Center on Religion and Culture Events

Vessel: A Spiritual Art Experience

Opening Reception
Saturday, May 6, 2023 | 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Church of St. Paul the Apostle
Columbus Avenue & W. 60th Street | New York, NY 10019

In a new exhibition curated by 2022-2023 Duffy Fellow Caitriona Delumpa, FCRH ‘22, experience how young people encounter spirituality through their own original art. Individuals from all traditions and faith backgrounds—or none at all!—are invited to an evening of art, live performance, music, and reflections as we celebrate the opening of “Vessel: A Spiritual Art Experience.”

Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be provided.

In partnership with Father Frank Sabatté and Openings Artist Collective, and co-sponsored by the Center on Religion and Culture Duffy Fellows Program.

The exhibition runs through June 14.

Questions on the Catholic Imagination(s)

Screening of a Work in Progress

Monday, May 22, 2023 | 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Film at Lincoln Center | Howard Gilman Theater
144 West 65th Street | New York, NY 10023

A Duffy Fellows Program Event

What creates the unlikely pairing of Cardinal Timothy Dolan and artist Andres Serrano? One answer is “the Catholic imagination” – a deep-rooted sensibility shaped by the symbols, images, and rites that incarnate Catholicism’s beliefs and traditions. But does a distinctive Catholic imagination exist? Or are there varieties of Catholic imaginations?

In an original documentary in production, Duffy Fellow Henry Sullivan (FCRH ‘24) explores these questions with a cast of believers and artists that includes Cardinal Dolan and Andres Serrano along with Julia Yost of First Things, and Angela O’Donnell of Fordham University, and others.

A conversation with the filmmaker and audience feedback will follow the screening

Henry Sullivan (FCRH ‘24) is double-majoring in Urban Studies and Theology at Fordham College at Rose Hill and he is a 2022-2023 Duffy Fellow.

Admission is free. Registration is required.

RSVP for the Event

  • Women and Youth: The Driving Force of Synodality

    Women and Youth CRC Event Image.

    Sister Nathalie Becquart, Pope Francis’s ambassador for a renewed Catholicism, on how the synod conversations are changing the church
    The 2023 Russo Lecture

    March 28, 2023 | 6 - 7:30 p.m.
    Church of St. Paul the Apostle | Columbus Avenue & W. 60th Street | New York, NY 10023

    Sister Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ, is undersecretary of the Vatican’s Office on the Synod—which makes her the highest-ranking woman at the Vatican and a leader in promoting the Pope’s vision of a more “synodal” church marked by listening and learning and inclusivity.

    Indeed, The New York Times called Sister Nathalie “the nun reshaping the role of women inside the Vatican.

    At this evening event at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Sister Nathalie will talk about how women and young people are the driving forces behind this push for a reinvigorated church, and she will take questions from the audience gathered in the sanctuary.

    This event relaunches our annual Russo Lecture series, which was paused by the pandemic.

    This lecture is made possible by the Russo Family Foundation in memory of Wanda and Robert Russo, Sr., M.D., FCRH ‘39

  • Voices from the Amazon

    Voices from the Amazon Event Image.

    Activists on Protecting the Indigenous and Healing the Planet
    March 25, 2023 | 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    12th Floor Lounge | Lowenstein Building
    Fordham University | 113 West 60th Street | New York, NY 10023

    The fate of the Amazon rainforest is tied to the fate of our planet: the vast region touches eight different South American countries plus French Guiana and is home to more than 2 million indigenous peoples from almost four hundred traditional nations. Moreover, the health of Amazonia’s ecosystem is key to the ecological health of the entire world.

    If nations can work in concert to protect at-risk human rights and rescue the unique biodiversity of the Amazon, then we can make great steps in advancing social peace and the common good – as well as saving our common home.

    This panel of distinguished religious leaders, activists, and theologians working to heal the Amazon will discuss the current crisis and prospects for change – and reasons for hope.

    Many of our speakers are in New York for the March 2023 United Nations Water Conference.


    Cardinal Pedro Barreto, SJ, Archbishop of Huancayo in Peru, is president of the newly-created Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA) and a member of the Board of the Amazonic University Program (PUAM). He is an outspoken defender of human rights and the Amazonian environment and works closely with Pope Francis on these issues.

    Patricia Gualinga is widely known for her work as a defender of the human rights of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku, an indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She is also vice-president of CEAMA and a member of the Amazonic University Program (PUAM).

    Fernando Ponce, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and President of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. He is a board member of AUSJAL, the association of thirty Jesuit universities in Latin America.

    Carol Jeri, is human rights coordinator for Caritas, the Catholic Church’s development and relief network in Madre de Dios in the Peruvian Amazon, and participant of the Human Rights School of the Panamazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM).

    Christiana Zenner is an associate professor of theology at Fordham University who writes widely on religious ecological ethics. She is the author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and Global Fresh Water Crises.

    , director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the audience.

    This event is organized and co-sponsored by the Amazonic University Program (PUAM) which is part of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA), the Association of Jesuit Universities in Latin America (AUSJAL), and .

  • China's New Civil Religion: A Challenge and Opportunity for the West

    China's New Civil Religion Event Image.

    A talk by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Johnson
    January 25, 2023 | 6:30 - 8 p.m.
    McNally Amphitheater | Fordham University at Lincoln Center
    140 W. 62nd Street | New York, NY 10023
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Event

    When outsiders think of religion in China, they tend to focus on persecution—for example, Muslims in Xinjiang or Christians in many big Chinese cities. While that is true for some faiths, China is in the midst of a religious boom, one that the government is trying to use to further its grip on power.

    In this lecture, Ian Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, argues that as the Chinese Communist Party seeks to maintain its hold on power, authorities are building something similar to the American “civil religion” that Robert Bellah described half a century ago.

    Johnson will discuss how Beijing is combining patriotism with local faiths, especially Buddhism, Taoism, and folk religion. But, he asks, can authoritarianism and religious life coexist? What are the risks as the Beijing government embraces some religions while opposing others?

    This presentation and audience conversation could not come at a more critical time, as China is vying for prominence on the world stage with the United States while also keeping an eye on growing unrest at home. Both globally and domestically, religion is once again at the center of questions about China’s future.


    Ian Johnson, author and journalist, lived and studied in China for more than twenty years and now works at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, where he researches social trends in China.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the audience.

    This event is co-organized by Fordham's CRC and the US-China Catholic Association.

  • Synodality: Catholicism’s Past, Present, and Future

    Synodality Catholicism’s Past, Present, and Future Center on Religion and Culture Event.

    Theologians and Historians on the Church at the Crossroads
    November 10, 2022 | 6:30 - 8 p.m.
    Tognino Hall | Duane Library
    Fordham University's Bronx Campus at Rose Hill
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Event

    “Synodality” has been the central theme of Pope Francis’s pontificate—and the source of intense opposition and widespread misunderstanding as the pope tries to create a culture of collaboration and participation in a church long predicated on a hierarchical model.

    So what is synodality? Why is there so much confusion? What is the history of this process? What does it look like today? And does it have a future?

    Synodality may seem like a buzzword to many but it appears to be here to stay: Francis just announced that instead of a single “Synod on Synodality” in October 2023 he would extend the global consultation by a year, culminating in a second meeting at the Vatican in October 2024.

    This panel features three distinguished theologians whose research and experience ranges from the halls of the Holy See to the pews of United States parishes.


    Rafael Luciani is a Venezuelan theologian and advisor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops. He is currently serving as an associate professor of theology at Boston College. His most recent book is Synodality: A New Way of Proceeding in the Church.

    Susan Bigelow Reynolds is an assistant professor of Catholic Studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Her research examines “the intersection of ecclesiology and lived Catholicism.” She has a new book from Fordham University Press, People Get Ready: Ritual, Solidarity, and Lived Ecclesiology in Catholic Roxbury.

    Brian Flanagan is an associate professor of theology at Marymount University who specializes in ecclesiology and church history. His most recent book is Stumbling in Holiness: Sin and Sanctity in the Church. He is currently writing a book on Pope Francis’s efforts to integrate practices of participation and transparency in the Catholic Church.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the audience.

    Co-Sponsors of this event include:

  • New Nukes and New Risks

    New Nukes and New Risks Center on Religion and Culture Event Image.

    The peril of nuclear weapons in an unstable world
    October 26, 2022 | 6:30 - 8 p.m.
    McNally Amphitheater | Fordham University at Lincoln Center
    140 W. 62nd Street | New York, NY 10023
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Event

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed the threat of nuclear destruction back onto the front pages and into our collective consciousness. In reality, that threat had never gone away but had been superseded in the public mind by crises such as global warming and political turmoil.

    This discussion among leading experts on nuclear weapons will gauge the risks the world faces today and in particular what Catholic peacemaking efforts – led by Pope Francis – can do. The event follows the recent United Nations review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the annual General Assembly of the UN, which spotlighted the nuclear threat.

    Our panel includes a former high-ranking NATO official, a diplomat from Mexico who specializes in international law, a Catholic University of America ethicist, and the Vatican’s representative to the United Nations, who will outline the contributions Pope Francis is making to the push for a non-nuclear future.

    This event is organized by Fordham’s CRC together with the Catholic Peacebuilding Network and the Project on Revitalizing Catholic Engagement on Nuclear Disarmament.


    Rose Gottemoeller is the former Deputy Secretary General of NATO and served nearly five years as the U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. She is currently a lecturer at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

    Maryann Cusimano Love is an associate professor of international relations at Catholic University of America. She has written widely on the ethics of war and weaponry and advises both the U.S. government and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on foreign policy issues.

    Ambassador Juan Manuel Gómez-Robledo is the deputy permanent representative of Mexico to the United Nations and member of the UN’s International Law Commission. He has extensive experience in disarmament issues.

    Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, who was named by Pope Francis to serve as the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in November 2019, will provide opening remarks. Archbishop Caccia has served the Vatican in many diplomatic posts around the world.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the audience.

    This event is dedicated to the work and memory of our colleague Drew Christiansen, SJ, who passed away in April 2022 after a long career devoted to Catholic peacebuilding.

    Co-Sponsors of this event include:

  • Instagram Ethics


    Iphone with apple earbuds

    Catholic Social Teaching and Social Media Activism
    A Duffy Fellows Program Event
    Wednesday, June 29, 2022 | Noon–1 p.m.

    Social media helped propel recent political movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. How might Catholic Social Teaching play a role in such activism? What might it tell us about online engagement? In this presentation, Duffy Fellow Samantha Sclafani will explore the position of religious ethics in the digital public square. 

    Samantha Sclafani is a graduating Fordham University senior double-majoring in Political Science and Theology and she is a 2021–2022 Duffy Fellow. Scalfani plans to attend law school in the fall of 2023.

  • Supera las fronteras (Transcend Borders)

    Border Wall

    Spirituality and Migration Activism
    A Duffy Fellows Program Event
    Thursday, May 26, 2022 | 11:00 a.m.–Noon

    How might spirituality, faith, or religion motivate the work of migration activists? In order to answer this question, 2021-2022 Duffy Fellows Madeline Hilf and Afrah Bandagi interviewed activists in New York City and at the Arizona-Mexico border during an investigative trip in early January 2022.

    Madeline Hilf is a graduating Fordham University senior double-majoring in Music and Film and minoring in Spanish and she is currently studying abroad at Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile. This summer, Hilf will serve as a full-time volunteer at Kino Border Initiative, a migration justice advocacy organization in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico.

    Afrah Bandagi is a Fordham University junior from Long Island and she is double-majoring in Philosophy and Political Science. Bandagi is an aspiring immigration attorney and she hopes to make migration justice her life’s work.

  • Urban Religion: A Walking Tour

    Church and City landscape

    A Duffy Fellows Program Event
    Saturday, May 14, 2022 | 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. | 1 mile walking
    Statue of St. Ignatius, Hughes Hall Patio
    Rose Hill Campus, Fordham University
    441 E. Fordham Rd. | Bronx, NY 10458 

    What does religious pluralism look like on a local and urban scale? Explore several Bronx neighborhoods near Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus with Duffy Fellow Benedict Reilly to find out. This ninety-minute walking tour will stop at several sites embodying the borough’s diverse faiths and discuss religious history, community, and practice. Afterward, join us for coffee and conversation on Arthur Avenue!

    Benedict Reilly is a 2021-2022 Duffy Fellow and a junior double-majoring in Theology and Humanitarian Studies at Fordham University College of Rose Hill. He recently edited and produced Queer Prayer at Fordham, a collection of reflections by Fordham community members, and he is heavily involved with Campus Ministry and the Center for Community Engaged Learning. This summer, Reilly will be traveling to Lebanon on a Tobin Travel Fellowship to research the French Jesuit and American Protestant missionary legacy in the region.

    Please note that Fordham requires all visitors to campus (ages 5 and older) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Booster shots will be required for all guests who are eligible. Please review the COVID-19 vaccination policy for more information.

  • Leonard Cohen’s Theological Legacy

    Exploring the songwriter's work through a Christian lens
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    Thursday, December 2, 2021 | 6 - 7 p.m.

    When Leonard Cohen, the singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist died five years ago, the cultural world mourned the loss of a great artist -- and the religious world mourned the loss of a unique spiritual voice. Cohen was a Canadian Jew who channeled Christian themes in his work and lived for years as a Buddhist monk.

    He put all of those beliefs and experiences into words and music, and the theological legacy of that astonishing body of work is still growing. The latest exploration of Cohen’s vision comes in a new book by the religious studies scholar, Marcia Pally, titled: From This Broken Hill I Sing To You: God, Sex, and Politics in the Work of Leonard Cohen.

    In this Fordham CRC webinar, Pally will highlight the religious impulses of Cohen’s six-decade career. The event will feature a conversation with Fordham theologians Kathryn Reklis and Thomas Beaudoin, as well as musical performances.

    Marcia Pally has taught at Fordham University and is a professor in Multilingual Multicultural Studies at New York University. She is an annual guest professor for the Theology Faculty at Humboldt University-Berlin and has written numerous books and articles on culture, religion, and politics.

    Kathryn Reklis, an associate professor of theology at Fordham University, writes on a range of topics, from modern Protestant theology to religion and pop culture. She has a regular column in The Christian Century, and her most recent book is Protestant Aesthetics and the Arts, co-edited with Sarah Covington.

    Thomas Beaudoin, a professor in Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, focuses on theologies, philosophies, and religious studies of practice; concepts and practices of religious disaffiliation and affiliation; and the theological and secular meanings of popular music.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the audience.

  • The Shaker Legacy

    The premier of a new documentary on the Shakers and a panel discussion
    November 4, 2021 | 6 - 7:30 p.m.

    Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture invites you to the screening of our inaugural short documentary project, , to be followed by a panel discussion with the participants and lead filmmaker.

    This event highlights work on the Shakers by Fordham University faculty and the construction of a new Shaker Museum facility in upstate New York that will house the most comprehensive collection of Shaker material culture and archives.

    Kathryn Reklis , an associate professor of theology at Fordham University, writes on a range of topics, from modern Protestant theology to religion and pop culture. Her most recent book is , co-edited with Sarah Covington.

    Lacy Schutz is the executive director of the Shaker Museum , as well as the historic Shaker site in New Lebanon, NY. The museum's permanent new facility in Chatham, NY is slated for completion in 2023.

    Courtney Bender , a professor of religion at Columbia University, specializes in contemporary American religion. She is completing a book on modernist visions of the future of religion that developed in twentieth-century architectural and planning projects.

    David Gibson , director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, led the filmmaking project and will moderate the discussion.

  • Things Get Broken

    A Jesuit Reflects on Leonard Bernstein's MASS at 50
    September 23, 2021 | 6 - 7 p.m.

    On September 8, 1971, the premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS inaugurated the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in memory of her late husband, the work bore the weight of a decade of sorrows: the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert, Martin Luther King, Jr.; racial unrest over civil rights; ongoing losses in the Vietnam War; the recent Kent State shootings, and much else.

    In this lecture, Stephen Schloesser, SJ, will explore not only Bernstein’s masterpiece -- and its incorporation of Jewish and Catholic liturgical elements -- but also its resonance for our present moment as we emerge from a lethal pandemic only to face grave threats to our civic order. 

    This event inaugurates the Ignatian Year at Fordham, a global observance by the Society of Jesus to commemorate the moment 500 years ago when a cannonball shattered the leg of Ignatius of Loyola. The wound put an end to his youthful dreams of personal glory but started Ignatius on a journey of conversion. 

    Loss was not the last word for Loyola -- as it was not for Bernstein, who provides music of both lament and hope after a broken year.

    Stephen Schloesser, S.J., Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago, specializes in modern European intellectual and cultural life and writes extensively on music, religion, mysticism, Jesuits, and Catholic thought and culture.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the audience.

  • The Rise of FREPAP in Peruvian Politics
    A Duffy Fellows Program Event
    June 16, 2021 | 12 p.m. EST

    The participation of FREPAP (Frente Popular Agricola del Peru or Agricultural People’s Front of Peru) in Peruvian national politics arose from the combination of American expansionism, the growth of evangelical Christianity, and the emergence of a strong Israelite movement in South America.

    Questions and concerns have emerged about the cult-like organization and activities of FREPAP and other Peruvian evangelical groups. Although their mainstream impact is not significant, their presence, force, and participation in Latin American politics cannot be ignored.

    Using a theological and sociological framework, Duffy Fellow Carlos Orbegoso Barrios will draw conclusions on the future of FREPAP and the impact of similar parties and movements in Latin America.

    Carlos Orbegoso Barrios (FCRH 2021) recently graduated with a double-major in theology and economics and he is a 2020-2021 Duffy Fellow.

  • A Zoom Reading
    A Duffy Fellows Program Event
    June 9, 2021 | 7 p.m. EST

    On Passover each year, four cups of wine are drunk throughout the Seder. A fifth is poured and left at an empty seat for Elijah, the prophet and herald of the messiah.

    Fifth Cup is a play in progress which explores the empty spaces that exist in modern Jewish life. Somewhere, two people watch as the Weisz family sits down for a Passover dinner and seder. But the evening sputters to a halt as one question comes to the fore: who gets Elijah’s cup when the night is over?

    Tune in for a reading from the first act and stick around after for a Q&A with the playwright, India Derewetzky.

    India Derewetzky (FCLC 2020) graduated summa cum laude with a concentration in theatre performance and she is a 2020-2021 Duffy Fellow.

  • How was Christianity Translated into Chinese?
    A Duffy Fellows Program Event
    June 8, 2021 | 12 p.m. EST

    China is known for three major faith traditions: Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. Did you know that there has also been a Christian presence in China since 635 AD? Alongside traded goods, Christianity traveled into East Asia through the Silk Road. Persian monks from what is now Iraq, Syria, and Iran gained the support of Emperor Taizong and began an extensive missionary effort centered in China’s ancient capital, Chang’an city.

    Due to archaeological evidence, scholars know that this stable community of Christian believers prospered in China. Ancient texts discovered in the Dunhuang Caves and a massive stone artifice called the Xi’an Stele preserved the rich theological tradition of this Christian community. These archaeological finds also document the methods the Syriac-speaking Persian monks used to translate Christian concepts and ideas into Chinese language and culture.

    In this presentation, Duffy Fellow Anastasia McGrath will examine the lexicological meaning behind the translation methods employed in these early Chinese Christian texts and inscriptions. This critical linguistic examination will bring to life the world of medieval China and this unique era of forgotten history.

    Anastasia McGrath (FCRH 2021) recently graduated with a major in international political economy and a minor in Mandarin Chinese and she is a 2020-2021 Duffy Fellow.

  • How and Why the Catholic Church Fosters Change
    A Duffy Fellows Program Event
    June 2, 2021 | 12 p.m. EST

    Co-sponsored by American Media

    The Catholic Church is frequently depicted as an archaic, stuffy, and staid institution trapped by tradition and encased in the immutability dogma. But what if we looked at the Church as one of most dynamic institutions in human history? For two millennia, the Catholic Church has spawned new innovations and adapted to new societies. It continues to encompass and embrace diverse cultures and to seize developments in technology, education, finance, and communications to further its mission.

    Join us for a conversation on how the Catholic Church continues to embrace this legacy of change and why -- now more than ever -- it must innovate to meet the needs and challenges of a global society.


    Helen Alford, O.P., Vice Rector, Pontifical University of St. Thomas

    Francis Davis, FRGS, Director of Policy, Edward Cadbury Centre, University of Birmingham

    Kerry Alys Robinson, Founding Partner, Leadership Roundtable

    Moderated by Nicholas D. Sawicki, Duffy Fellow, Center on Religion and Culture, Fordham University.

  • An Epistemic Theory of Sacramental Participation
    A Duffy Fellows Program Event
    May 26, 2021 | 12 p.m. EST

    The COVID-19 restrictions dramatically altered the landscape of Christian sacramental practice. Churches across the world boldly experimented with virtual liturgies, the number of live- streamed adorations multiplied, and many priests took to the phone (sometimes against the recommendation of Rome) to offer confession to the sick. While the intersection of information technology and sacramentality is not an altogether new phenomenon, the questions surrounding the legitimacy of virtual sacraments are now unavoidable.

    An epistemic theory of sacramental participation can provide a powerful explanation of the confusing theological landscape. According to this theory, one participates in the sacraments in proportion with two quantities: one’s ardent desire and one’s justified belief in the occurrence of the sacramental miracle. If it holds, this theory justifies the Church’s preference for in-person Mass while preserving the ontological validity of spiritual communion and also rebutting the iconoclastic criticism most commonly leveled against such virtualized sacraments.

    Duffy Fellow Philip Andrew Wines will present and advance this theory. Drawing chiefly on the philosophy of perception alongside medieval and early modern discourses on miracles, he will dispute existing criticism of virtual sacraments and will field questions from the audience.

    Philip Andrew Wines (FCRH 2022) is a student of philosophy, theology, medieval history, and Spanish language and he is a 2020-2021 Duffy Fellow.

  • Confronting America's legacy of food injustice and discrimination
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    April 21, 2021 | 12 - 1 p.m. EST

    Part of an ongoing series on "Race and Faith"
    In collaboration with Fordham’s Office of Campus Ministry

    Chattel slavery, institutional racism, and government policies alienated enslaved people and their descendants from the land. This continues to result in food insecurity, poor health, and property loss. Today, less than two-percent of working farms are owned by Black Americans.

    Activists, gardeners, authors, and farmers are re-discovering Black America’s rich agricultural heritage and its roots in spirituality and religious traditions. They are advocating for a new and empowering relationship with food production and the natural world.

    One of the leading voices of this new movement is Soul Fire Farm. Located in upstate New York, Soul Fire Farm is “an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system.”

    To mark Earth Day, Soul Fire Farm’s co-director will join us from the farm for a panel discussion to explore these issues and how the audience themselves might work toward a more equitable food system.


    Leah Penniman is the co-director and farm manager of Soul Fire Farm. She is the author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land and a 2019 recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award.

    Rufus Burnett, Jr. is an assistant professor of theology at Fordham University and he has written about the blues, decolonial theology, and the Black American experience. He is the author of Decolonizing Revelation: A Spatial Reading of the Blues.

    David Goodwin, assistant director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the online audience.

  • Loretta Ross offers a different response to campus "cancel culture"
    A Fordham Webinar
    April 7, 2021 | 4 - 5:15 p.m. EST

    This online workshop is a collaboration between Fordham’s Center for Community Engaged Learning and the Center on Religion and Culture.

    College campuses are a central arena in the battle over “cancel culture,” with a frequent weapon being the practice of “calling out” those who are judged to have said or done something wrong. The result is often conflict and misunderstanding rather than dialogue and mutual comprehension.

    Loretta Ross, a visiting professor at Smith College, has become known for her courses that promote “calling in” students rather than “calling out.”

    As Professor Ross, a self-described “Black radical feminist,” told The New York Times, “I think you can understand how calling out is toxic. It really does alienate people, and makes them fearful of speaking up.”

    A signer of last year’s famous letter in Harper’s Magazine against cancel culture, Professor Ross will speak to the Fordham community in a virtual workshop providing students and others a chance to engage with her via Zoom.

    The talk and workshop will be moderated by Julie Gafney, executive director of Fordham’s Center for Community Engaged Learning.

  • Freedom of speech, higher education, and the fate of America's public square
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    March 11, 2021 | 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. EST

    In collaboration with Fordham’s Center for Community Engaged Learning

    Cancel culture. De-platforming. Calling out. These are increasingly common terms for what may be a defining battle for our contentious society: the fight over who can say what and when.

    Yet what do these terms really mean? Are there limits to free expression? Or are we on the slippery slope to some Orwellian dystopia? This is no abstract argument. The future of university education, political discourse, and civil society -- not to mention individual careers and personal relationships -- will be defined by what we can say, how we say it, and what effect our words, or our silences, have on each other.

    This panel discussion will explore the state of the issue and what’s at stake.


    Laura Specker Sullivan is an assistant professor of philosophy at Fordham and a bioethicist specializing in culture and neuroethics.

    Jon Baskin is a founding editor at The Point magazine and the Associate Director of the Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism master's program at The New School for Social Research.

    Mary McNamara is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and culture critic at the Los Angeles Times. She wrote a column last year titled, “‘Cancel culture’ is not the problem. The Harper’s letter is.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the online audience.

  • Exploring a groundbreaking new survey from Pew Research
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    February 25, 2021 | 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. EST

    Part of an ongoing series on "Race & Faith"
    In collaboration with Fordham's Office of Campus Ministry

    Black Christians have played an outsized role in the nation’s religious as well as political and social life despite America’s brutal legacy of systemic racism. That role has been sharpened by the response of the Black churches to America’s recent upheavals and elections.

    The Pew Research Center recently released the largest ever survey of Black believers in the United States, Faith Among Black Americans. Its findings provide critical insights into the present and future dynamics of the Black churches -- as well as surprising facts about Black Catholics in particular.

    This webinar will feature an overview of the data by Pew’s lead researcher on the study, plus a discussion with leading experts on Black Catholicism. We will also field questions from our online audience.


    Besheer Mohamed, Ph.D., is a senior researcher at Pew Research Center and one of the principal authors of the new report.

    Kiana Cox, Ph.D., is a research associate at Pew Research Center and a principal author of the new report.

    Tia Noelle Pratt, Ph.D., is a sociologist of religion specializing in the ways systemic racism affects Black Catholic identity. She received her doctorate in sociology from Fordham University in 2010. She is the president of TNPratt & Associates, an inclusion and diversity consulting firm in Philadelphia, and she is the curator of the #BlackCatholicsSyllabus. She is currently working on a book, Faithful and Devoted: Racism and Identity in the African-American Catholic Experience.

    Bryan Massingale, S.T.D., is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a professor of theological and social ethics, and the James and Nancy Buckman Chair in Applied Christian Ethics at Fordham University. His most recent book is Racial Justice and the Catholic Church. His current writing projects explore the contributions of Black radicalism to Catholic theology and the intersections of race, sexuality, and faith.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham's Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the online audience.

  • New prospects for the abortion debate in America
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    January 27, 2021 | 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. EST

    Views on abortion rights in the United States have remained almost unchanged over the years while the politics of abortion have grown more polarized and partisan. Is there a way forward? Will events force a change in the debate? While the Supreme Court’s conservative composition could overturn Roe v. Wade, the incoming President, a Catholic, is vowing to protect abortion rights.

    This webinar brings together experts and faith-based voices who provide new perspectives on the legal, political, and social dynamics of today’s increasingly intense argument over abortion rights and the chances of a fundamental change in that debate.


    Tricia Bruce is a sociologist of religion and an affiliate of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society. Last summer she published a study, “How Americans Understand Abortion”, the largest in-depth interview study of American attitudes on abortion.

    Mary Ziegler, a professor of law at Florida State University, is one of the foremost authorities on the legal history of the American abortion debate. Her most recent book, Abortion and the Law in America: Roe v. Wade to the Present (2020), traces the legal history of the abortion debate from the recognition of a right to choose to “the likely undoing of Roe today.”

    Gloria Purvis is a Catholic radio host and popular media commentator. She served on the National Black Catholic Congress’s Leadership Commission on Social Justice and describes herself as “dedicated to promoting the sanctity of human life, marriage, and the dignity of the human person.”

    Katelyn Beaty is a former managing editor of Christianity Today, the flagship evangelical magazine, and an author and journalist who has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. She is an acquisitions editor for Brazos Press and is writing a book about celebrity in the church.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the online audience.

  • Trump, Biden, and the Future of Christian Nationalism

    What the presidential election means for rightwing religious populism
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    November 5, 2020 | 12 - 1 p.m. EST

    The second of a two-part series in collaboration with Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center

    Donald Trump's presidency coincided with the emergence of a fiery American nationalism fed by a strain of conservative Christianity and a sense of white racial and cultural superiority. This toxic combination is growing in many parts of the globe.

    In the United States, the outcome of the presidential contest between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will have a critical impact on whether white Christian nationalism dissipates or grows as a political force and a domestic threat.

    This panel of experts convenes two days after the election to explain the sources of Christian nationalism in America and internationally, to analyze the impact of the election’s outcome on this phenomenon, and to discuss ways to combat this scourge.


    Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., is chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University and president of the American Academy of Religion. He is a well-known commentator on religion and politics and his most recent book is Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own.

    Robert P. Jones is the CEO and founder of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), and is a leading commentator on religion, culture, and politics. He is the author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity and The End of White Christian America, which won the 2019 Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

    Kristina Stoeckl is a professor of sociology at the University of Innsbruck. She is currently principal investigator of the research project Postsecular Conflicts. This effort examines connections between the Russian Orthodox Church and global networks of the Christian Right.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, including questions from the online audience.

    Watch Trump, Biden and the Future of Christian Nationalism

  • The Shaker Moment on October 22, 2020 at 12 p.m., Why does an 18th-century utopian sect appeal to our modern age?

    Why an 18th-century utopian sect appeals to our modern age
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    October 22, 2020 | 12 - 1 p.m. ET

    For most people, the Shakers are more of a brand than a faith. If most people know anything about them, it is their simple lifestyle and carefully-crafted furniture. Shaker-inspired chairs and cabinets appear in home design magazines, and 19th-century Shaker furniture can be found in art museums and in private collections.

    Yet the Shakers were much more than their furniture, and their legacy informs our modern longings far more than we may realize.

    The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, as the Shakers called themselves, was one of the most successful and long-lived utopian societies in America. They believed in radical gender and racial equality long before those movements gained popular appeal and their spiritual practices included ecstatic dance and spirit drawings alongside quiet reflection and somber prayer. As one of the last living Shakers quipped a few years ago: “I don’t want to be remembered as a chair.”

    How should we remember the Shakers? What does their religious and communal vision have to offer the world today? For the past two years, a group of religion scholars and art historians, practicing artists, and museum professionals considered the legacy of the Shakers in our present day. The project was generously funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to the Fordham Theology Department and was co-directed by Kathryn Reklis and Lacy Schutz. This webinar convenes some of the “Shaker Fellows” from this project to talk about what they learned and how the Shaker witness can inspire our own moment.

    Kathryn Reklis, an associate professor of theology at Fordham University, writes on a range of topics, from modern Protestant theology to religion and pop culture. Her most recent book is Protestant Aesthetics and the Arts, co-edited with Sarah Covington.

    Lacy Schutz is executive director of the Shaker Museum, which stewards the most comprehensive collection of Shaker material culture and archives, as well as the historic Shaker site in New Lebanon, NY. The museum's permanent new facility, in Chatham, NY, is slated for completion in 2023.

    Courtney Bender, a professor of religion at Columbia University, specializes in contemporary American religion. She is completing a book on modernist visions of the future of religion that developed in twentieth-century architectural and planning projects.

    Maggie Taft is an art historian specializing in modern design and she is curator of the Shaker Museum exhibit that was installed in downtown Chatham, New York.

    Ashon T. Crawley, a professor of religious studies and African-American studies at the University of Virginia and author of Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility. He is also a practicing artist whose work is available online. View Ashon's art.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will open and close the event and he will assist in fielding questions from our online audience.

  • Francisco Cantu

    Francisco Cantú on his memoir about working for the Border Patrol
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    October 9, 2020 | 1 - 2:15 p.m.

    Francisco Cantú is a Mexican-American raised in the scrublands of the Southwest and went on to join the U.S. Border Patrol in 2008. He spent the next four years hauling in the bodies of dead immigrants and delivering to detention those he found alive. Cantú left the Border Patrol in 2012 and began a journey of his own, culminating in his highly-acclaimed 2018 memoir, The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border.

    Disputes over immigration have only intensified as the presidential campaign heats up, and issues of racism and national identity are playing out around the country. More than ever, the personal is political, and Cantú’s memoir is a powerful testimony to understanding this national moment.

    The Line Becomes a River book cover

    In this event, Francisco Cantú will discuss his own story, his process of writing a memoir, and his take on the ongoing immigration debate.

    Glenn Hendler, a professor of English and American Studies at Fordham, will moderate the conversation, and Cantú will take questions from the students in a class Hendler is co-teaching with Fordham's Writer at Risk in Residence, Félix Kaputu, titled “Creating Dangerously: Writing from Conflict Zones.” Other Fordham students and our online audience will also be able to pose questions in the chat room.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will open and close the event and he will assist in fielding questions from our online audience.

  • St Francis Giving his Mantle to a Poor Man - Giotto di Bondone

    Pope Francis’s new call for a radical re-ordering of society’s priorities
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    In collaboration with Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET

    The Vatican is releasing Pope Francis’s latest encyclical on October 4, 2020, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, and his encyclical is expected to call for a radical commitment to genuine solidarity and economic and social justice.

    While grounded in Catholic social teaching, the encyclical will be addressed to “the whole of humanity” and will take as its starting point the inequalities and injustices revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The encyclical will also land just weeks before a historic U.S. presidential election that features a Catholic candidate, Joe Biden, squaring off against the incumbent, Donald Trump.

    The issues raised by the encyclical are at the heart of the campaign and they are central to the intense debate over America’s core values and identity. The contrast could not be starker. The stakes could not be higher.

    In this hour-long webinar, three experts on Catholic social teaching and the Vatican will analyze the new encyclical -- the most authoritative document a pope can issue -- in the context of the Church’s new course under Francis, the polarized dynamics of American politics, and American Catholicism.


    MT Dávila is an associate professor of practice at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, and a leading expert in Christian ethics. Her work focuses on immigration, racism and racial justice, and class and inequality. She is a past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS).

    Christopher Lamb is the Rome correspondent for The Tablet of London and author of the 2020 book, The Outsider: Pope Francis and His Battle to Reform the Church. His book explores the ministry of Francis and investigates the opposition that has mobilized against Francis and what it portends for the Catholic Church.

    The Rev. Thomas Massaro, SJ, is a professor of moral theology at Fordham who writes widely on Catholic social teaching. He is the author of Mercy in Action: The Social Teachings of Pope Francis

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion, and take questions from the online audience.

  • Sujatha Gidla

    Author Sujatha Gidla on growing up as an untouchable in India, and life as a New York City subway conductor during the pandemic
    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    September 17, 2020 | 4 - 5 p.m. EST

    Sujatha Gidla’s debut memoir, Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India, was hailed on publication in 2017 as an outstanding account of the brutal caste system in India and that nation’s history over a century.

    As Pankaj Mishra wrote in The New York Review of Books, Gidla’s story of growing up in a Christian and Dalit family “is a book that combines many different genres―memoir, history, ethnography, and literature―and is outstanding in the intensity and scale of its revelations.”

    Ants Among Elephants Book Cover - Sujatha Gidla

    Sujatha Gidla joins us for this webinar conversation to discuss a range of issues, including the caste system in India and how it compares to the treatment of Blacks in the United States.

    She will also talk about her writing process, how the West views her as a female immigrant author, her work as a New York City subway conductor, and falling prey to the Coronavirus -- an experience she wrote about in a powerful New York Times op-ed.

    David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion and take questions from the online audience.

  • Beruit Port

    An Update on Beirut from Cardinal Rai

    A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
    September 10, 2020 | 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

    A partnership with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and Salt + Light Media.

    The enormous explosion that rocked Beirut on August 4, 2020, killed some 200 people, injured thousands, and left at least 300,000 homeless. The blast, from a huge and unstable stockpile of ammonium nitrate stored at the Lebanese port, was a devastating blow for a country already teetering from a financial collapse and social unrest.

    Lebanon’s viability is critical to the Middle East, a region fraught with geopolitical tensions. It is a region that can also provide a sign of hope. Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East, with a large Christian community, and Shia and Sunni Muslims making up just over half of the population.

    In this webinar, we will speak live with the Maronite Catholic Patriarch in Lebanon.

    Cardinal Béchara Boutros Rai will talk about the situation in the country a month after the explosion, what can be done to help now, and what Lebanon needs to do to secure its future -- and the future of the Middle East.

    New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the board of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, will open the conversation.

    Thomas L. Gallagher, Religion Media Company, will lead a question-and-answer session with Cardinal Rai, and David Gibson, director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate.

  • Hagia Sophia

    A Fordham Webinar
    July 23, 2020 | 12 p.m.

    Early this month, the Turkish government announced the re-conversion of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque. Built as a Christian cathedral by the Emperor Justinian I in 532, the Hagia Sophia stood as the heart of the Byzantine and Orthodox Christian worlds until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. After nearly five centuries as a mosque, Hagia Sophia became a museum in 1934. UNESCO designated it a World Heritage site in no small part due to its awe-inspiring mosaics and architecture.

    The Hagia Sophia will re-open as a mosque on Friday, July 24, the day after this discussion. The re-opening will mark another turning point in its long history -- but also a flashpoint in today’s tense geopolitical environment.

    UNESCO’s Director General Audrey Azoulay described the Hagia Sophia as "an architectural masterpiece, and a unique testimony to interactions between Europe and Asia over the centuries. Its status as a museum reflects the universal nature of its heritage and makes it a powerful symbol for dialogue."

    What is the cultural significance of the Hagia Sophia? Why does this space hold such value to different faith traditions? Why might this news story be getting so little public attention? Our panelists will address these questions among others during a lunchtime conversation.


    Dr. George Demacopoulos, Fr. John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies and co-director of Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University.

    Dr. Alice Isabella Sullivan, Information Resource Technical Specialist, Department of the History of Art, University of Michigan, and co-founder of North of Byzantium.

    David Goodwin, Assistant Director, Center on Religion and Culture, will moderate the discussion.

    In collaboration with the Fordham University Orthodox Christian Studies Center.

  • Panelists talking at the Pope Francis: Reform and Resistance event

    Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh and the Fate of the Papacy

    November 4, 2019

    As Francis’s remarkable pontificate approaches its seventh anniversary, the pope is facing an increasingly virulent and vocal opposition -- much of it based in the United States or funded by American Catholics. How serious is this opposition? Is it damaging the Church? The papacy? Or is it only directed at Francis and will recede when he leaves the scene?

    These questions will be at the heart of a discussion with Austen Ivereigh, who will be at Fordham for the United States launch of his new biography, Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church.

  • A Symposium on God, Religion, and the ‘Nones’

    October 15, 2019

    “None of the above” is the fastest-growing religious identifier in the United States, a category boosted by a surge of younger people. This generational shift is the greatest challenge facing religious communities, and one with enormous implications for American society: the “Nones” have fewer social connections and less social capital than their parents and grandparents.

    What does this disaffiliation mean for the future of the U.S.? What does it mean for the future of faith? Who are the “Nones” anyway? Are they atheists? Agnostics? Just indifferent? “The ‘Meh’ Generation”? Or does their attitude point toward a new path for traditional religious communities?

    Participants included:

  • James K. A. Smith and the Augustinian Call

    October 2, 2019

    Our modern world has a particular vision of what the “pursuit of happiness” means. Independence. Self-sufficiency. Conforming the world to our desires.

    James K. A. Smith — philosopher, popular lecturer, and prolific author -- understands the attraction of such secular happiness, especially for young people. But he also detects what he calls “cracks in the secular,” signs that can illuminate a different path to happiness.

    Smith shared insights from his new book on spiritual seeking, On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts.