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“Engaging Religious Differences” Theme of Engagement Week 2013

by Ashley Schaffner | Mar 27, 2013

Grawemeyer Award winner Dr. Leila Ahmed to address the resurgence of the hijab among contemporary Muslim women 

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will host Grawemeyer Award winner Dr. Leila Ahmed and Dr. Stephen Prothero during Engagement Week 2013, a rich consortium of this year’s Festival of Theology, alumni reunion and Grawemeyer lecture. Engagement Week is Monday through Wednesday, April 8-10 on the Seminary’s campus. The 2013 Festival Preacher is Rev. Dr. Cynthia Campbell, former president of McCormack Seminary and current senior minister of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville.

This year, Seminary alumni and other Engagement Week participants will enjoy a variety of thought-provoking activities on campus. The lectures by Dr. Prothero and Dr. Ahmed address topics related to the changing religious landscape in the United States, which is now the most religiously diverse nation in the world. The alumni reunion will include opportunities for former students to attend Seminary classes, enjoy fellowship, worship together and reacquaint themselves with friends and former classmates.

All Engagement Week activities will focus on religious pluralism, a particularly timely theme for the Seminary, which recently introduced its Doors to Dialogue (D2D) program. Doors to Dialogue is an initiative that prepares graduates for ministry and leadership in intra-Christian, interfaith and multi-cultural settings.

Excitement on campus and throughout the community is building in anticipation of this year’s lectures. Dr. Leila Ahmed, a prestigious Egyptian-American scholar and expert on Muslim feminism, is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. Ahmed is best known for her groundbreaking work on the historical and social status of women in Muslim communities. She’ll speak about her Grawemeyer Award-winning book, A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, specifically the reappearance of the hijab, or veil, among modern-day Muslim women. Ahmed’s lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m.

“In her groundbreaking book, A Quiet Revolution, Ahmed offers a nuanced account of the many reasons why some Muslim women wear hijab. She persuasively argues that for contemporary Muslim-American women, the decision to wear the veil can be a statement of support for social justice and for justice for women,” said Shannon Craigo-Snell, faculty director for the Grawemeyer Award in Religion and professor of Theology at Louisville Seminary. “Her timely work illuminates how the meanings of religious acts and symbols develop within particular contexts. A Quiet Revolution is a powerful book that explores the current moment of creative possibility among Muslim-Americans.”

On Tuesday, April 9, Dr. Stephen Prothero will offer two lectures. A professor of Religion at Boston University, Prothero has degrees from both Harvard and Yale. He has appeared on numerous national television programs to comment on the importance of understanding religious difference. (Click here for video of Prothero’s discussion with Stephen Colbert.) He has also been a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe and other noteworthy publications.

“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Prothero to campus this year. Through his books and lectures he has made an incredible contribution to helping people understand the new religious landscape where our students will serve as church leaders,” said David C. Hester, professor and director of Continuing Education at Louisville Seminary. “Today’s Christian congregations have Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish neighbors. To listen generously and participate with one another in activities that serve the common good in our world, we need the wisdom of scholars like Stephen Prothero to help us compare and contrast our religious traditions.”

Prothero’s lectures are supported by two annual, endowed lectureships—the Frank H. Caldwell and the Theodore M. Greenhoe lectures. All lectures are free and open to the public, and will be presented in the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel at Louisville Seminary. Click here for a detailed schedule and online registration.

About ‘Covenant for the Future,’ Louisville Seminary’s strategic plan

Louisville Seminary's 'Covenant for the Future' seeks to eliminate seminary tuition debt, which is a persistent problem among seminary graduates across the nation. Because they will not be burdened by seminary debt, our graduates will be free to go wherever God calls them when they graduate. They may be called to lead a congregation, to develop a new church, to establish a nontraditional worshiping community, to serve as a marriage and family therapist or a hospital chaplain or to create an as-yet-unimagined position as servant and leader for the world.

About Louisville Seminary
Founded in 1853, Louisville Seminary offers an inclusive and diverse learning community, welcoming students from wide ecumenical backgrounds while maintaining its long, historic commitment to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Louisville Seminary is committed to building bridges across the world's religious, racial and cultural divides. It is distinguished by its nationally-recognized marriage and family therapy and field education programs, the scholarship and church service among its faculty and a commitment to training women and men to participate in the continuing ministry of Jesus Christ.

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