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M. Shawn Copeland speaks on appreciating differences on Feb. 6

Lecture part of SXU's 160th anniversary Catholic Colloquium Series

Chicago (Jan. 17, 2007) – M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D., associate professor of systematic theology at Boston College, will discuss how people react to racial, political and religious differences as part of Saint Xavier University’s 160th anniversary Catholic Colloquium lecture series at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, in the 
Butler Reception Room, 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago.

Titled “Appreciating Difference: The Catholic University in the Formation of Persons,” Copeland’s lecture will identify and examine the critical contribution that Catholic universities can make to a social aesthetic that does not merely recognize and negotiate difference, but appreciates and values difference as crucial to the flourishing of human life.

Copeland’s academic research and publications include the areas of theological and philosophical anthropology, political theology, and embodiment, with special attention to gender and race. She is recognized as one of the most important influences in North America in drawing attention to issues surrounding African-American Catholics.

A graduate of Boston College (Ph.D.), Copeland specializes in systematic theology, with particular attention to theological anthropology, liberation and political theologies, and African-American religious experience and culture.

Copeland also serves as adjunct associate professor of systematic theology at the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans and has taught theology at Yale Divinity School as well as Marquette University. She has written more than 70 articles, reviews and book chapters, and along with Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza has co-edited two volumes of the international theological journal Concilium: Violence Against Women (1994) and Feminist Theologies in Different Contexts (1996).

Copeland’s lecture is the third in a five-part series that looks at what it means to “be in good standing” with the Catholic Church and the challenges facing Catholic universities since the Second Vatican Council. The lecture is free and open to the public and is supported by a generous contribution from the Lilly Fellows Program.

“In this series, we have invited renowned Catholic scholars to provide theological perspectives that could inform our thinking about social, political and religious issues that did not even exist at the time of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s,” said Sister Susan Sanders, R.S.M., vice president for University Mission and Heritage at Saint Xavier, who organized the event. “As an African-American Catholic and theologian, Dr. Copeland will talk about our differences and the role Catholic universities can play in helping our students and communities understand and celebrate them.”

The series, which is funded in part by Saint Xavier’s Office for University Mission and Heritage, is one of many events to celebrate Saint Xavier University’s 160th anniversary. The series also celebrates the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Mercy by Mother Catherine McAuley in Dublin, Ireland, in 1831. 

For more information about the lecture series, please contact Kathy Mareska at (773) 298-3981 or mareska@sxu.edu.


Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its downtown location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.

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