Catholic Intellectual Series Examines Race, Gender

Monday, October 1, 2007

The University's Catholic Intellectual Series began Monday, September 24, with a discussion entitled "Catholic Dialogues on Race and Feminism: From the Past to the Future."

Diane Batts Morrow, Ph.D., associate professor of history and African American studies at The University of Georgia, presented a paper on the Catholic Sisters of Providence, a Roman Catholic order of African American nuns founded by Elizabeth Lange in 1828 in San Domingo, Haiti. Batts Morrow's study of the Sisters of Ordinance painted them as pioneers of African American Catholic feminism. Said Batts Morrow, "The Oblate Sisters of Providence converted their religious status into an effective counter-identity with which to resist, to defy, and ultimately to transcend the restrictions and social controls white society sought to impose on them because of their racial identity."

M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D., associate professor of theology at Boston College, looked at the more recent effects of the development of theology from a feminist perspective, starting in the 1960s and ranging up to the present day. Copeland's discussion focused on a review of "the presence and absence of discussions about race." Topics included, among others, the intrinsic patriarchy of Catholicism and the inherent difficulties women of race have in identifying with it.

The Catholic Intellectual Series brings speakers to campus several times a year for examination and enhancement of the University's religious identity. For more information and a schedule of future discussions, visit

--Daniel Wisniewski '08

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