Book prize for Summers

Cultural historian Martin Summers, a BC professor in the History Department and in the African and African Diaspora Studies Program, has been named a recipient of the 2021 Cheiron Book Prize for his work Madness in the City of Magnificent Intentions: A History of Race and Mental Illness in the Nation’s Capital (Oxford University Press). Presented by Cheiron, the International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the book prize recognizes an outstanding monograph in the history of the social/behavioral/human sciences. Madness in the City of Magnificent Intentions is a study of Saint Elizabeths Hospital, once one of the country’s preeminent research and teaching psychiatric hospitals, and its and its relationship to Washington, D.C.’s African American community. The book traces the hospital from its founding in 1855 to the 1980s and demonstrates how race was central to virtually every aspect of the hospital’s existence. Read more on BC News.

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Novelist Emma Donoghue

Novelist and screenwriter Emma Donoghue, author of the international bestseller Room, will read from and talk about her latest novel, The Pull of the Stars (Little, Brown and Co., 2020), at a Lowell Humanities webinar on April 7 at 7 p.m. Set in a Dublin hospital during the 1918 flu pandemic, The Pull of Stars tells the story of a nurse midwife, a doctor, and a volunteer helper who fight to save patients in a maternity quarantine ward. It is a story of hope and finding the light in the darkness. Donoghue’s other novels include The Wonder and Akin. Her novel Room has been published in more than 40 languages, and Donoghue adapted the book into an Academy Award-nominated screenplay. Donoghue’s appearance is co-sponsored by the Irish Studies program. Pre-registration is required and can be found at bc.edu/lowell.

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A time for Kearney

The world is increasingly polarized along religious, ethnic, race, gender, class, and ideological lines. According to Richard Kearney, holder of the Charles Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College, the cause of division often lies not in difference but in a lack of creative imagination. He believes poetics and narrative imagination can break the hold of hostility and open new possibilities of reconciliation, accomplishing what moral arguments alone cannot. Imagination Now: A Richard Kearney Reader (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2020), edited by M. E. Littlejohn, is an overview of Kearney’s writings addressing crisis and division and providing pathways of creative response and healing. This book follows Kearney’s journey through the fields of philosophy of the imagination, hermeneutics, philosophy of religion, ethics, psychology, practical philosophy, and politics.

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Legal implications for changes in marriage, adoption, divorce

A third edition of Family Law in America (Oxford University Press, 2021) by Darald and Juliet Libby Professor Emeritus Sanford Katz of BC Law School has been published. In this new edition, Katz analyses the majority and dissenting opinions in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the United States Supreme Court case that lifted the ban on same-sex marriage. The volume also covers topics such as the tension between individual autonomy and governmental regulation in all aspects of family law, the extent to which relationships established before marriage are being regulated, and how marriage is being redefined to take into account gender equality and the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. It also examines fault and no-fault divorce procedures and how new assisted reproductive technologies are having an impact on family formation. | Coming out in May is the third edition of The Law of Domestic Relations in the United States (West Academic Publishing, 2021), by Katz and Homer H. Clark, Jr., which looks at the continuity and changes in the law of domestic relations. In this volume, the authors examine alternatives to marriage like contract cohabitation and civil unions, and marriage itself, in light of state supreme court and United States Supreme Court cases. Other topics include the economics of divorce and division of property, as well as the new regard for openness in adoption. Katz is a former Chair of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association and former editor-in-chief of Family Law Quarterly. He retired in 2015, having taught at BC Law School for nearly 50 years.

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So You Want to Talk about Race

Ijeoma Oluo, author of bestseller So You Want to Talk about Race (Seal Press/Hachette Group, 2018), will give a presentation on her book on March 24 at 7 p.m. as part of the virtual Boston College Lowell Humanities series. Oluo’s acclaimed book guides readers through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to the model minority myth in order to foster honest conversations about race and racism in the United States. Publishers Weekly called her book “a topical book in a time when racial tensions are on the rise.” Oluo’s writing, focused on issues of race and identity, feminism, social and mental health, social justice, and the arts, has been featured in the Washington Post, Guardian, and Elle and Time magazines, among other outlets. She was named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2017, and won the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award from the American Humanist Society. Her most recent book is Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America. Her Boston College appearance is supported by an Institute for the Liberal Arts Major Grant Award and co-sponsored by the Connell School of Nursing, the Center for Teaching Excellence, and Intersections. Pre-registration is required; details and a link can be found at bc.edu/lowell.

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The social forces that shape moral character

In his book, The Structures of Virtue and Vice (Georgetown University Press, 2021), School of Theology and Ministry Associate Professor of Moral Theology Daniel J. Daly uses the lens of virtue and vice to reimagine a Catholic ethics that can better scrutinize the social forces that both affect moral character and contribute to well-being or suffering. In doing so, he creates a Catholic ethical framework for responding virtuously to the problems caused by global social systems, from poverty to climate change. Drawing on the works of Thomas Aquinas and other sources, Daly defines the virtuous structures that facilitate a love of God, self, neighbor, and creation, and the vicious structures that cultivate hatred, intemperance, and indifference to suffering. Daly, who earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from Boston College, teaches courses on health care ethics, Christian ethics, virtue ethics, and end-of-life ethics at STM. Last fall, he gave a talk for the STM Continuing Education program on “Catholic End of Life Ethics and the COVID Crisis.”

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“Encounters: Inspiration & Conversion”

“Encounters: Inspiration & Conversion” is an exhibition that looks at encountering Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary in landscapes or settings beyond the usual Biblical locations, through Ignatian imaginative prayer. The two-part display consists of framed collages and books with covers designed by Barbara Adams Hebard, conservator at the John J. Burns Library. The books displayed in “Encounters” are inspired by the workshops that Hebard conducted for Professor of History Virginia Reinburg’s classes or reflect Boston College themes. The collages on display are inspired in part by Hebard’s experiences in a number of Ignatian-related programming at BC’s Center for Ignatian Spirituality, Church in the 21st Century Center, and Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies. “Encounters: Inspiration & Conversion” is on display in the gallery, room 203, in Carney Hall, now through the end of March. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The exhibition is sponsored by the Boston College Arts Council and the Boston College Libraries. Visit the exhibit virtually, thanks to the creativity of Yifan Wang ’22.

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Memory, history, race, and the American landscape

Educator and Earth historian Lauret Savoy will give a presentation on her book Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape on March 17 at 7 p.m. The virtual Lowell Humanities Series event will include a moderated discussion and audience Q&A. Trace won the 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and the 2017 ASLE Creative Writing Award. It was also a finalist for the PEN American Open Book Award and Phillis Wheatley Book Award, as well as shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and the Orion Book Award. About Trace from the publisher: “A provocative and powerful mosaic that ranges across a continent and across time…Trace grapples with a searing national history to reveal the often unvoiced presence of the past. In distinctive and illuminating prose that is attentive to the rhythms of language and landscapes, [Savoy] weaves together human stories of migration, silence, and displacement… [and] delves through fragmented histories–natural, personal, cultural–to find shadowy outlines of other stories of place in America.” Savoy is Mount Holyoke College’s David B. Truman Professor of Environmental Studies and Geology. Presented by the Lowell Humanities Series and co-sponsored by the History Department and Environmental Studies Program. Pre-registration is required; details and a link can be found at bc.edu/lowell.

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My ski vacation

Boston College Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies Maxim D. Shrayer recently penned an essay for the American Jewish online magazine Tablet about his experience on a ski vacation to Italy. Shrayer is an author, editor, and translator whose publications include Of Politics and Pandemics: Songs of a Russian ImmigrantLeaving Russia: A Jewish Story, Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, and Voices of Jewish-Russian Literature, among other titles. Read Shrayer’s Tablet essay.

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Discourse Analysis Beyond the Speech Event

Stanton Wortham, Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean of the Boston College Lynch School of Education and Human Development, and co-author Angela Reyes (Hunter College and City University of New York) have released a second edition of Discourse Analysis Beyond the Speech Event (Routledge, 2020). The first edition of Discourse Analysis Beyond the Speech Event was awarded the 2016 Edward Sapir Book Prize from the Society for Linguistic Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. Wortham and Reyes contend that discourse analysis needs to move beyond fixed speech events and consider the development of discourses over time. The authors lay out a set of tools and techniques on how to conduct discourse analysis of linked events, allowing researchers to understand not only individual events but also the patterns that emerge across them. Wortham talks about the new edition of his book in this video from the Lynch School. Wortham is a linguistic anthropologist and educational ethnographer who is the author/editor of nine books, including Migration Narratives: Diverging Stories in Schools, Churches, and Civic Institutions.

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