Writer Kate Hennessy, the youngest grandchild of Catholic social activist Dorothy Day, will speak on April 19 at 5:30 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Hennessy is the author of Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty (Scribner, 2017), a reflective, heartfelt, and humorous biography of Day. Sponsors: Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, School of Theology and Ministry’s Continuing Education, the Theology Department, the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, PULSE, the Catholic Studies Program, and the Church in the 21st Century Center. | NPR interview with Hennessy.
Jonathan F.P. Rose, one of the nation’s leading thinkers on the integration of environmental, social, and economic solutions for today’s urban issues, will give a talk on Apr. 20 at 5 p.m. in Fulton Hall, Honors Library. A real estate developer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Rose is the author of The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Behavior Teach us About the Future of Urban Life. In his book, Rose champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the 21st century. Sponsors: Joseph E. Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action and the Institute for the Liberal Arts.
The 2017 Irish Writers Series at Boston College presents journalist Caitríona Palmer, who will read from her memoir, An Affair with My Mother: A Story of Adoption, Secrecy and Love, on April 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Devlin Hall, Room 101. Born in Dublin, Palmer was adopted as an infant. She set about searching for her birth mother once she was an adult. What she found, and the secret relationship she formed with her birth mother, reveal the dark place that adoption holds in Ireland’s history. Palmer is a Boston College alumna and has written for the Irish Independent, the Irish Times, the Irish Echo, the Glasgow Sunday Herald, RTE Radio, BBC, and the Global Radio Network. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco. Co-sponsors: Irish Studies and the Institute for the Liberal Arts. Register for the event. || Watch an interview with Palmer.
One of the central challenges to contemporary political philosophy is the apparent impossibility of arriving at any commonly agreed upon “truths.” To understand the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary radical relativism, scholars turn to the sophists of antiquity—the most famous and challenging of whom is Protagoras. In Sophistry and Political Philosophy: Protagoras’ Challenge to Socrates (University of Chicago Press, 2016), author Behrakis Professor of Hellenic Political Studies Robert C. Bartlett provides the first close reading of Plato’s two-part presentation of Protagoras. Bartlett’s critical interpretation offers a significant tool for understanding the history of philosophy, and, in tracing Socrates’s response to Protagoras’ teachings, he also builds toward a richer understanding of both ancient sophistry and what Socrates meant by “political philosophy.” He discusses his book with Nina Bogdanovsky of BC Libraries.
Associate Professor of History Ling Zhang‘s book The River, the Plain, and the State: An Environmental Drama in Northern Song China, 1048-1128 (Cambridge University Press, 2016) has received the 2017 George Perkins Marsh Prize as the best book on environmental history from the American Society for Environmental History, the premier organization in this emerging, interdisciplinary field. The book centers on an event in northeast China in 1048, when the Yellow River breached its banks. The river drastically changed its course and turned the Hebei Plain into a delta, altering – and in many cases destroying – the lives of millions in Hebei. Zhang drew on elements of geography, hydraulic engineering and political science, as well as scientific data, to write the book. Read more from BC News.
Award-winning writer Kevin Barry will present “A Writer’s Apprenticeship” on April 12 at 4:30 p.m. at Burns Library. Barry, who is the Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies, will outline the forces, influences, and circumstances that have shaped him as a writer and will offer short readings from his works. He is the author of the story collections Dark Lies The Island and There Are Little Kingdoms (Rooney Prize for Irish Literature) and the novels Beatlebone (Goldsmiths Prize) and City Of Bohane (International Dublin Literary Award). Co-sponsors: Boston College Libraries and Center for Irish Programs. Read a Q&A with Barry conducted by BC Chronicle Editor Sean Smith.
Historian Richard English will present “Does Terrorism Work?” on April 10 at 4:00 p.m. in Devlin Hall, Room 101. English is the author of several books, including Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA, Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland, and Does Terrorism Work? A History (Oxford University Press, 2016). He is professor of politics at Queen’s University Belfast, where he is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Internationalization and Engagement. English is a Fellow of the British Academy, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Sponsor: Irish Studies Program. Register here.