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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Citizenship in the Global City: Catholic Social Teaching and Community Organizing in East London

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life


Vincent Rougeau
Boston College Law School

Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Time: 12:00-1:15PM
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Rd


Abstract: As waves of migrants arrive in their new homelands, globalizing cities in Europe and North America are rapidly becoming home also to new forms of civic identity, citizenship and civil society. Central to this new multicultural cosmopolitanism are people of faith, whose religious identity and commitments—not least their understanding of what constitutes a just and humane society— informs their interaction with one another and with secular actors and institutions. Working in collaboration, and in other cases in competition, Christians, Muslims (as well as Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus), civic and business leaders, and political action groups are striving to build community, gain representation and shape local and national political systems.


Vincent D. Rougeau is Dean and professor of law of Boston College Law School. He previously served as a professor of law Notre Dame, where he was also the director of the Center for Law and Government and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. An expert in Catholic social thought, Dean Rougeau’s most recent book is Christians in the American Empire: Faith and Citizenship in the New World Order (2008). His current research and writing consider the relationship between religious identity and notions of democratic citizenship and membership in an increasingly mobile global order, one that is marked in certain regions by high levels of economic inequality and political instability. Prior to his arrival at Boston College, Dean Rougeau was a Senior Fellow at the Contextual Theology Center (“CTC”) in London and co-founded an effort called “Just Communities: Christian Witness in a Pluralist Society.” He is currently the leader of a research group on global migration and cosmopolitanism as part of the Contending Modernities project sponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame. He received his A.B. magna cum laude from Brown University in 1985, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988. Dean Rougeau is a member of the bar in Maryland and the District of Columbia.


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Mexican immigrants working at a New York carwash have turned to a coalition of community organizations for help initiating a citywide campaign for legal wages. On Tuesday, March 20, Vincent Rougeau spoke about the role of Catholic social teaching in the community organizing efforts of immigrant populations. Click here to listen to audio of his talk.