Writing about religion in a polarized age

panelistsBoston College will host a panel of writers who will discuss their insights regarding contemporary discourse on religion, including the challenges that exist for those who desire to engage in thoughtful reflection on provocative topics. “Writing about Religion in a Polarized Age” will take place Oct. 23 in Devlin 101 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Panelists will be: Rod DreherMark OppenheimerSarah Posner and Alan Wolfe. Dreher, who writes a blog for The American Conservative, is the author of two books: The Little Way of Ruthie Leming and Crunchy Cons, about a growing “conservative counterculture” movement that stands outside the GOP mainstream. Oppenheimer, the 2014-2015 Corcoran Visiting Chair in Christian-Jewish Relations at Boston College, is a journalist known for writing the biweekly “Beliefs” column for the New York Times. His books include Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture and Thirteen and a Day: The Bar and Bat Mitzvah across AmericaPosner is a regular contributor on religion to Al Jazeera America and Religion Dispatches.  She is the author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, which investigated the unholy alliance between politicians and televangelists. Wolfe is the author and editor of more than 20 books, including At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora Is Good for the Jews, Political Evil: What It Is and How to Combat It, and The Transformation of American Religion: How We actually Practice our FaithInterested, but can’t make the event? Follow along via live broadcast or twitter (#WritingAboutReligion). Sponsor: The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life.

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Infographics 101

infographicPulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gareth Cook will present “Infographics: The Origins and Future of Visual Thinking” on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Devlin Hall, 101. In the Best American Infographics 2014, editor Gareth Cook has assembled a compendium of the finest informative visuals created by print and electronic media in the past year. A book signing will follow Cook’s presentation.

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Praise for Fr. Dan’s Merton book

merton bookConsidered one of the most influential spiritual writers of the 20th century, Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk profoundly shaped by Franciscan spirituality. In his new book, Theology Department doctoral student Daniel Horan, OFM writes about the Franciscan influence in Merton’s life and writings. The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Inspiration of His Life, Thought, and Writing (Ave Maria Press, 2014) has been called a major contribution to Merton studies and [to the] understanding of the Franciscan charisma,” by a reviewer at Patheos. More on Fr. Dan and the book can be found at Ave Maria Press  and Holy Name Province of Franciscan Friars.

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Catholic voices on practical theology

practical theoA book launch event will mark the publication of Invitation to Practical Theology: Catholic Voices and Visions (2014, Paulist Press), a collection of essays which promises to advance the conversation around practical theology, especially in Catholic circles. Boston College faculty members M. Shawn Copeland, Roberto Goizueta, Colleen Griffith and Thomas Groome are all contributors to the volume. The formal discipline of practical theology developed largely in Protestant contexts and has recently garnered increasing attention among Catholic academics. The Boston College event  will be held Oct. 22 at 4:00 p.m. at 9 Lake Street and will feature presentations by Goizueta, Griffith and Groome, moderated by editor Claire Wolfteich.  Co-sponsored by the School of Theology and Ministry.

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Dybek: Ecstatic Cahoots

dybekAward-winning writer Stuart Dybek will give a talk at Boston College on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Dybek’s most recent books are Ecstatic Cahoots and Paper Lantern. He has been honored with many literary awards, including the PEN/Malamud Award, a Lannan Award, the Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writer’s Award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and four O. Henry Prizes. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant. His other works of fiction are Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, and I Sailed with Magellan. He has also published two volumes of poetry, Brass Knuckles and Streets In Their Own Ink. His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have been translated into French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, Czech, Dutch, Italian, and Arabic. Sponsor: Lowell Humanities Series

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Book award for Min Song

1965Boston College Professor of English Min Hyoung Song has been honored by Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society for Jesuit higher education institutions, with a 2014 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award for his book, The Children of 1965: On Writing, and Not Writing, as an Asian American (Duke University Press, 2013). Song’s publication is one of only four winners, representing the 31 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and South Korea. In The Children of 1965, Song sought to discover how being Asian-American affected the writing of an emerging cohort of Asian-American authors. The title of the book is connected to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ushered in an immigration wave from Asia. Based on an analysis of more than 100 works and interviews with several Asian-American writers, Song concludes that race is a factor in much of the writing, but so are other themes, such as income inequality, the role of technology, life post 9/11 and sustainability. Read more from BC News

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Yes Please

amy bookYes Please (Harper Collins/Dey Street Books, 2014) is the new book by award-winning actress and former “SNL” cast member Amy Poehler, a Boston College alumna. Poehler, star of the NBC show “Parks and Recreation,” is a writer, director, producer and cofounder of the Upright Citizens’ Brigade. Yes Please is a collection of Poehler’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz,” the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs.”

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