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Events at the McFarland Center

Featured Events

Rachel Swarns: The 272

Wednesday, March 20, 2024
7:30 p.m., Hogan Ballroom, Hogan Campus Center

Rachel Swarns

Rachel Swarns' The 272 follows the harrowing story of the people who were enslaved by the Jesuits and whose families were torn apart in 1838 when they were sold to help support the growth of the Catholic Church in the United States. United by Swarns’ reporting in 2016, their descendants have pressed these institutions to make amends and break new ground in the movement for reparations and reconciliation in America. Following a brief presentation about the book and the relationship of the sale of those enslaved families to the development of Holy Cross, President Vincent D. RougeauBoard of Trustees Chair Helen W. Boucher, M.D. '86, and Jesuit Provincial Joseph M. O'Keefe, S.J., '76 will join Swarns in a discussion about what this says about Holy Cross's mission and obligations today.
Rachel L. Swarns, associate professor of journalism at New York University, was a New York Times reporter and correspondent for 22 years. Her work on Jesuits and slavery touched off a national conversation about American universities and their ties to this painful period of history. The 272, published by Random House in June, was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, Time Magazine and The Washington Post. 

The Future of the Humanities: A Talk and Conversation

Wednesday, April 10, 2024
4:30 p.m., Hogan Ballroom, Hogan Campus Center

Heather Cox Richardson

Heather Cox Richardson, Professor of History at Boston College, will deliver the annual Thomas More Lecture in the Humanities. Then, she will join President Vincent D. Rougeau and Provost Elliott Visconsi '95 for a conversation about the future of humanities. Richardson's newsletter Letters from an American chronicles today's political landscape and boasts over 1.3 million subscribers. She has written seven books, most recently New York Times Bestseller Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America
Richardson's events have drawn large public audiences and we'd like to reserve space for students — if you plan to assign your class to attend, please let us know by emailing

Spring 2024

The Unlearned Lessons of War: American Citizenship and Global Conflict 

Monday, February 5, 2024
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Phil Klay

As wars rage around the world, Americans find themselves in a peculiar position—insulated from the consequences of these conflicts, yet citizens of a country regularly employing lethal force around the globe. How do we make sense of ourselves, both as citizens and as human beings, in relation to the current crisis, and how might the arts and humanistic inquiry help us move forward? Author Phil Klay, winner of the National Book Award for his essay collection Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War and most recently featured in the Talk section of the New York Times Magazine, will discuss these questions with the Holy Cross community. 
This event is co-sponsored with Peace and Conflict Studies.

Just Peace: Ecology, Economics, and Education in Africa

Thursday, February 15, 2024
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Emmanuel Katongole

In the face of the global environmental crisis, what does peace look like? Drawing on his work in Uganda at Bethany Land Institute, Fr. Emmanuel Katongole, Professor at the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for Internal Peace Studies, will explore the connections between peace, ecology, and the notion of human development within the Catholic Social Tradition. He will point to ways in which young people are leading efforts in the search for just peace and the care of our common home. 
A Deitchman Family Lecture on Religion and Modernity.

Catholicism Represented: Catholicism and Democracy from 1789 to the present

Thursday, February 29, 2024
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

John McGreevey

John McGreevy, distinguished historian, Provost at the University of Notre Dame, & author of Catholicism: A Global History from the French Revolution to Pope Francis, will explore how transnational political and ecclesial networks between Europe, Africa, and the Americas shaped Catholic attitudes toward democracy in the last two centuries.
A Deitchman Family Lecture on Religion and Modernity.

Contemplation in the Classroom: Adaptations of Ignatian Spirituality and Buddhist Meditation

Thursday, March 14, 2024
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Gloria Chien

Gloria Chien, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University, will explain how she integrates Contemplative Pedagogy and the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm in her Asian religious studies courses using insights derived from three years of study at a Chan Buddhist monastery in Taiwan, certification in Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, and the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Dr. Chien will also lead a contemplation session on Saturday, March 16 at the Joyce Contemplative Center.

The Survivors Among Us: Today and Tomorrow 

Monday, March 18, 2024
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. 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.

How Did War Become Permanent?

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Nikhil Singh

In recent years, concepts like permanent war, civil war, and even genocide have become ubiquitous. Nikhil Pal Singh, Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis and History and Chair of the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University, reflects on the recent history of permanent war, considers how these ideas have morphed into the notion of a permanent civil war "at home," and suggests steps we might take to break from this logic.

Heathen: Religion and Race in American History

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Kathryn Gin Lum

Americans used to believe that much of the world was populated by “heathens.” This talk by Professor Kathryn Gin Lum, Professor and Chair of Religious Studies at Stanford University, asks what that view of the world entailed and shows its continuing repercussions on American ideas about race as a “heathen inheritance.”
This event is co-sponsored with the Department of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. A Deitchman Family Lecture on Religion and Modernity.

Value vs. Values: ESG Investing and the Social Responsibility of Business

Thursday, April 4, 2024
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Ann Lipton

Should corporations be managed to benefit society overall or solely to benefit their shareholders?  The modern trend toward “environmental, social, governance” (ESG) investing has breathed new life into one of the oldest debates in corporate law.  Ann M. Lipton, Michael M. Fleishman Associate Professor in Business Law and Entrepreneurship and Associate Dean for Faculty Research at Tulane University, will situate ESG investing within the broader field of corporate & securities law and explore the controversies surrounding its use.
This lecture is co-sponsored with the Ethics, Society, and the Institution of Business minor.

U.S. première of O Lungo Drom (The Long Road): An Oratorio on the Sinti and Roma by Ralf Yusuf Gawlick

Friday, April 5, 2024
8:15 p.m., Brooks Concert Hall

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick

The O Lungo Drom, or “The Long Road” in Romanes, is an oratorio that tracks the history of the Roma and Sinti through the words of Roma/Sinti poets and writers themselves. Ever since their appearance in Europe over a thousand years ago, the Roma have been labeled with ethnically insulting words. These designations reveal a brutal social hierarchy which continues to subject the Roma to constant discrimination and persecution, punctuated by infernal periods of enslavement and genocide. This oratorio contains many significant ‘firsts’: it is the first oratorio on a Romani subject, the first that sets multiple texts by Romani authors themselves, and the first to be set to music by a Rom: Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, Professor of Music at Boston College.
The ensemble for the première is the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien. They are joined by soprano Clara Meloni, baritone Christoph Filler and cimbalomist László Rácz. Holy Cross and Boston College will host joint U.S. premières of the oratorio on April 5 and 6, respectively. This event is a part of the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Feminist Rage and the Book of Judith

Thursday, April 11, 2024
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Jennifer L. Koosed

Judith is a biblical heroine best known for cutting off the head of the general Holofernes, with his own sword and in his own bed – a bold act that has sparked the imagination of readers for millennia. Jennifer L. Koosed, Professor and Chair of Religious Studies at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, will examine the multivalent violence wielded against and by Judith, focusing especially on the ways this scene has become a site of female resistance and feminist rage, from Artemisia Gentileschi to #MeToo. 
This lecture is sponsored by the Religious Studies Department and the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding in memory of Alice Laffey, a long-time professor of Religious Studies at Holy Cross who passed away in 2023. 

Thirty Years Beyond the Genocide: Lessons for the Global Church

Thursday, April 18 - Friday, April 19, 2024
View the schedule here

April 7, 2024 marks the 30th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda. In solidarity with Rwandans, this two-day symposium gathers international scholars to unpack the complex role of the Catholic church in the genocide and its aftermath, as well as explore broader implications for the global church today.

Conference Keynote: Theology and Ecclesiology from Wounds of the Genocide 

Thursday, April 18, 2024
7:00 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall

Rev. Marcel Uwineza, SJ

How does a compromised church rise from the wounds of the genocide? Rev. Marcel Uwineza, SJ, a genocide survivor, considers the historical, social, political, and theological circumstances that led to the genocide and proposes a different way forward. Uwineza is the Principal of Hekima University College in Kenya, a Jesuit School of Theology and Peace Studies. 

This Catholics & Cultures conference is organized by Audrey Seah, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. The talks will result in an upcoming issue of the Journal for Global Catholicism.