Leading scholars and practitioners highlight February events calendar

From the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative to the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, February is full of outstanding speakers, lectures, and other events at Yale Divinity School. All events are free and open to the public

February 1 – Parks-King Lecture by Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson, a public interest lawyer widely acclaimed for his work on behalf of the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned, will deliver the annual Parks-King Lecture at YDS on Wednesday, February 1. The lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Marquand Chapel, with a reception to follow.

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. EJI recently won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional.

February 2 – Sorensen Lecture by Jeremy Waldron

Jeremy Waldron, University Professor and Professor of Law at New York University, will deliver the Sorensen Lecture at YDS on Thursday, February 2. Entitled “A Docket of Dignity: Human Dignity in Eight Cases from Around the World,” the lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Niebuhr, with a reception to follow.

Waldron was educated in New Zealand and at Oxford, and his career has included appointments at Edinburgh, Berkeley, Princeton, and Columbia. His work concentrates on constitutionalism, human dignity, historic injustice, national security issues, and the rule of law, as well as historic political philosophy. An accomplished scholar and author, he has 16 books and edited volumes to his credit, including Torture, Terror and Trade-offs: Philosophy for the White House (Oxford, 2010).

February 3 – William Barber

William Barber, founder of Moral Monday movement and president of the North Carolina NAACP, will be at Yale Divinity School on the evening of Friday, February 3, for a public conversation with YDS Prof. Willie Jennings on building a prophetic moral vision for justice.

The conversation will be convened by Associate Dean William Goettler and comes as part of the School’s new program in Transformational Leadership for Church and Society. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Marquand Chapel with a reception to follow.

Known for his electrifying speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer, Barber is a leader in a movement to build a progressive agenda and a moral framework that counters the conservative religious constructs dominating the public square.

Joining Barber is Willie Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies at YDS. Jennings’ book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale 2010) won the Grawemeyer Award in Religion, the largest prize for a theological work in North America.

February 6 – Sarah McNamer (part of February medieval studies series)

Sarah McNamer is an Associate Professor of English and Medieval Studies at Georgetown University whose primary interests lie at the intersection of literature and the history of emotion. She will lecture on “Playing with Doubt in the Age of Faith.” The event will take place on Monday, February 6, at 5:30 p.m. in Niebuhr.

McNamer’s book Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion (University of Pennsylvania, 2010) received the Book of the Year award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature. She is also the author of Meditations on the Life of Christ: The Short Italian Text (Notre Dame, forthcoming Fall 2017) and The Two Middle English Versions of the Revelations of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1996).

February 7-9 – Three-part Taylor Lecture by Catherine Keller

Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology at the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion of Drew University, will give the Taylor Lectures at Yale Divinity School February 7, 8, and 9. Her lectures will explore a “Political Theology of the Earth.”

Keller’s scholarship develops the relational potential of a “theology of becoming.” Her books include Apocalypse Now & Then: A Feminist Guide to the End of the World (Augsburg, 2004); Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming (Taylor & Francis, 2002); and On the Mystery: Divinity in Process (Fortress, 2007).

Keller’s three lectures are as follows, each taking place at 5:30 p.m. in Niebuhr:

Tuesday, February 7 – “The Political:  Sovereign Exception or Collective Inception”
Wednesday, February 8 – “The Earth: Climate of Closure, Matter of Disclosure”
Thursday, February 9 – “The Theology: Kairos of Endless Entanglement”

February 24 - Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of the global nonprofit housing organization Habitat for Humanity, will engage in a public conversation at Yale Divinity School on Friday, February 24. On campus to teach in the School’s program in Transformational Leadership for Church and Society, this onetime business executive and pastor will discuss his unlikely journey to Habitat and keys to faith-based leadership.

The event, a conversation between Reckford and Associate Dean Bill Goettler, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Common Room. Audience members will participate with their own questions to Reckford, and a reception will follow.

Starting his career on Wall Street, Reckford held executive and managerial positions at Goldman Sachs, Marriott, the Walt Disney Co. and Best Buy. His volunteer leadership at his Presbyterian church in the Minneapolis area eventually led to his appointment as the church’s executive pastor. From there, he was recruited to become Habitat’s CEO, a position that Reckford describes as the dream job for which his entire life and career had prepared him.

February 27 – Miri Rubin (part of February medieval studies series)

Miri Rubin is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at Queen Mary University of London. She will speak on Monday, February 27, at 5:30 p.m. in Niebuhr.

Introducing new approaches to the study of social relations in the predominantly religious cultures of medieval Europe, Rubin’s research seeks to understand the message of Christian charity as practiced in medieval communities, and to explore the meanings of the Eucharist, among other topics—all with attention to issues of identity, community, and gender; the boundaries of cooperation; and the threat of violence.

Rubin’s publications include: Gentile Tales: The Narrative Assault on Late Medieval Jews (Yale

(Yale, 1999); Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary (Alan Lane, 2009); and The Middle Ages: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford 2014).

February 28 - Katherine Jansen (part of February medieval studies series)

Chair of the Department of History at Catholic University of America, Katherine Jansen engages issues including preaching and devotion in the later Middle Ages and power in the medieval world. Her lecture on “The Practice of Peace in Medieval Italy” will be given on Tuesday, February 28, at 5:30 p.m. in Niebuhr.

Jansen’s current book-in-progress, Peace and Penance in Late Medieval Italy, contextualizes the practice of settling disputes in Florence in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-centuries—an era well known for violence and civil discord. Her previous books include Charisma and Religious Authority: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Preaching, 1200-1500 (Brepols, 2010), co-edited with Miri Rubin; and Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation (University of Pennsylvania, 2009), edited with Joanna Drell and Frances Andrews. She is also the author of the award-winning book The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages (Princeton, 2000).

All events listed are free and open to the public. For more information on these and other YDS events, visit visit our events calendar. Many of the above will be streamed or available after the fact on our Livestream and Youtube channels.

January 26, 2017