in a Scientific Age? — A dialogue between a William Lane Craig and Jeff Hester on theism, atheism and science. Named by The Best Schools as one of the 50 most influential living philosophers, Craig is research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University. An astrophysicist, Hester is well known for his work with the Hubble Space Telescope. He is professor emeritus in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.
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Glenn LouryThursday, April 11, 2019; 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
The Ethics of Affirmative Action Policies in Higher Education — Glenn Loury, Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and professor of economics at Brown University, is a prominent social critic and public intellectual, writing mainly on the themes of racial inequality and social policy.