MacLean Chair to Discuss Gender and Sexuality Issues

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Father Jose Ignacio Badenes, S.J. comes to Saint Joseph’s University as the Donald I. MacLean Chair for the fall semester. With the goal of broadening students’ perceptions, the associate professor of Spanish from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles plans to speak about gender and sexuality to contextualize the author on whom he specializes: the Spaniard Federico Garcia Lorca.

Currently on sabbatical from LMU, Fr. Badenes founded LMU’s Catholic Studies program and was its director for 6 years. This semester, he is teaching an Honors First Year seminar titled “And the Word became flesh: The body, desire, and Catholic spirituality in Western civilization.” It takes an interdisciplinary look at the relationship between flesh and spirit in Western culture and how it influences gender and sexuality issues.

“My hope is that the course’s focus and the diverse material the students will be exposed to will awaken their imaginations, widen their intellectual and personal horizons, sharpen already acquired skills, encourage them to think deeply and critically, and benefit their lives and those of others with whom they come in contact,” he says.

In addition to teaching in the Honors program, Fr. Badenes will deliver the annual MacLean Chair lecture, this year on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 4 p.m.  Entitled “Behold whom they have pierced: Federico Garcia Lorca’s alter-Christus and sacrificial masculinity.” The lecture will focus on how early 20th century Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca uses the image of Christ – particularly the suffering Christ of the Passion – to question patriarchal interpretations of masculinity. The talk is part of a larger project on how Lorca recreates Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian and popular mythological characters, stories and themes in his literary work to contest sexual and gender norms.

“The lecture is not meant for specialists alone, but for anyone in the SJU community interested in knowing something about Lorca or gender and sexuality issues,” says Fr. Badenes. “Lorca was a very talented man who was killed at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 for standing up against the status quo.”

Fr. Badenes received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgetown University; studied philosophy and literature at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid; completed his master’s degree in romance languages and literatures at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; received his master’s in divinity and master’s in theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley; and took his Ph.D. in Hispanic languages and literatures at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His areas of expertise are peninsular Spanish literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, comparative literature, interdisciplinary studies and gender theory. He has been published in both English and Spanish on writers ranging from Manuel Machado to Federico Garcia Lorca to Tennessee Williams.

Originally a Maryland province Jesuit, Badenes transcribed to the California province a few years ago. He sees his time as the MacLean Chair as an opportunity to become reacquainted with the area and get to know SJU and its Jesuit community.

The Donald I. MacLean, S.J., Chair is held by members of the Society of Jesus who are accomplished teachers and scholars in the arts and sciences. Established to emphasize that the University's Jesuit identity is inseparable from the finest teaching, scholarship and collegiate discourse, the Chair is named in honor of the University's 24th president.

Expand this section