Bryan Stevenson: Just Mercy

Acclaimed public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson will speak on his best-selling book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Spiegel & Grau/Random House Penguin, 2014), on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in Conte Forum. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., which has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. Just Mercy, about Stevenson and his work with the EJI, was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Esquire, and Time and winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction. Stevenson has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Prize and the National Medal of Liberty from the American Civil Liberties Union. Sponsor: Lowell Humanities Series. Co-sponsors: Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics and Boston College PULSE: Celebrating 50 Years of Service.

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Ambassador Susan Rice

Susan E. Rice, who served as National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama (2013-2017) and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (2009-2013), will speak at Boston College on Oct. 2 at 4 p.m. Her appearance is part of the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics’ Clough Colloquium. A Rhodes Scholar, Rice is graduate Oxford University and Stanford University. In 2017, French President Francois Hollande presented her with the Award of Commander, the Legion of Honor of France, for her contributions to Franco-American relations. Rice’s new memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For (Simon & Schuster, 2019), details pivotal moments from her career on the front lines of American diplomacy and foreign policy, as well as the familial influences that shaped her. Rice’s talk will be held in the Heights Room of Corcoran Commons. Seating is first come, first served, with doors opening at 3:30 p.m.

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The catholicity of personhood

Traditional theological considerations of the human person presume a radically anthropocentric starting point. Yet, ongoing discoveries in the natural sciences and a renewed attention to the theological tradition pose challenges to this inherited way of thinking about personhood. In his latest book, Catholicity and Emerging Personhood: A Contemporary Theological Anthropology (Orbis Books, 2019), Boston College alumnus Daniel P. Horan, OFM, offers a constructive theological reflection on the meaning and identity of the human person through the lens of evolution and contemporary science. According to the publisher, “each chapter builds on a foundational reconsideration of the theological anthropological tradition to re-situate humanity within the broader community of creation while highlighting the true catholicity of personhood within Christian tradition.” Fr. Dan is a Franciscan friar who teaches at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is the author of several books, including The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton and Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis.

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At the Boisi Center: The Power of Sports

The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life will host a luncheon colloquium featuring Boston College Associate Professor of Communication Michael Serazio who will talk about his new book, The Power of Sports: Media and Spectacle in American Culture. The event will be held Oct. 4 from noon to 1:15 p.m. at the Boisi Center. An RSVP is required. Serazio interviewed media professionals and business leaders to explore how today’s ubiquitous, $70 billion sports spectacle is crafted. In his book, he analyzes how sports culture explains and reflects life across a wide range of patterns in American culture: religious experience, technological disruption, journalistic sensationalism, economic inequality, military hawkishness, and manhood ideals.

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Kiese Laymon, the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, will give a lecture on his award-winning memoir Heavy: An American Memoir (Scribner, 2018) on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Heavy was winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction, the LA Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, and Audible’s Audiobook of the Year, and was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the New York TimesPublishers Weekly, NPR, Library JournalThe Washington PostSouthern Living, and Entertainment Weekly, among others. Laymon also is the author of the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the novel Long Division.  In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. In addition, Laymon has written for Esquire, ESPN The Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and Ebony, among many other outlets. His next project is the novel And So On, due out in 2020. Sponsor: Lowell Humanities Series. Read a Boston Globe Q&A with Laymon.

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Banville & Ford

Boston College will host two award-winning authors and friends, John Banville and Richard Ford, for a writers talk on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. in Devlin Hall, room 110. Irish writer Banville has written 17 novels, including The Sea (winner of the Man Booker Prize) and, most recently, Mrs. Osmond. American writer Ford won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Independence Day, and also is the author of the novel Canada and the memoir Between Them, among other titles. Sponsors: Institute for the Liberal Arts, Irish Studies, Boston College Libraries, English Department, Creative Writing, and Fiction Days.

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Slavery in New England

In Black Lives, Native Lands, White Worlds (University of Massachusetts Press/Bright Leaf, 2019), historian Jared Ross Hardesty tells the story of slavery in New England, focusing on individual stories of enslaved people and bringing their experiences to life. He also explores larger issues such as the importance of slavery to the colonization of the region and to agriculture and industry, New England’s deep connections to Caribbean plantation societies, and the significance of emancipation movements in the era of the American Revolution. Hardesty is a Boston College alumnus who is currently an associate professor of history at Western Washington University. He also is the author of Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston.

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