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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Violence, Memory, and Religion among Survivors of Clerical Sexual Abuse



Robert Orsi
Northwestern University

Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Time: 5 - 6:15 pm
Location: Devlin Hall 008  *NOTE: new time and location!*

RSVP Requested.

Abstract: Robert Orsi will address the many ways in which those survivors of clerical sexual abuse who remain connected to the Catholic Church understand the impact of that trauma on their lives and their relationship to God. What theological, psychological, historical and anthropological frameworks do they find most helpful in understanding and dealing with that experience? And how do scholars of religion think about the experience of violence perpetrated by the clergy and those in religious authority?

Robert Orsi

Robert Orsi is Professor of Religious Studies and History and Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies at Northwestern University. He researches, writes, and teaches about religion in the United States, in the past and in contemporary contexts, with a particular focus on American Catholicism. He is also interested in how “religion” developed as a subject of inquiry from early modernity to the present and in questions of method and theory in the study of religion. His scholarship draws on history, ethnography, religious studies, and psychological theories of  imagination and of intersubjectivity to study the religious practices of men, women, and children.

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In a 2016 interview with the Pew Research Center, Professor of Sociology at New York University, Michael Hout, explains why millenials are less religious than older Americans. Millenials, young adults born between 1981 and 1996, are less likely to attend church regularly or to consider religion an important part of their lives according to Hoult. He also posits that with respect to the Catholic Church, "lack of trust is fueled by the sexual abuse scandals in the church." On April 4, Professor Robert Orsi will visit the Boisi Center for a lecture on the impact of the clerical abuse scandals on members of the Catholic Church.