Abu Ghraib Prison photos and Latino/a immigration two of the timely topics featured in VU Divinity community breakfasts and programming

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt University Divinity School will host community breakfasts and programming this spring focused on timely and relevant topics such as the impact of the Abu Ghraib Prison photos, creation narratives, different voices interpreting the Bible and Latino/a immigration.

The publication of photographs of prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq inaugurated a firestorm of controversy here and abroad. A discussion of their significance will open the spring semester of community programming offered by the Vanderbilt Divinity School.

“Visual Politics: The Abu Ghraib Photographs,” presented by Ellen Armour, The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Associate Professor of Theology, will be the topic of the first community breakfast, Jan. 25,
7:30-8:30 a.m. Armour will discuss what the photographs tell us about the conduct of the Iraq war and the larger war on terror. Armour will draw upon racial, sexual and religious differences to show how the photographs provide a window into the larger cultural landscape that calls for theological reflection.

A second community breakfast on March 1, 7:30-8:30 a.m., will focus on “Betraying the Text: Creation Narratives in Their and Our Context.” The recent focus on creationism and evolution makes this discussion that will examine stories in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East especially relevant. Annalisa Azzoni, assistant professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, will facilitate.

Community breakfasts are held in the Vanderbilt Divinity School Refectory and are open to the public, but reservations are required. To register, please call (615) 936-8453 or register online at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/divinity/breakfasts.html. Cost is $10 per person.

Vanderbilt will also offer two four-part Relevant Religion series classes during the spring semester. The first, “Situating the Self: Finding A Common Horizon,” led by Herbert Marbury, assistant professor of Hebrew Bible, will take place on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, 12 and 19, 7-8:30 p.m. each day. Over the last two decades, African American and other voices have joined the conversation in biblical interpretation with increasing volume. This four-part seminar will explore some key interpretations from other voices.

“Latino/a Immigration: Reasons, Faces Expectations” will be the subject of the second four-part Relevant Religion series. It will be held on March 12, 19 and 26 and April 2, 7-8:30 p.m.

As in the case of previous massive waves of immigration in U.S. history, the Latino/a phenomenon has become a lightning rod for a heated national debate regarding the identity, the mission and the future of the country. This series, led by Fernando Segovia, Oberlin Graduate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, seeks to address the experience, reality and expectations of recent Latino/a migration in the United States, focusing on various communities of origin and settlement and using documentaries as points of departure for information and discussion.

Both Relevant Religion series will be held at the Scarritt-Bennett Center. The cost is $50 a person. To register, please call (615) 936-8453 or register online at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/divinity/rel_religion_register.htm.


Media Contact: Melissa Pankake, (615) 322-NEWS

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