Upcoming: 10th Annual Vanderhaar Symposium, Thursday, April 16th

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The Tenth Annual Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium will feature Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, a well-known advocate for the poor and disenfranchised, and leader of three “Nuns on the Bus” tours which placed the spotlight on the Catholic Church’s long standing commitment to social justice. Sister Simone will speak at the Symposium, held Thursday, April 16, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the University Theater at Christian Brothers University.

Since 2004, Sister Simone has served as Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice lobby. She is a religious leader, attorney, and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare, and economic justice.

media_photo_-_Simone_Campbell_12414_0During the 2010 congressional debate about healthcare reform, she wrote the famous letter supporting the reform bill which was signed by 59 Catholic Sisters, including the Leadership Conference of Women’s Religious. Cited by many as critically important in passing the Affordable Care Act, Sister Simone was thanked by President Obama and invited to the ceremony celebrating its being signed into law.

In 2012, she was instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour of nine states to oppose the “Ryan Budget” approved by the House of Representatives. That tour was followed with a cross-country trip focused on immigration reform in 2013, and a “We the People” tour that encouraged people to vote and called upon candidates to commit to crafting a budget that benefits everyone, secures healthcare for all, protects immigrant rights, and promotes nonviolent solutions to conflict.

Sister Simone has often been featured in the national and international media, including appearances on 60 MinutesTavis Smiley, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She has received numerous awards, including a “Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award” and the “Defender of Democracy Award” from the international Parliamentarians for Global Action.

Prior to coming to NETWORK, Sister Simone served as the Executive Director of JERICHO, the California interfaith public policy organization that works like NETWORK to protect the interests of people living in poverty. She also participated in a delegation of religious leaders to Iraq in December 2002, just prior to the war, and was later (while at NETWORK) part of a Catholic Relief Services delegation to Lebanon and Syria to study the Iraqi refugee situation there.

Before JERICHO, Sister Simone served as the general director of her religious community, the Sisters of Social Service. She was the leader of her Sisters in the United States, Mexico, Taiwan and the Philippines. In this capacity, she negotiated with government and religious leaders in each of these countries.

Nun Bus Book

In 1978, Sister Simone founded and served for 18 years as the lead attorney for the Community Law Center in Oakland, California. She served the family law and probate needs of the working poor of her county.

She recently authored A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community, published in April 2014 by HarperCollins, and plans to be available to sign copies of her book following the talk.

Also that evening, a Mid-South university student will be recognized with the Dr. Gerard A. Vanderhaar Student Peace Award. Annually, this award is given to a student who best exemplifies the spirit and practice of nonviolence consistent with Dr. Vanderhaar’s life and work. The recipient will make a brief presentation of his/her work prior to the lecture.

The Vanderhaar Symposium was founded in honor of Dr. Gerard A. Vanderhaar, a professor of religion for 28 years at Christian Brothers University, who spent his lifetime promoting peace and active nonviolence. Each year, the Symposium invites a noted scholar and/or activist to address social and moral issues related to peace and justice and/or Catholic social teaching.

The Symposium is free and open to the public. For more information visit www.gvanderhaar.org.

Faculty Making News

Dr. Libby Broadwell (Professor, Literature and Languages) presented a paper entitled “Phoenix Jackson’s Repurposed Umbrella: An Ecocritical Reading of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” at the Tennessee Philological Annual Conference in Henderson, TN, in February 2015.

Dr. Jeff Gross (Assistant Professor, Literature and Languages) presented a paper, “Teaching African American Literature in the Age of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown,” at the College English Association Annual Conference in Indianapolis.

Dr. Paul Haught (Dean, School of Arts, Associate Professor) along with Dr. Eric Welch (Electrical Engineering) presented their research on CBU’s STEM educational outreach programs at the second annual meeting of Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering (SRPoiSE). The meeting took place in Detroit, and the title of their presentation was “Educating Minds and Touching Hearts: Adventures in STEM Educational Outreach.”

On November 20, 2014, Dr. Emily Holmes (Associate Professor, Religion and Philosophy) read from and signed copies of her book, Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation (Baylor University Press, 2013). The event was sponsored by the President’s Commission on Women and held in Plough Library. Furthermore, Dr. Holmes was the guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Theology & Sexuality on the theme of “maternality.” In addition to editing, she contributed the introduction to the special issue, “On Maternality, Between Theology and Sexuality.” Theology & Sexuality 19:3 (2013): 195–202.

Little Free LibraryMaybe you’ve already noticed the little wooden “house” outside St. Joseph Hall. It’s CBU’s new “Little Free Library.” If you’re not familiar with the Little Free Library movement, it’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. CBU’s Little Free Library is the brainchild of Dr. Kelly James (Assistant Professor, Behavioral Science), who has already stocked it and is in the process of registering it with the international organization. By the way, our Little Free Library is the 15th one in Memphis — check out the map of all locations around the world. So, go ahead, take a book, CBU. (And don’t forget to return a book.)

Dr. Kelly James also lead a discussion on consent, sexual activity, and the dynamics between women and men on March 26 as part of the Women’s History Month Series at CBU.

An article by Dr. Karl Leib (Associate Professor, History & Political Science), entitled “State Sovereignty in Space: Current Models and Possible Futures,” has been published in the journal Astropolitics.

A huge thank you to all of the CBU students who helped out with Cheer for the Kids this year. Over 50 CBU students volunteered their time at the 8th annual event to help raise enough money for Make-A-Wish of the Mid-South to grant approximately five wishes. A special thank you to CBU student Mauricio Ramirez (Psychology) for all of his involvement over the past year in helping plan the 2015 event.

Cheer for the Kids is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by Chanda S. Murphy (Instructor, Behavioral Sciences) and fellow Memphian Ashley Bradford to help raise awareness and money for local child-focused philanthropy organizations. For more information or to get involved with Cheer for the Kids please visit www.facebook.com/CheerForTheKids

Dr. Brendan Prawdzik’s (Assistant Professor, Literature and Languages) article “Marvell’s Phenomenal Spirituality and the Processes of History: ‘Eyes of Tears’ and The Remarks upon a Late Disingenuous Discourse,” has been acccepted for publicaton in Explorations in Renaissance Culture, date TBA.Dr. Prawdzik also presented his paper “Sexual Violence and Civil War in ‘To His Coy Mistress’” at Exploring the Renaissance: An International Conference [SCRC], in Raleigh, NC, this past March. And will be presenting his paper “Samson Agonistes: Passion’s Looking-Glass” at the International Milton Symposium, Exeter, UK, in July of this year.

“Building a Loving and Nonviolent Community” by Dr. Christophe D. Ringer

Delivered for Christian Brothers University
Annual Commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 2015
Spain Auditorium

S8K6nUiI_400x400To President Smarrelli, Dean Barnettt, the Black Students Association, the Office of Campus Ministry, thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity. And to Paul Haught, Scott Geis, the Department of Religion and Philosophy, and others with whom I share Barry Hall, thank you for welcoming me with open arms during my maiden voyage at CBU.


I want to begin by suggesting that we are engaged in a struggle. A struggle waged through classrooms, social media, houses of worship, kitchen tables, barbershops, television, movies, books, journals, magazines, and blogs. It is a struggle for the meaning and significance of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over the next week the image, words, and likeness of Dr. King will be used to sell you everything from car insurance to chicken McNuggets.

I remember a few years ago when I had the opportunity to see the King monument in Washington D. C. It was a profound moment and the monument was an impressive imposing sculpture. On the side of the monument were the words “Out of the Mountain of despair a stone of hope”—from the “I have a dream” speech. However, of the sixteen quotes not one mentioned any reference to race or Jim Crow. All of the quotes were inspiring and instilled hope but absent and erased was the history and context that formed that mountain of injustice from which those words were hewn. Commemoration is a powerful act of remembering. An act by which choices are made about what to keep in front of the mind, instill in the heart, cultivate within institutions and throughout our common life.

Today I want to briefly commend to you a King who does not often receive enough attention, but I believe is so critical towards building a loving and nonviolent community. For King, this foundation begins with understanding that God is love. King’s fight against segregation was not only grounded in the identification of social injustice, but in the nature of reality itself. In his 1967 sermon “A Christmas Sermon on Peace” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, he argued, “all Life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.” At the time, King did not have our familiar language of globalization. However, he knew all to well and articulated that one cannot even leave for work in the morning without using products produced from countries all over the world. King had a keen sense that we must take seriously that we live in a world house. Our interdependence is the basic fact of our existence. Far too often, the King holiday is time for coming together without much reflection of the forces that continue to pull us apart. The legacy of King calls us to address all forms of hatred, bigotry, and injustice that rip at the fabric of a loving and just community. The King who not only dreamed of a better America but also died while fighting with sanitation workers would still be fighting for a living wage. The King who once said that he “fought segregation too long to segregate his morality” would stand with the LGBTQ community, and refuse to stigmatize our Muslim brothers and sisters for actions of the few.

I believe that the university has a critical role to play in this process. The university can foster the kind of broad learning, critical dialogue, and safe spaces often sorely missing in our culture. In addition, if one moves through the corpus of Kings writings, one finds a mind deeply invested in the possibilities of history, philosophy, literature, theology, and the sciences to addressing humanity’s most vexing problems.

The second foundation for building a nonviolent community is represented by King’s tireless efforts to deepen our understanding of love. Inspired by the scripture chosen for our program today, he was clear about the difference between loving and liking. In that same 1967 Christmas sermon, King said:

When you rise to this level, you love all men [sic] not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love them because God loves them. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Love your enemies.” And I’m happy he didn’t say ‘Like your enemies,’ because there are some people that I find it pretty difficult to like. Liking is an affectionate emotion, and I can’t like anybody who would bomb my home. I can’t like anybody who would exploit me. I can’t like anybody who would trample over me with injustice. I can’t like them. I can’t like anybody who threatens to kill me day in and day out. But Jesus reminds us that love is greater than liking. Love is understanding, creative, redemptive good will towards all people.

It is this understanding of love that transforms the fact of our inter-relatedness to forms of genuine community. This labor of love if you will, must be a commitment that continues to keep us open to one another, refuses to foreclose our capacity to love and transforms our society. This challenge to love however does not exist in a vacuum. Our ability to love one another is challenged by powerful forces that have shaped our lives. And one of those forces is the force of history.

King possessed a deep understanding of the enduring power of history has in our lives. In his last address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) “Where Do We Go From Here?” he argued:

From old plantations of the South to newer ghettos of the North, the Negro has been confined to a life of voicelessness and powerlessness. Stripped of the right to make decisions concerning his [sic] life and destiny he has been subject to authoritarian and sometimes whimsical decisions of this white power structure. The plantation and ghetto were created by those how had power, both to confine those who had no power and to perpetuate their powerlessness. The problem of transforming the ghetto therefore is a problem of power—confrontation of the forces of power, demanding change and the forces of power dedicated to the preserving of the status quo.

2015-01-15 13.34.29If King were alive today, I think he would add another phase to his analysis. I think he would argue that the same power structure that created the plantation and the ghetto has transformed into a sprawling prison industrial complex. Thus, nonviolence is not merely the absence of violence, but a critical strategy in challenging unjust structures of power. For those persons and communities in our nation that continue to suffer under such injustices, such a strategy requires a profound form of self-love as well. Indeed, King argues that the first step in such an effort is to “massively assert our dignity and worth.” He continues, “We must stand up amidst a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values. We must no longer be ashamed of being black.”

If King were alive today I believe he would whole-heartedly affirm that black lives matter. Part of the great legacy of Dr. King is his ability to live out the ethics of love found in the religion of Jesus that does not sacrifice one’s cultural identity and particularity for a universal vision. It is this ethics of love that integrates issues of power and justice. King argued, “What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” King’s legacy calls us to love ourselves and one another, and to challenge through nonviolent resistance the unjust structures of power that threaten realization of beloved community.

Finally, there is another aspect of King’s legacy that I want to commend to you this day. It is the King who not only accomplished extraordinary things, but who also experienced all to ordinary forms of self-doubt. King’s life and ministry continued to be rooted in a relationship with God. Whatever and however your personal faith manifests itself, however you are in relationship with that which is larger than yourself, it is not incidental but essential for building community.

At a critical time during the movement in Montgomery, AL, King received a phone call at home. It was a death threat. In his autobiography, he recalled how he walked the floor, how he was frustrated and bewildered, thinking about his beautiful daughter who had just been born. He felt as if he would not be able to go on much longer. Then, at the kitchen table he began to pray aloud:

Lord, I’m down here trying to do what’s right. I think I’m right. I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But Lord, I must confess that I’m weak now, I’m faltering. I’m losing my courage. Now, I am afraid. And I can’t let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage, they will begin to get weak. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.

And then King heard a quiet voice saying to him, “Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you. Even until the end of the world.” Martin later explained, “I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me alone. At that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before. Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything.”

As all we continue to work for the beloved community, know that at times it will be difficult, but build anyway. We are all a part of a divine economy where we will reap from things we haven’t sown and will sow things we will never reap, so build on. Build when in the good times and build in the bad times. Build when you feel strong and build when you feel faint. Build. Build. Build.

Thank you for your time today.

Dr. Christophe Ringer, Visiting Assistant Professor, joined the Religion and Philosophy faculty at Christian Brothers University in the fall of 2014. Prior to coming to CBU, he served on the faculty of American Baptist College and has taught courses at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. After earning his B.A. (1995) form University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana, IL) and M.Div (2005) from Vanderbilt Divinity School, Dr. Ringer went on to earn a Ph.D. in Religion, Ethics and Society from Vanderbilt Graduate School of Religion. His primary areas of research are social and theological ethics, public theology, political philosophy, critical theory, African American religion and culture studies with special interests in the theologies of Howard Thurman and Paul Tillich and critical prisons studies.

Past SOA Events

STEMM Workshop
Christian Brothers University in partnership with Christian Brothers High School offered a workshop for educators featuring Dr. Justin Whitmer on “Facilitating Questions and Creating Problems” on Friday, March 20. Participants applied the basic principles of scientific inquiry and design thinking integral to Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) education; participated in collaborative breakout sessions to build lesson plans with compelling problems and case studies in various disciplines such as English, Literature, Social Studies, Sciences, and Fine Arts; learned tips to transform a classroom into a collaborative learning environment in multiple academic disciplines in grades K-12; built project-based and problem-based lesson plans, and developed assessment strategies to employ in classrooms.

Come to the Table, Faith and Our Food System
Dr. Jennifer Ayres spoke in the University Theater on March 26. Dr. Ayres is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Director of the Religious Education Program at Emory University. She is the author of two books: Waiting for a Glacier to Move: Practicing Social Witness and Good Food: Grounded Practical Theology. The event was sponsored by the CBU Department of Religion & Philosophy and the Memphis Center for Food and Faith.

Feeling My Neighbor’s Faith: Aesthetics and Hindu-Christian Encounter
The CBU Department of Religion & Philosophy also recently presented a lunch and learn with Dr. Michelle Voss Roberts of Wake Forest University on April 13. Christian encounters with other faith traditions can evoke strong aesthetic reactions, both positive and negative. At the same time, the intensity and meaningfulness of aesthetic experience have often been described in theological terms. Dr. Roberts brings together these insights in her study of Hindu traditions. In this lunch and learn discussion, she talked about how Hindu theological aesthetics can illuminate the role of art and emotion in interfaith understanding.

Upcoming: 10th Annual Vanderhaar Symposium

media_photo_-_Simone_Campbell_12414_0The tenth annual Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium at Christian Brothers University presents Sister Simone Campbell, sss. Sister Simone has served as Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice lobby, since 2004. She is a religious leader, attorney, and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare, and economic justice.


Thursday, April 16th, 2015. 7 p.m. in the University Theater – Free Admission!                 For more information visit: www.gvanderhaar.org

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SOA Faculty Making News

Dr. Samantha Alperin (Education) represented CBU on the Teacher Effectiveness Committee with Shelby County Schools – a committee of each of the directors of teacher education programs at each of the universities in West TN. She also conducted two seminars: ‘Put the Textbook Down and Teach’ for the summer Diocesan in-service at Holy Rosary this July; and ‘You have an IEP, Now What?’ for the fall Diocesan in-service at CBHS in October.

On October 16, Dr. Libby Broadwell (Literature and Languages) gave the keynote address on the Southern writer Eudora Welty to approximately 200 students in grades 9 through 12 at CBU Middle College’s Literary Festival. This event was the culmination of the students’ study across the disciplines of the short story “A Worn Path.”

Dr. Kristian O’Hare (Literature and Languages) was invited by his alma mater (Western Michigan University) to do an alumni reading as part of the Fall 2014 Gwen Frostic Reading Series.

Dr. Scott D. Geis (Chair, Religion and Philosophy) attended the Kierkegaard Symposium this November at Baylor University, where he presented his paper, “The Hound’s Distant Baying, the Attentive Teacher, and Kierkegaard’s Point of View.”

Additionally, as part of the implementation phase of CBU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Dr. Geis (Religion & Philosophy), along with Dr. James Moore (Biology), attended the 2014 National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, this October.

Golightly IrelandDr. Karen Golightly (Literature and Languages) attended the American Conference of Irish Studies in Dublin, Ireland in June 2014 where she presented her paper: “The Past and the Present: Battling it Out in Tana French’s In the Woods.” She was also a featured reader at the Partners in Health Fundraiser in April 2014, where she read a fiction piece titled, “There Are Things I Know.” Additionally, she attended the Southern Literary Festival in Oxford, MS, in March, where she accepted an honorable mention for Castings in the print literary journal category of their annual competition. Furthermore, she had 15 photos accepted for publication in Number Magazine (including the cover and an accompanying article entitled, “Graffiti: Art for the Lucky”), Pank Magazine, El Aleph Magazine, and Star 82 Review.

9781441115485On July 22, the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala, Dr. Emily Holmes gave a lecture on “Mary of Magdala and Marguerite Porete: Faithful Witnesses” at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Additionally, Breathing with Luce Irigaray, a collection of essays centered on the work of philosopher Luce Irigaray, which she co-edited with Lenart Škof was released.


Dr. Karl Leib (History & Political Science) had an article published in Science and Politics: An A to Z Guide to Issues and Controversies (CQ Press, 2014).The article is entitled “The International Space Station.”

Dr. Christophe Ringer (Religion and Philosophy) recently presented two papers: “District 9 and the Gates of Difference,” at Afrofuturism in Black Theology: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the State of Black Religion in the Black Metropolis sponsored by the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University this October; and “The Militarization of the American Dream,” at Nightmare on Our Street: A Teach-In on Racialized Violence in America, again sponsored by the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University on October 31st.

Dr. Jeff Sable (Behavioral Sciences) teamed up with Rebecca Klatzkin from Rhodes College to give a workshop at MSPC (which CBU hosted in March): How to Read Minds (well… sort of): An Introduction to Psychophysiological Methods, and was co-author of a talk given there.

He also co-authored of a journal article published in March in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. The article was “Sex differences in response to amphetamine in adult Long-Evans rats performing a delay-discounting task”, by Paul A. Eubig, Terese E. Noe, Stan B. Floresco, Jeffrey J. Sable, and Susan L. Schantz. This was a collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of British Columbia.

Furthermore, he and Dr. Mary Campbell (Behavioral Sciences) attended the third annual Symposium for Lasallian Research, held in September at St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, MN. The symposium was attended by more than 120 members of the Lasallian community from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Andorra, and New Zealand—primarily from colleges and universities. The conference fosters international relationships and collaborations among researchers, especially in advancing research in line with the Lasallian mission.

As part of one of the conference “breakout sessions”, Dr. Sable delivered a talk entitled “Psychophysiological Methods for Assessment of Education and Learning Innovations”, which is related to one of the three broad themes on the research agenda of the International Association of LaSalle Universities.

History professors Dr. Neal Palmer, Dr. Ben Jordan, Dr. Marius Carriere, and Dr. Doug Cupples presented papers at the 30th Annual Ohio Valley History Conference at Austin Peay State University. Palmer’s and Jordan’s papers were a part of a panel on “Race & Identity: The Politics of Citizenship during World War I.”  Carriere’s and Cupples’ papers were on the topic “Varied Perspectives of the Civil War Era.”

Dr. Ric Potts (Education) presented a workshop for 12th Annual RISE state conference: Reading Instruction Successfully Enhanced – topic: “6 Trait Writing and Common Core: Meeting Students Where They Are and Providing the Path to Improvement” this April. He also gave a presentation titled “Literacy in the Age of Common Core” for the Martin Institute Conference in Memphis in June.

Dr. Brendan Prawdzik’s (Literature and Languages) article, “Naked Writhing Flesh: Rhetorical Authority and Theatrical Recursion,” remains forthcoming in the tentatively titled volume, “Varietie without end”: Generative Irresolution in Milton’s Poetry, ed. Mimi Fenton and Louis Schwartz. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press. Additionally, his article “State-Building in Harrington’s Oceana and Milton’s Paradise Lost, i-ii,” was recently published in Notes & Queries. Dr. Prawdzik has also been chosen to present “Samson Agonistes: Passion’s Looking-Glass” at the 2015 International Milton Symposium in Exeter, England in July of 2015.

Jana Travis (Chair, Visual and Performing Arts) was in a group show in June at Marshall Arts called: THIS ART HAS COOTIES. Follow the link to read the review in the Memphis Flyer.

The following faculty members were granted tenure or received promotions for the 2014-15 academic year:

Dr. Wendy Ashcroft (Education) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Burt Fulmer (Religion & Philosophy) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Karen Golightly (Literature & Languages) has been granted tenure.
Dr. Clayann Panetta (Literature & Languages) has been promoted to the rank of Professor.
Nick Peña (Visual & Performing Arts) has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.

Faculty News

Dr. Marius Carriere (History & Political Science) kicked off Black History Month activities with a presentation on ”Blacks in Post Civil War Memphis: White Resistance to Reconstruction and the 1866 Riot.” Later that day, Student Life, in conjunction with Student Government Association, Black Student Association, and the National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities and sororities, sponsored a showing of the Academy Award-nominated 12 Years a Slave at Playhouse on the Square. After the Brother Allen Johnson and Dr. Jeffrey Gross (Literature & Languages) shared their impressions and lead a discussion after the event.

Education Department faculty members participated in the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) conference in Nashville the weekend of March 26th. The faculty attended the conference in preparation for a visit by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in spring 2015. Topics included accreditation standards, reviewers’ expectations, how to measure candidate effectiveness, and the overall review process.

Dr. Jeff Gross (Literature & Languages) delivered the keynote address at the 11th Annual English Graduate Student Conference at the University of Kentucky on March 28. His address, “Grad School Won’t Kill You: Reflections on the Transition from Ph.D. Program to Assistant Professor,” addressed trends in the humanities and deconstructed both the rhetoric and accuracy of sensationalized “Don’t go to Grad School” polemics.

EmilyDr. Emily A. Holmes (Religion and Philosophy) served on the planning committee of the Fourth Annual Mid-South Farm to Table conference, held on February 4, 2014, at Christian Brothers University, for which she organized three well-attended panels: “Beyond Charity: Faith-Based Food Justice Initiatives”; “Theory and Practice: The Role of Colleges and Universities in Building a Just, Local, and Sustainable Food System”;  and “Good Food for All: Increasing Access to Locally Sourced Foods.”

Additionally, on February 9, 2014, Dr. Holmes gave a public lecture on “Healing the Body and Repairing the World: The Ethics of Eating.” She was invited to speak by the Women of Reform Judaism Temple Israel Sisterhood as part of their event called SPA…ahh! A Spiritual Approach to a Happy & Healthy Life.

Her most recent book, Flesh Made Word: Medieval Women Mystics, Writing, and the Incarnation, was published in November by Baylor University Press. Dr. Shawn Copeland, Professor of Systematic Theology at Boston College, writes, “Flesh Made Word brings medieval mystical writers and post-modern theorists into dialogue in order to demonstrate their relevance for a contemporary feminist theology and a theology of the Incarnation. This is an engaging and elegant work of history and theology.”

Furthermore, Dr. Holmes and Dr. Paul Haught (Dean, School of Arts) have each published an article in a special environmental issue, Living with Consequences, of the Slovenian philosophy journal Poligrafi. Dr. Holmes’ article is entitled “Ecofeminist Christology, Incarnation, and the Spirituality and Ethics of Eating.” Dr. Haught’s essay is entitled, “Place, Narrative, and Virtue.”

CFTK_SAECBU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and many other amazing CBU students volunteered their day on Saturday, January 25th, to the annual Cheer for the Kids event and helped raise $44,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South.

Cheer for the Kids is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by Professor Chanda S. Murphy (Behavioral Sciences) and fellow Memphian Ashley Bradford (front right and left respectively) to help raise awareness and money for local child-focused philanthropy organizations. For more information please visit Cheer for the Kids.

Professor Nick Pena‘s works Disruptive Pattern, oil on canvas, 48×48” and Through the Moulin, oil on canvas, 48×48” were selected, by Curator Ian Lemmonds, for an exhibition at Crosstown Arts Gallery titled Inspired Resistance. The exhibition focused on highlighting artists who have resisted failure by continuing to hone their craft. The exhibition featured 7 artists and more than 50 works of art. The exhibition opened on Monday, the 11th of February and closed on Saturday the 1st of March. Further information including a review of the exhibition and video introduction by the curator, Ian Lemmonds, can be found at the Memphis Flyer.


Through the Moulin

Professor Peña was also one of eight finalists for the third annual Emmett O’Ryan Award for Artistic Inspiration, an award organized by ArtsMemphis. This was the first year the competition was open to faculty and students at local college and universities. Peña’s recent work in his What Lies Beneath series has exhibited at the Eggman &  Walrus gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at Lyon College’s Kresge Gallery in Batesville, Arkansas. Paintings from this series will be highlighted in a solo exhibition entitled Processing the Ideal at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens from July 13th to October 5th. The exhibition will be sponsored by Suzanne and Nelly Mallory and Charles Wurtzburger with an opening reception on Thursday, July 17th in the Mallory and Wurtzburger Gallery from 6-8pm.

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Professor Pena (front row, first from left) with the other nominees.

Dr. Brendan M. Prawdzik’s (Literature and Languages) article “Theater of Vegetable Love and the Occult Fall in Paradise Lost,” has been accepted for publication in One First Matter All: New Essays on Milton, Materialism, and Embodiment by Duquesne University Press, Pittsburgh, PA (publication date TBA).

He recently delivered his paper, “‘Eyes and Tears’: Spiritual Phenomenology and Marvell’s Religion,” at Exploring the Renaissance: An International Conference, a meeting of the Marvell Society of America in Tuscon, AZ, April 3-5, 2014. At the conference Dr. Prawdzik was nominated for and elected to the Executive Committee of the Marvell Society, an international group of scholars — some the most renowned in the field — who work on the poet Andrew Marvell.

marvell society 1A

Dr. Prawdzik (back row, fifth from right) with members of the Marvell Society, including scholars from the U.S., Canada, England, and the Netherlands.

The following School of Arts faculty members have been promoted effective the 2014-2015 academic year:

Clayann G. Panetta, Ph.D. to Professor of Literature and Languages                   Nicholas Pena, M.F.A. to Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts            Conrad J. Brombach, Ed.D. to Professor of Behavioral Sciences


Melting Ice; Mending Creation

On October 3rd, Dr. Ben Jordan (Director of the Living Learning Communities) hosted an interfaith discussion group to talk about a Catholic approach to climate change in honor of this year’s Feast of St. Francis program highlighting the Pontifical Academy of Science’s Working Group report titled Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene. The program featured the photographic evidence of melting glaciers as documented by James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey. Balog is the science photographer behind the recently released documentary film Chasing Ice.

Whiteout Glacier, Alaska, June 13, 2008

James Balog, Whiteout Glacier, Alaska, June 13, 2008

“The mixture of students, Christian Brothers, staff, and faculty of different faiths made for an engaging discussion for the ‘Melting Ice, Mending Creation’ event,” Dr. Jordan said. “I was particularly intrigued by the comments that science’s data about glaciers melting and global temperature rising might help convince people that there is a climate change problem, but that linking those concerns to faith and spirituality can often do a better job of motivating more people to take action. The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, hosts a national event like this each year in honor of the Feast of Saint Francis for schools, colleges, and churches – so I look forward to another good event next year that allows CBU folks of different faiths to explore how spirituality shapes our understanding of the environment and sustainability”

logo_covenantAs the Catholic Climate Covenant states on their webpage, “Catholics are called to respect God’s creation and deal with environmental issues, particularly as they affect the poor. Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statements have highlighted the moral imperative for Catholics to care for God’s creation and its impact on those least able to respond. These statements are based on scientific evidence and public discourse which have converged in making climate change such an urgent moral imperative.”

Also in attendance for the discussion was Biochemistry major and Lasallian Fellow, Anna Birg. She had this to say: “For many, religion is a means to gain moral insight and to help one another. In this case, the moral issue at hand is rising environmental temperatures, which are causing glaciers to melt, promoting high and unsafe sea levels. Although I am neither Catholic nor a Christian, I do recognize that religion, spirituality, and faith can all be means for people to realize the negative effect pollution is having on the world and to make changes. For example, Catholic values encourage people to become more environmentally friendly because the religion emphasizes that the Earth is God’s creation and that society must care for and protect it to show their gratitude. Additionally, as the group discussed, the Lasallian values of faith, community, and service tie in to the need to improve the community’s surroundings, particularly through education, institutional practices such as recycling, and CBU’s September of Service.”

Students interested in studying this theme further may want to take Dr. Mary Leigh Pittenger’s new Spring RS 292 class on “Environmental Theology.” CBU also offers a Minor in Sustainability Studies.

The Spirit in Belgrade by Dr. James B. Wallace

Belgrade from the Sava River, with the steeple of Holy Archangel Michael Cathedral in the background.

Belgrade from the Sava River, with the steeple of Holy Archangel Michael Cathedral in the background.

The Balkans – and Belgrade in particular – have long been a meeting place of East and West. In the long and tragic history of conquest, subjugation, and revolt, this meeting has often been violent. But it has also led to more irenic blends of East and West, most obviously in Eastern Orthodox churches in Belgrade and surrounding areas. Like almost every Orthodox church, the Archangel Michael Cathedral in Belgrade contains an iconostasis (or wall of icons) that separates the people from the altar, where the clergy officiate. The style of the iconography, however, is thoroughly Western. The icons resemble Western paintings in their realism and detail, and are not like the more idealized images of saints typical of Byzantine and Russian iconography. And yet, one need not travel far to find Orthodox churches built in a different style.  The small chapel next to St. Sava’s Church – one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world – displays a return to more traditional forms of iconography.  Every inch of the interior walls, from floor to ceiling, is painted with icons more reminiscent of the Byzantine style.

St. Sava’s Cathedral, Belgrade, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.

The author. St. Sava’s Cathedral, Belgrade, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.

I was in Belgrade for another meeting of East and West. From August 25-August 31, I attended the Sixth International Symposium of New Testament Scholars. These conferences bring together Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox New Testament scholars to discuss a common theme.  This year’s theme was, “The Holy Spirit and the Church According to the New Testament.” For each session, the organizers paired a paper by an Orthodox scholar with a paper by a Western scholar on the same subject, such as “The Holy Spirit and the Church in the Gospel of John.” Although debates about finer points of interpretation always followed the papers, we often reached agreement in our interpretation of major points. It was said more than once that the “Western” paper was “more Orthodox” than the “Orthodox” paper. We were thus reminded that our constructs of “East” and “West” are often rather artificial.In the afternoons, we held three concurrent seminars. I was one of three co-chairs of the seminar, “The Spirit in Ancient Judaism.” During the Tuesday session, I presented my paper, “Spirit in The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs,” which explores a fascinating blend of Old Testament, Persian, and Stoic concepts of “spirit” in a non-canonical, Jewish text.

The Holy Spirit has often been regarded as the most difficult Person of the Trinity to write and speak about, even though, ironically, the Spirit is the Person most intimately linked in the New Testament with the human experience of the divine (especially in Paul’s letters) and the disciples’ ability to understand and interpret Jesus’s ministry (especially in John’s Gospel). Just as the Spirit eludes the grasp of language, the most profound dimensions of the Symposium resist easy formulations. The heart – indeed, the joy – of this conference was the opportunity to connect with colleagues from other parts of the world.

This image comes from the frescos that cover the interior of a small chapel at Kovilj Monastery. The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and the book symbolizes Scripture. This icon was taken as the official symbol for our symposium.

This image comes from the frescos that cover the interior of a small chapel at Kovilj Monastery. The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and the book symbolizes Scripture. This icon served as the official symbol for our symposium.

The hospitality of our Serbian hosts seemed boundless, and the collegial spirit of the Symposium made it one of the richest professional experiences of my life thus far. During the long, multi-course meals, I might find myself with a Belorussian colleague to my left, a Romanian colleague to my right, and a German colleague in front of me. While sitting outdoors at a restaurant in the countryside, surrounded by orchards and enjoying the copious amounts of food we were served, we discussed church life and our intellectual pursuits, as well as the challenges of balancing family life with our careers. We listened to Serbian folk music and enjoyed traditional Serbian food. I conversed with a Serbian bishop committed equally to the spiritual life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and to rigorous engagement with the Western intellectual tradition. These opportunities for learning from one another and exchanging ideas were where I felt the Spirit most fully.