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Bluhm Lectures AY 17-18

heinz bluhm memorial lecture series

Dominic Longo


DOMINIC LONGO: "Spiritual Grammar: Genre and the Saintly Subject in Islam and Christianity"

Thursday, October 5, 2017
5:30 p.m.
Devlin Hall 101

The subject of Prof. Longo's lecture will be “spiritual grammar,” a genre of religious literature that until now has not been recognized as such. The salient characteristic of this genre is that it makes constant references to the grammatical structures of language as a metaphor for how the self is structurally embedded in spiritual reality. Two medieval religious texts will serve as the main examples of this genre, The Grammar of Hearts (Naḥw al-qulūb) by the great Sufi shaykh and Islamic scholar ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Qushayrī (d. 1074) and Moralized Grammar (Donatus moralizatus) by Christian theologian Jean Gerson (d. 1429), chancellor of the University of Paris.

The authors both used this genre to advance their pastoral goals. Grammar for them becomes a metaphor and more than a metaphor for the reality in which we human beings exist and live and have our being. Indeed, grammar, the structure of that reality within us and within which we abide, provides the two masters with a fresh way of explaining spiritual reality to their pupils. Grammar for them is a discipline for training wayfarers in how to conduct themselves properly in the language of reality. Gerson and Qushayrī used grammar to discipline the souls of their readers in the hopes that their writings would make their readers “spiritually faṣīḥ,” that is, adept in the grammar of the heart. They used the genre of “spiritual grammar” to engender saintly subjects.

Dominic Longo is Assistant Professor of Theology and Director of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN. An alumnus of Boston College (B.A. in French and M.A. in Theology), he received both a M.A. and Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He is author of Spiritual Grammar: Genre and the Saintly Subject in Islam and Christianity published by Fordham University Press in 2017.

Leonardo Tondo Bluhm Lecturer Boston College


LEONARDO TONDO: "'They're after me!:' Paranoia in History, Literature, and Clinical Theory and Practice"

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

5:30 pm

Devlin Hall 101

Lecturer in Psychiatry and researcher at McLean Hospital-Harvard Medical School since 1994, Dr. Leonardo Tondo has studied the course and treatment of mood disorders since 1975. He has published more than 200 papers on these subjects in international journals and has lectured at schools and professional conferences the world over. In addition to being a leading expert on long-term treatment of mood disorders and medical approaches to suicide prevention, he also provides individual patients with the evaluation and treatment (both pharmacological and psychotherapeutic) of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Attention and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adults, and Gender and relational issues.

In 1977, he established a specialized, research-based, mood-disorders clinic, the Lucio Bini Mood Disorder Center (named for one of the inventors of electroconvulsive treatment), in Cagliari, Sardinia. It is the largest private psychiatric institution of its kind in the region and one of the largest in Europe. He also has taught university courses in clinical psychiatry, general and clinical psychology, and psychological testing for more than thirty years.

An avid reader of European and American history and literature, he will bring the fruit of his many years of reading, research and clinical practice to illuminate the multi-faceted phenomenon of paranoia, which represents not only a severe mental illness, but also a major factor in the shaping of human history. He will draw especially on his most recent and comprehensive study of paranoia, Qualcuno ce l'ha con me. Dal pregiudizio alla paranoia (Milan: Baldini e Castoldi, 2017).



Anthony D'Elia


ANTHONY D'ELIA: "The Renaissance of Bloody Sports in Fifteenth-Century Italy"

Thursday, February 22, 2018
5:30 p.m.
Venue TBA

From elite tournaments and duels to boxing matches and bullfights, the spectacle of violent sport was a central part of the Renaissance. Greek athletic ideals reappeared in humanist treatises on education and noble virtues. Rulers were praised for their athleticism, wrestling, and dancing. The need for physical exercise became prominent in Renaissance medical, political, and moral treatises. Population increases and political instability also led to a democratization of sport as mass entertainment and a vehicle for social control. The Renaissance not only reintroduced classical sport into society but also gave birth to modern notions of sport. Drawing on the writing of such prominent humanists as Petrarch, Boccaccio, Vergerio, Castiglione, and Mercuriale, Prof. D'Elia recreates a little known chapter in the history of Renaissance literature and culture.

Anthony D'Elia is Professor of History and Classics at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. His research and teaching focuses on the intellectual and social history of the Italian Renaissance, specializing in humanism, the history of the classical tradition, neo-Latin literature, rhetoric, political propaganda, war, masculinity, gender, sexuality, and women. Educated at Harvard University, Trinity College (Dublin) and the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), he is the author of several monographs on the Italian Renaissance, including most recently, Pagan Virtue in a Christian World: Sigismondo Malatesta and the Italian Renaissance and A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance Rome, both published by Harvard University Press.