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Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminars

jesuit institute

A university is a place where scholars talk to one another. A university is as vital as these conversations. Hence the Institute sponsors a considerable number of interdisciplinary faculty seminars and international seminars. The interdisciplinary faculty seminars meet regularly to address from a variety of disciplines the issues that emerge in the encounter between faith and culture. The seminars continue for some three to four years and have typically resulted in a volume of essays or a scholarly journal or an international conference or a set of lectures. Examples of these seminars follow.


Professors of the Practice

This seminar provides an important cross-disciplinary opportunity for Professors of the Practice to meet, discuss the joys and challenges of teaching, and share in purposeful fellowship as we consider the big questions facing our undergraduate students today and how we can best serve to guide them to constructive solutions and to open doors to campus-wide conversations. At the same time, we learn more about each other’s work and how we can support each other in our research, writing, and service. In the best of the Ignatian tradition, we seek to respond generously to God's call that has led us to our own professions in order to love and serve our students and each other in concrete ways.  This year they are reading James F. Kennan’s University Ethics.

Treseanne Ainsworth, English                Jeremiah McGrann, Music

Elizabeth Bagnani, Accounting                Erik Owens, Theology

Kathleen Bailey, Political Science             Tara Pisani-Garea, Earth & Env. Scie

Tiziana Dearing, Social Work                   Meghan Sweeney, Co-Chair, Theology

Natana Delong-Bas, Theology                 Mary Troxell, Philosophy

David DiPasquale, Poltical Science           Holly Vandewall, Philosophy

James Keenan, Co-Chair, Jesuit Institute  Celeste Wells, Communication

Fang Lu, Slavic & Eastern Languages         

Michael Martin, A&S Honors                             



A seminar, designed to integrate junior faculty members into the BC academic community by providing a forum for them to discuss their own work in progress. The idea is to demonstrate how research and collaborative interchange are possible in a modern university, and how it is valuable for us to have opportunities to talk about the interconnections between our lives, our teaching, and our research and writing projects, sharing our work even across the disciplinary boundaries that define the modern university. 

Aspen Brinton, Philosophy                                        David Johnson, Philosophy

Andre Brouillette, SJ, School of Theology & Ministry   Peter Krause, Political Science

Daniel Callahan, Music                                              Adam Lewis, English

Andrew Davis, School of Theology and Ministry           Laura Anne Lowery, Biology

Nicole Eaton, History                                                Gustavo Morello, SJ, Sociology

Joyce Edmonds, Nursing                                          Christopher Polt, Classical Studies

Jennifer Erickson, Political Science                            Andrew Prevot, Theology

Douglas Finn, Theology                                            Tam Nguyen, Nursing

Holly Fontenot, Nursing                                           Eric Weiskott, English

Charles Gallagher, SJ, Chair, History                        Yaguang Zheng, Nursing

Kyung Hee Lee, Nursing      



Starting as a response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home, a working group of faculty across the university developed a four day conference in September 2015 entitled Our Common Home.  Among speakers were Cardinal Peter Turkson, Senator Edward Markey and Dr. John Holdren (see  Given its success, the Working Group now seeks to sponsor a variety of events and programs to raise university consciousness about the issues of Our Common Home.

Tiziana Dearing, GSSW                           James Keenan, Co-chair, Jesuit Institute

David Deese, Political Science                 Gail Kineke, Earth & Envi. Sciences

John Ebel, Earth & Envi. Sciences            Erik Owens, Boisi Center

Brian Gareau, Co-chair, Sociology           Noah Snyder, Co-chair, Earth & Envi. Sciences

Tara Pisani-Gareau, Earth & Envi.          Andrea Vicini, School of Theology & Ministry

Laura Hake, Biology                                David Wirth, Law School

Mary Ann Hinsdale, Theology                         


Religion and the Modern State: Mutual Accomodation

This seminar aims to support the many excellent scholars thinking about religion and politics on our faculty by assembling them from the far corners of the university into an interdisciplinary community. As the name implies, we hope to bring together not just experts on the relationship between religion and the state, broadly construed, but also experts on the ways in which the two “sides” have adjusted to one another. We will take an expansive view of these questions and want to include a variety of scholarly and intellectual approaches.


Natana Delong-Bas, Theology                        Jonathan Laurence, Chair, Political Science

David DiPasquale, Political Science                 James O'Toole, History 

Charles Gallagher, History                              Erik Owens, Theology

Gregory Kalscheur, Dean Morrissey College    Alan Rogers, History

James Keenan, Theology                                Susan Shell, Political Science


Past Seminars



This faculty seminar conducts an interdisciplinary investigation into the dynamics of human desire and the spiritual practices that allow human persons to become more free and compassionate. With attention to a variety of ascetical, contemplative, aesthetic, and ethical practices that have as their aim the discernment and transformation of human desire, the seminar also draws upon the distinctive contributions that scientific and humanistic disciplines can make to understanding the barriers to and cultivation of compassion.

Fall 2016:  Aug., 29,  Sept., 19, Oct., 17,  Nov., 14,  Dec., 12
Spring 2017:  Jan., 23,  Feb., 20,  Mar., 20,  Apr., 24


ECONOMIC INEQUALITY (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)

The seminar is examining the phenomenon of economic inequality from an interdisciplinary perspective with faculty representing five of the university's schools.  There is a dual focus on when does economic inequality become pernicious and what strategies might be employed to alleviate the worst consequences of the growing gap between rich and poor in the U.S.



As both researchers on and off campus as well as professionals on campus, we address these three issues.  We are hoping to look interdisciplinarily at both how stigma, suffering and mental health play out on our campus and how we investigate it in our research.  We are currently each presenting our interests and work and from there will decide on projects for the University community.



The seminar explores the widespread alienation from religion among American intellectuals and professional elites in media. It addresses a cultural climate that has rendered many in these communities hostile, skeptical, or indifferent to religious claims and has fostered a dismissal of religious discourse or institutions. This seminar attempts to gauge this situation, i.e., to explore its originating influences, the various forms in which it exists, and its present consequences within American culture.



On April 23, 1998, the Jesuit Institute sponsored a public discussion entitled "The Holocaust: Remembering for the Future," an event which generated widespread interest. Faculty members from various departments within the University formed a seminar to continue the discussions with a collaborative analysis of the present state of Jewish / Christian relations and of the theologies by which each community understands itself and its relationship the the other.



This seminar addresses the questions surrounding the apparent absence of meaning inherent in the 20th Century's loss of traditional ethics and belief systems. The participants in this seminar strive to find the value still available in the narrative of the new millennium by exploring the forms of meaning, transcendence and ethical value to be found in the arts and thought of the 21st century and beyond.