News Release

Acclaimed sociologist Robert Bellah to speak at UDM

Premier sociologist of religion Robert Bellah will visit University of Detroit Mercy to give a talk entitled "The Challenge of Secularism: Is God Absent?" His appearance is sponsored by University of Detroit Mercy's Catholic Studies program and will take place on Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom on the McNichols Campus.

One of the country's leading social philosophers, Bellah is best known for his work related to individualism and community and for his lead authorship of Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life and The Good Society.

His other publications include: Tokugawa Religion, Beyond Belief, The Broken Covenant, The New Religious Consciousness, Varieties of Civil Religion, Imagining Japan: Japanese Tradition and Its Modern Interpretations, and most recently, The Robert Bellah Reader.

The Elliot Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, Bellah will discuss how we can understand the presence of God in the midst of a highly secular society, analyzing the social and cultural forces that make it difficult to experience that presence, and addressing the contribution of a Catholic imagination to helping to resolve the difficulty.

In December 2000, the highly acclaimed educator received the United States National Humanities Medal from President William Jefferson Clinton. The award states, "The President of the United States of America awards this National Humanities Medal to Robert N. Bellah for his efforts to illuminate the importance of community in American society. A distinguished sociologist and educator, he has raised our awareness of the values that are at the core of our democratic institutions and of the dangers of individualism unchecked by social responsibility."

Dr. Bellah will also be around campus the following day. There will be a lunch and an informal conversation with him about the issues he raises in his talk on Thursday, April 3, from 12:45 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the President's Dining Room. All faculty, staff, and students are welcome.

Release date: March 17, 2008

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