Research News

Vanderbilt conference set on religion and the economy; ‘Focus on Poverty’ features three sessions Oct. 16-17

The roles of government, the wealthy and God in combating poverty will be examined during the Conference on Religion and Economy: A Focus on Poverty at Vanderbilt University.

The Oct. 16-17 conference on the Vanderbilt campus will bring scholars Rebecca M. Bank and Douglas A. Hicks to speak and participate in a public panel discussion on God, Economy and Poverty led by Douglas Meeks, the Cal Turner Chancellor’s Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

The conference is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, which develops, promotes and increases cross-disciplinary research at the intersections of religion and culture. The center has a research group dedicated to religion and economy directed by Meeks and James E. Foster, associate professor of economics.

Selected events will be recorded for podcast at VUCast, the website of Vanderbilt News Service, at

The schedule:

* 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 126 Wilson Hall: Rebecca Bank, the Robert V. Kerr Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, will speak on “The Role of Government and the Role of the Market: Is There a Religious View?”

* 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 101 Buttrick Hall: Douglas Hicks, executive director of the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement and associate professor at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, will speak on “Moral Agency of the Poor and the Well-Connected: Framing an Agenda for Addressing Global Poverty.”

* 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 106 Wilson Hall: Hicks and Blank will give presentations and participate in an open discussion on God, Economy and Poverty with members of the religion and economy research group of the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture and students involved in the campus-wide movement to end poverty. The event, a session of Meeks’ interdisciplinary graduate course on the same topic, will be open to the campus and the Nashville community.
Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS