Bible Nation

Professor Candida Moss of the University of Birmingham in the UK will present the inaugural Wolfe Lecture on Religion and American Politics on Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Gasson Hall, room 100. Titled “Bible Nation: Hobby Lobby, Scripture, and the Making of America,” Moss’ lecture will explore the involvement in public life of the Green family, the owners of Hobby Lobby and party to the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby lawsuit. Moss is an award-winning author/editor of seven books, including Ancient Christian MartyrdomReconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness, and Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby. A columnist for The Daily Beast, she has served as a papal news contributor for CBS News and has written for The New York TimesThe Atlantic MonthlyThe Washington Post, The LA Times and Politico. Sponsor: Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life.

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No more mean girls

Today’s generation of girls is becoming caught up in social hierarchies much earlier than previous generations and, thanks to social media and the “like” button, the pursuit of popularity is more public and insatiable than ever before. Boston College alumna Katie Hurley, a child and adolescent psychotherapist, has written a new book to help parents empower young girls to be kind, confident leaders who work together and build each other up. No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls (TarcherPerigee/Penguin Random House, 2018) is a guide for parents to help their young daughters navigate tricky territories such as friendship building, creating an authentic self, standing up for themselves and others, and expressing themselves in a healthy way. Geared for parents of girls aged three to 13, Hurley’s book takes on the “mean girl culture” and alerts parents to the signs of relational aggression—behavior intended to harm someone by damaging or manipulating her relationship with others—in their daughters’ daily lives. Hurley is also the author of The Happy Kid Handbook.

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Civil War letters of an Irish immigrant

Ellen B. Alden’s historical novel Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke tells the story of an Irish farmer who emigrated to West Springfield, Massachusetts to escape the ravages of the Great Famine and later faced the desolation of Civil War battlefields in Virginia as a volunteer in the Union Army. The book is based on a series of 19 letters written by Alden’s great-great grandfather. Alden will discuss her book and her research and writing at a Jan. 31 event at the Burns Library, at which time she will formally donate Florence Burke’s original letters and photographs to the library. The event will take place at 7 p.m. and copies of Alden’s book will be available for purchase and signing. Read more from the Irish Times Boston Globe.

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Rediscovering a woman of conscience

In her new book, Margaret Pearmain Welch (1893-1984): Proper Bostonian, Activist, Pacifist, Reformer, Preservationist, Elizabeth Fideler introduces readers to a highly accomplished woman from a bygone era. According to Fideler, Welch was a debutante, world traveler, socialite, and dancer who “defied the mores of her social set and got away with it.” Though she provoked gossip and newspaper mentions for her divorce and remarriage to a prominent Bostonian who was also divorced, Welch was a writer, lecturer, lobbyist, fundraiser, opinion shaper and indefatigable activist for women’s suffrage and land conservation, among other topics. Fideler is a trustee of the Framingham Public Library and a research fellow at the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. Read an interview with Fideler in the Boston Globe.

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Shrayer interview

Boston College Professor of Russian, English, and Jewish Studies Maxim D. Shrayer was interviewed by Jewish Telegraphic Agency about his recent book, With or Without You: The Prospect for Today’s Jews in Russia (Academic Studies Press, 2017). Part historical and cultural investigation, and part memoir and travelogue, With or Without You is a portrait of Russia’s dwindling, but still vibrant and influential Jewish community. Shrayer is the author/editor of more than 15 books, including the memoirs Waiting for America: A Story of EmigrationLeaving Russia: A Jewish Story (2013 National Jewish Book Award finalist), and Yom Kippur in Amsterdam. JTA article “A son of refuseniks chronicles the slow dissolve of Russia’s Jews.”

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How America went haywire

Bestselling writer Kurt Andersen—acclaimed for his analysis of historical and cultural trends— will give a talk on January 24 at 7 p.m., in Gasson 100. The topic of his address is that of his recent book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year Historywhich makes the case that today’s strange, “fake news” moment is the ultimate expression of our national character, a believe-whatever-you-want fantasy deeply embedded in our DNA. Andersen is also the author of True BelieversHeyday and Turn of the Century. He has written for New York and Time magazines, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair. He is host and co-creator of the Peabody Award–winning public radio program Studio 360, broadcast on more than 200 stations and distributed by podcast to a weekly audience of nearly one million. Sponsor: Lowell Humanities Series

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By the numbers

Summing It Up: From One Plus One to Modern Number Theory (Princeton University Press), written by BC mathematicians Avner Ash and Robert Gross, is now available in paperback. Appropriate for numbers novices as well as college math majors, Summing It Up uses addition as a springboard to provide an accessible look at numbers and number theory. Ash and Gross explore addition’s most basic characteristics before moving onward to issues at the forefront of current mathematical research. Ash and Gross are also the co-authors of Elliptic Tales: Curves, Counting, and Number Theory and Fearless Symmetry: Exposing the Hidden Patterns of Numbers.  The authors talk about their work in this BC Libraries video.

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