Religion and Religious Expression in the Academy and Public Life

January 17th, 2018 | 4:30pm | International House (Assembly Hall)

Join us for a discussion on religion and religious expression in the academy and public life featuring Ross Douthat and a panel of scholars 




  • William Cavanaugh, Professor of Catholic studies and Director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University
  • Ross Douthat of The New York Times
  • William Schweiker, the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics at The Divinity School
  • Geoff Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School
  • Laurie Zoloth, Dean and Margaret E. Burton Professor at the Divinity School 

Moderated by Williemien Otten, Professor of Theology and of the History of Christianity, and Director of the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion.

Ross Douthat joined the New York Times as an op-ed columnist, the youngest in the paper's history, in April 2009. His column appears every Wednesday and Sunday. He has established himself as a nationally recognized commentator on politics, religion, moral values, and higher education. Previously, he was a senior editor at the Atlantic and a blogger for He is the author of Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2012), Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class (2005), and co-author, with Reihan Salam, of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream (2008).



Faculty Panel

L ZolothLaurie Zoloth is the Margaret E. Burton Professor and Dean of the Divinity School. A leader in the field of religious studies with particular scholarly interest in bioethics and Jewish studies, Zoloth’s research explores religion and ethics, drawing from sources ranging from Biblical and Talmudic texts to postmodern Jewish philosophy, including the writings of Emmanuel Levinas. Her scholarship spans the ethics of genetic engineering, stem cell research, synthetic biology, social justice in health care, and how science and medicine are taught. As a founding board member of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning, she also researches the practices of interreligious dialogue, exploring how religion plays a role in public discussion and policy. Zoloth is author of Health Care and the Ethics of Encounter: A Jewish Discussion of Social Justice and co-editor of five books, including Notes from a Narrow Ridge: Religion and Bioethics and Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought.

Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Mr. Stone joined the faculty in 1973, after serving as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. He later served as Dean of the Law School (1987-1994) and Provost of the University of Chicago (1994-2002). Stone is the author of many books on constitutional law, including Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century (2017). He is an editor of The Supreme Court Review and chief editor of a twenty-volume series, Inalienable Rights, which is being published by the Oxford University Press. Appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, he is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the America Law Institute, the National Advisory Council of the American Civil Liberties Union, a member of the American Philosophical Society, and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Council for Democracy and Technology. He has served as Chair of the Board of the American Constitution Society and Chair of the Board of the Chicago Children’s Choir. Stone has also written amicus briefs for constitutional scholars in a number of Supreme Court cases.



William Schweiker is the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics. His scholarship and teaching engage theological and ethical questions attentive to global dynamics, comparative religious ethics, the history of ethics, and hermeneutical philosophy. A frequent lecturer and visiting professor at universities around the world, he has been deeply involved in collaborative international scholarly projects. His many books include, Dust that Breathes: Christian Faith and the New Humanisms (2010).  He has published numerous articles and award-winning essays, as well as edited and contributed to six volumes, including Humanity Before God: Contemporary Faces of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Ethics  and was chief editor and contributor to A Companion to Religious Ethics, a comprehensive and innovative work in the field of comparative religious ethics. Professor Schweiker was the 2015–2016 President of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Director of The Enhancing Life Project (2014-2017), supported with a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation. His present research is on ethics and the integrity of life.


William CavanaughWilliam Cavanaugh is a professor of Catholic studies and director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, a research center housed in the Department of Catholic Studies and focusing on the Catholic Church in the global South—Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His major areas of research have to do with the Church’s encounter with social, political, and economic realities. He has authored six books and edited three more and is currently working on a book on secularization and idolatry, exploring the ways in which a supposedly disenchanted Western society remains enchanted by nationalism, consumerism, and cults of celebrity.


This event is free and open to the public. Persons with a disability who need an accomodation to attend should contact I-House: 773.753.2270