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Authority on African American Catholics to deliver Parks-King Lecture

M. Shawn Copeland, associate professor of systematic theology in the Department of Theology at Boston College, will deliver the 2009 Parks-King Lecture at Yale Divinity School on Feb. 24, 5:15 p.m., in Niebuhr Hall at Sterling Divinity Quadrangle, 409 Prospect St., New Haven. The lecture will be followed by a reception in the Sarah Smith Gallery.  Both are free and open to the public.

CopelandThe title of Copeland’s lecture is The Fierce Urgency of Now: Critical Black Theology and Hope, taken from Martin Luther King’s most programmatic work, Where Do We Go From Here:  Chaos or Community? Copeland contends that the conditions of New Orleans and Detroit suggest that many of the existential, cultural, and social challenges that King addressed in this book, as well as through his practical-political ministry, continue to demand our attention and disrupt struggles for community.  In this context, Copeland will address what critical black theology can contribute, including what it can offer in terms of hope.

Copeland, a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, also holds a joint appointment in the Program in African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College and is adjunct associate professor of systematic theology at the Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS), Xavier University of Louisiana, in New Orleans.

Born in Detroit, she attended parochial schools there and earned a B.A. from Madonna College.  She holds a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston College.

Her academic research and publications are in the areas of social suffering, theological anthropology, political theology, race, womanist and political theologies. She is recognized as an influential voice in North America on drawing attention to issues surrounding African American Catholics.  Copeland has also taught at Marquette University and at Yale Divinity School. She is the author of more than 85 book chapters, journal articles, and reviews, as well as well as several books. She and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza coedited two volumes on feminist theology:  Violence Against Women (Concilium: 1994) and Feminist Theologies in Different Contexts (Concilium: 1996) that have been translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

The lecture will be webcast live on the Yale Divinity School web site at: http://www.yale.edu/divinity/video/index.shtml


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