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Past Events: 2023-2024

To view recordings of past lectures, explore our Listen and Learn page

Fall 2023

Close and Apart: Collaboration, Connection, and Community
September 12, 2023
Several 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 – discussed the making of Close and Apart, the song cycle inspired by Eric's memoir. The memoir is based on Eric's experience after his son Chris died from a brain aneurysm, and his organs were donated to strangers in need. 

When Immigration Was Stopped by Eugenics: A Dark Chapter in American History
September 21, 2023
Daniel Okrent, a prize-winning author of six books, talked about how the 1920s movement to stop immigration from Southern and eastern Europe united with the simultaneous development of the false science of eugenics. Part of the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Bots in the Kitchen: A Philosophical Take on the Digital Food Transformation
September 22, 2023
Andrea Borghini, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Milan, Italy, unearthed the ethical and theoretical perils and prospects that digital food transformation creates. Co-sponsored with the Department of Philosophy. 

Saving the University from Doom: Ethnic Studies as Ethics; Community as Praxis
September 25, 2023
Lorgia García Peña, professor at the Effron Center for the Study of America and the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, proposed community and ethnic studies as an antidote to the ethical dilemma we face as a university community, confronting the legacies of colonialism and slavery. Co-sponsored with the Department of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.

Why Women Won
September 26, 2023
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 and 2023 Nobel Prize for Economics winner, explained how the civil rights movement and the somewhat fortuitous nature of the early and key women’s rights legislation were behind the advances. Co-sponsored with the Department of Economics and Accounting.

Rethinking the Ethics of War in the Face of the Invasion of Ukraine
October 19, 2023
This panel featured 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?. Part of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion & Modernity. 

W. Ralph Eubanks: Vocation of the Writer
October 19, 2023
The latest Vocation of the Writer Lecture featured W. Ralph Eubanks, the author of A Place Like Mississippi. 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.

Wrongful Convictions: Working for Justice in Modern America
October 24, 2023
Christina Swarns, Executive Director of the Innocence Project, and Marvin Anderson, exoneree, talked about the challenges we face to prevent wrongful convictions and how we can create fairer, more compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone. 

A Theology of Migration, The Bodies of Refugees, and the Body of Christ
October 25, 2023
Fr. Daniel Groody, C.S.C., Professor of Theology and Global Affairs and vice president & associate provost for undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame, visited Holy Cross to speak about migration and refugee issues.

Infinite Canaan: The NewSpace Race in Colonial Context
November 6, 2023
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, explained the escalating NewSpace race as a mythological project. 

Spring 2024

The Unlearned Lessons of War: American Citizenship and Global Conflict 
Monday, February 5, 2024
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, discussed these questions with the Holy Cross community. This event was co-sponsored with Peace and Conflict Studies.

Just Peace: Ecology, Economics, and Education in Africa
Thursday, February 15, 2024
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, explored the connections between peace, ecology, and the notion of human development within the Catholic Social Tradition. A Deitchman Family Lecture on Religion and Modernity.

Catholicism Represented: Catholicism and Democracy from 1789 to the present
Thursday, February 29, 2024
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
Gloria Chien, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University, explained 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 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
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.

How Did War Become Permanent?
Tuesday, March 19, 2024
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.

Rachel Swarns: The 272
Wednesday, March 20, 2024
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. Rougeau, Board of Trustees Chair Helen W. Boucher, M.D. '86, and Jesuit Provincial Joseph M. O'Keefe, S.J., '76 joined 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.

Heathen: Religion and Race in American History
Tuesday, March 26, 2024
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, asked what that view of the world entailed and showed its continuing repercussions on American ideas about race. This event was 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
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 situated ESG investing within the broader field of corporate & securities law and explore the controversies surrounding its use. This lecture was 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
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 subject to a brutal social hierarchy, constant discrimination, and persecution, punctuated by infernal periods of enslavement and genocide. This oratorio contained 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. This event was a part of the Kraft-Hiatt Program for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

The Future of the Humanities: A Talk and Conversation
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Heather Cox Richardson, Professor of History at Boston College, delivered the annual Thomas More Lecture in the Humanities. Then, she joined 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. 

Feminist Rage and the Book of Judith
Thursday, April 11, 2024
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

April 7, 2024, marks the 30th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda. In solidarity with Rwandans, this two-day symposium gathered 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.
This Catholics & Cultures conference was organized by Audrey Seah, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. 

Conference Keynote: Theology and Ecclesiology from Wounds of the Genocide 
Thursday, April 18, 2024
How does a compromised church rise from the wounds of the genocide? Rev. Marcel Uwineza, SJ, a genocide survivor, considered the historical, social, political, and theological circumstances that led to the genocide and proposed a different way forward. Uwineza is the Principal of Hekima University College in Kenya, a Jesuit School of Theology and Peace Studies.