James & David Orr Lecture on Culture & Religion

The James and David Orr Memorial Lectures on Culture and Religion bring to Dartmouth each year scholars and writers whose achievements are at the highest level, but whose main fields of interest are not necessarily religion. Past Orr Lecturers include historians, anthropologists, novelists, biologists, philosophers, and so on.


In 1972 James H. Orr, a Boston financier and supporter of the Religion Department at Dartmouth, provided the funding for a lecture series now known as the "James and David Orr Memorial Lectures on Culture and Religion." The initial "Orr Lecture" was given that year by Mircea Eliade of the University of Chicago who lectured on "Sacred City, Sacred Time." Past Orr Lecturers include Lionel Trilling, Mary Douglas, Edward Said, Carolyn Bynum, Edward Shils, Rodney Needham, Donald Davidson, Amartya Sen, Gita Mehta, Judith Butler, Karen Amstrong, and Steven Pinker.

Vatican II: Past, Present & Future
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Filene Auditorium

December 8, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council, by any measure the most consequential gathering of the Western Church at least since the Council of Trent in the 16th century. Vatican II initiated wide-ranging reforms, from liturgy to theology. Five panelists - EJ Dionne, Jr., senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, professor at Georgetown University, and columnist for Commonweal and the Washington Post who covered the Vatican for the New York Times; Paul Elie, senior fellow with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown and director of the American Pilgrimage Project, a Georgetown  partnership with StoryCorps based in the Berkley Center that explores the ways religious beliefs inform the experiences of the American people at crucial moments in their lives; Marian Ronan, a Catholic feminist theologian who is the author of Tracing the Sign of the Cross: Sexuality, Mourning, and the Future of American Catholicism (Columbia Univ. Pr., 2009), a look at the Catholic culture wars since Vatican II, and, most recently, Sister Trouble: The Vatican, the Bishops, and the Nuns (CreateSpace, 2013); Sr. Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service and attorney who leads the Nuns on the Bus project, highlighting social issues, is the author of A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community (HarperOne, 2014), and was the 2014 recipient of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award, which commemorates the 1963 encyclical of Saint John XXIII; and Jeffrey N. Steenson, a patristics scholar who holds the M. Div. from Harvard Divinity School and the D. Phil. from Oxford University, was an Episcopal bishop, and is now, a Roman Catholic, monsignor, and full voting member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - with Religion Department Chair Randall Balmer moderating, will reflect on Vatican II. 

Co-sponsored by the Leslie Center for the Humanities.