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“‘Born This Way’: The Political & Personal Challenges of American Religious Pluralism”

Sept. 22, 2011
7 p.m. Lecture
Fort Howard Theater, Bemis International Center

Dr. Kathleen Flake
Associate Professor of American Religious History
Vanderbilt University Divinity School

Kathleen Flake is ideally suited to address the theme for the 2011-12 Killeen Chair lecture series: “Religious Pluralism in America.” An associate professor of American Religious History at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Dr. Flake earned her B.A. in English from Brigham Young University in 1974, her J.D. degree from the University of Utah School of Law in 1980, her M.A. in religious studies from the Catholic University of America in 1995 and her Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago in 2000. At Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Dr. Flake has taught a variety of courses related to the 2011-2012 theme for the Killeen Chair lecture series, including “History of Religion in America,” “Church and State in American History,” “The Public Role of Religion in America” and “New Religious Movements.” She is the author of The Politics of Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle, which won the Best Book Award of the Mormon History Association in 2005.

Dr. Flake’s scholarly essays have appeared in such highly respected journals as the Journal of Religion, Religion and American Culture and the Journal of Ritual Studies. In addition to her publications, Dr. Flake has presented scholarly papers on a variety of topics at numerous academic conferences, and has been invited to lecture at a number of colleges and universities, among them Harvard, Princeton, Yale Divinity School and Claremont School of Religion.

In a fascinating and stimulating presentation, Dr. Flake will examine the evolution of American religious pluralism, asking what about this evolution has led many people to doubt both our national will and our Constitutional processes for accommodating religious differences. Can we manage the religious pluralism that today defines our body politic? Are we able today to make, out of many, one people dedicated to the ideal of "liberty and justice for all"? Should the United States think of itself as Christian? Should it be religiously informed at all?

You may search the Mulva Library catalog for a selection of books available by Kathleen Flake. Books are also available to purchase after the lecture and at the St. Norbert College bookstore.