A Catholic intellectual amid many religions

francis-clooney-082018-300x375pxFrancis X. Clooney, S.J., the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School, will present the Candlemas Lecture titled “On the Edge: Reflections on Being a Catholic Intellectual amid Many Religions” at Boston College on February 8 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Fr. Clooney, a leading figure in the field of comparative theology, is the author of several books, including Reading the Hindu and Christian Classics: Why and How It Matters; Western Jesuit Scholars in India: Tracing Their Paths, Reassessing Their Goals; and St. Joseph in South India: Poetry, Mission and Theology in Costanzo Gioseffo Beschi’s Tēmpāvani. He is writing an autobiography tentatively titled, Priest and Scholar, Catholic and Hindu: A Love Story. Fr. Clooney, who taught at Boston College from 1984 until 2005, is currently president of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

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Pindar’s songs and his world

eisenfeld-pindarIn her new book, Pindar and Greek Religion: Theologies of Mortality in the Victory Odes (Cambridge University Press, 2022), Boston College’s Behrakis Assistant Professor in Hellenic Studies Hanne Eisenfeld combines close reading and philological analysis with religious historical approaches to the Ancient Greek lyric poet Pindar’s songs and his world. She focuses on a set of mythical figures in Pindar’s victory odes whose identities blur the boundaries between mortality and immortality. By exploring them within the lived religious landscapes of the fifth century BCE, Eisenfeld demonstrates that Pindar’s depiction of these figures are in fact engaged with contemporary religious contexts and revalues mortality as a prerequisite for the glory found in victory. Eisenfeld’s work highlights the inextricability of Greek literature and Greek religion, and models a novel approach to Greek lyric poetry at the intersection of these fields.

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Notorious sisters

Benedict-mitford affairBestselling author Marie Benedict’s new novel, The Mitford Affair (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2023), takes a look at the real-life Mitford sisters who dominated English political, literary, and social scenes in the 1930s. Nancy Mitford grows suspicious as her sisters Diana and Unity are drawn to fascism and Hitler. When Nancy overhears alarming conversations and uncovers disquieting documents, she must make excruciating choices between the personal and the political. A Boston College graduate, Benedict is the author/co-author of several novels, including The Personal Librarian, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Lady Clementine, and The Only Woman in the Room, among others.

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The Seductions of Sovereignty

benhabib Seyla Benhabib, a senior research scholar and adjunct professor of law at Columbia Law School and an affiliate faculty member in the Columbia University Department of Philosophy and a senior fellow at the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, will present “The Seductions of Sovereignty: A Democratic and Cosmopolitan Critique” at Boston College on January 25 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. An award-winning scholar, Benhabib  is known for her research and teaching on social and political thought, particularly 20th century German thought and Hannah Arendt. Over the past two decades, she has become recognized for her contributions to migration and citizenship studies as well as her work on gender and multiculturalism. Her most recent book is Exile, Statelessness, and Migration: Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin. Her previous publications include: The Claims of CultureEquality and Diversity in the Global Era;  The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents, and Citizens; and Another Cosmopolitanism: Hospitality, Sovereignty and Democratic Iterations. The event is presented by the Lowell Humanities Series and co-sponsored by the International Studies Program and the Global Citizenships Project.

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Grant Writing Guide

lai-grant guideBC Lynch School of Education and Human Development Associate Professor Betty S. Lai has written a practical guide to effective grant writing for researchers at all stages of their academic careers. The Grant Writing Guide: A Road Map for Scholars (Princeton University Press, 2023) features writing samples, examples of how researchers use skills, helpful tips, and exercises. Drawing on interviews with scores of grant writers, program officers, researchers, administrators, and writers, Lai shares best practices, common questions, and pitfalls to avoid. Lai explains how to craft pitches and align them with your values, structure timelines and drafts, communicate clearly in prose and images, and solicit feedback to strengthen proposals. Lai studies child mental health and has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles on this topic. She has been recognized with awards from the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Foundation. Learn more about The Grant Writing Guide in this Inside Higher Ed Q&A with Lai.

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The rise of distrust

daedalusWhat does rising distrust and polarization mean for the functioning of society? What happens to nonpolitical institutions when a loss of trust and partisan divide hamper their abilities to meet common challenges and solve shared problems? The current issue of Dædalus, a respected journal on civic life published by American Academy of Arts & Sciences, examines what institutions do and why trust matters for their success. Boston College J. Joseph Moakley Professor of Political Science Kay Lehman Schlozman and Henry E. Brady of the University of California-Berkeley served as guest editors for this issue of the journal, which is devoted to “Institutions, Experts & the Loss of Trust.” Schlozman will be among the featured speakers at a virtual event on January 18 titled “Distrust, Political Polarization, and America’s Challenged Institutions,” which will explore the causes and consequences of the loss of confidence in institutions and the people who lead them. The event is open to the public, but registration is required.

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The Psychopomps

Byrne-psycho“I want readers to enjoy it and even be entertained by my attempts at humor and terror. I hope they think it’s weird and quirky but also honest and heartfelt,” said Boston College graduate Sean Patrick Byrne in a Q&A about his debut novel, The Psychopomps (Apprentice House Press, 2022). His book tells the story of 29-year-old Janzen Hakkinen who is ready to end his life, but instead is abducted and held with others in a supposedly abandoned building. The building’s owner “has collected a group of men and women who spend their days combating their past, fearing the present violence of a maniac and weighing the ultimate choice of how their stay together will end.” A former teacher, Byrne earned a bachelor’s degree from BC in 2000.

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Nostalgic look back at ‘Chocolate Days, Popsicle Weeks’

chocolate daysA comment on the Boston College Alumni Facebook page about books by BC alumni prompted BC Bookmarks to dig into the writings of the late 1958 alumnus Edward Hannibal, a novelist and advertising executive who died in 2014. The Facebook commentator called Hannibal’s 1970 novel, Chocolate Days, Popsicle Weeks, a “hidden gem.” Indeed, Chocolate Days won a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award and was a bestseller. It tells the love story of Fitzie and Janice who leave Boston to make it big in New York City. Hannibal followed that first novel, with two others Dancing Man and Liberty Square Station, completing his Dropping Out trilogy. Hannibal was also the author of the thriller A Trace of Red and co-author of Blood Feud, about Robert Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa. More from Amazon.com.

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O'connor_calledBased on true events that span six decades, Called (JRS Books, 2021) tells the story of Dr. John Schmidt and nurse Clara Schmidt, Kansas Mennonites who relocated to South America to open a leprosy clinic. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Nazi uprisings, political unrest in Argentina and Paraguay, and the scourge of leprosy left untreated, the Schmidts’ story is that of two people called to a life of service. In their determination to save floundering communities across Paraguay, and to battle the stigma and shame of leprosy, the Schmidts faced opposition from many fronts: a medical community that rejected their unorthodox and revolutionary practices, governments that threatened imprisonment, and neighboring villagers who vowed to kill them. Called was co-written by the Schmidts’ daughter, Marlena Fiol, and her husband, Ed O’Connor, who graduated from Boston College in 1965. The co-authors drew from diary entries, letters, and interviews to tell the Schmidts’ story.

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To be 22

Calonita_22Boston College graduate Jen Calonita is a bestselling author of more than 30 books for teens and middle grade readers. Her books have sold more than a million copies and have been translated into 15 languages. One of her latest books is in the same vein as the movies Big and 13 going on 30, where the young protagonist seemingly ages overnight. In 12 to 22 (Delacorte Press, 2022) 12-year-old Harper flashes forward in time to when she is 22, thanks to a mysterious TikTok filter. A former entertainment journalist, Calonita is the author of the award-winning book Secrets of My Hollywood Life. She also has written books in the Fairy Tale Reform School series and Disney’s A Twisted Tale series. Her writing has appeared in Glamour, Marie Claire, and Entertainment Weekly, among other outlets. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Boston College in 1996.

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