Harvard Divinity School historian Dr. Robert A. Orsi to present Christopher F. Mooney, S.J. lecture at Fairfield University

Harvard Divinity School historian Dr. Robert A. Orsi to present Christopher F. Mooney, S.J. lecture at Fairfield University

"The Dangerous Imaginations of Mid-Twentieth Century American Catholic Children"

Image: Robert A. Orsi Dr. Robert A. Orsi, American religious history professor at Harvard Divinity School, will present the 13th Annual Christopher F. Mooney, S.J. Lecture on Church, Religion, and Society on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. A distinguished scholar, Dr. Orsi's talk is entitled "The Dangerous Imaginations of Mid-Twentieth Century American Catholic Children." It will take place in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. It is free and open to the public. The Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University is sponsoring the lecture.

In 2001, Dr. Orsi joined the faculty of Harvard, where he is the Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America. His research interests include the social and cultural history of growing up Catholic in the United States. His other areas of study include religion and immigration and migration; religion and gender; religious responses to suffering and pain; and the role of saints in human life.

His most recent publication is "Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them." He wrote "The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950," which received the Jesuit National Book Award and John Gilmary Shea Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association. He also is the author of numerous other books, including "Thank You, Saint Jude: Women's Devotion to the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes," "Gods of the City: Religion and the American Urban Landscape," and "Religious Practice in Everyday Life: Essays on the Study of Religion." The courses he teaches at Harvard include "The Catholic Sixties," "The Catholic Experience in the United States," and "Religion in America From c. 1865 to the 1970s." In 2003, he was elected president of the American Academy of Religion, which is the world's largest association of scholars of religion.

Dr. Paul Lakeland, Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies, said Dr. Orsi's visit to Fairfield will be a fitting way to cap off the Jesuit Jubilee Year celebration, which has taken place this year to mark the 450th anniversary of the death of St. Ignatius Loyola. "The theme of the Jubilee Year has centered around listening to voices that we do not usually hear, and learning from them. Dr. Orsi's work invites us to listen to the experiences that shaped popular Catholicism in the twentieth century. These experiences, though recent, are in danger of being forgotten, and his work both retrieves and preserves material of enormous value to Catholicism today."

Dr. Orsi has taught at Fordham University, the Universita degli Studi di Roma in Italy, and Indiana University. He has received an array of honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship.

The Christopher F. Mooney, S.J. lecture is an annual event honoring Fr. Mooney, a former Fairfield University academic vice president who died in 1993. He was the author of eight books, including "Teilhard de Chardin and the Mystery of Christ," which received the National Catholic Book Award in 1966, and "Public Virtue: Law and the Social Character of Religion," which won the 1987 national award of Alpha Sigma Nu. Before joining the Fairfield faculty, he was assistant dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the president of Woodstock College.

Posted On: 11-02-2006 10:11 AM

Volume: 39 Number: 73