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Timothy K. Beal, Ph.D. - Florence Harkness Professor of Religion and Director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University

Friday October 10, 2008
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Crawford Hall - Room 9
Inamori Center
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues,

“It seems to me,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “that I can see the entire destiny of America contained in the first Puritan who came ashore.” American political thinking is permeated by religious attitudes and metaphors, from the civil rights movement to President Reagan’s (and John Winthrop’s) “city on the hill.” At the same time, every religion instructs its believers about humanity’s relationship to nature; and environmental and ecological movements even have some of the attributes of religion, defining human beings’ obligations to each other and to the entire world, within beliefs about creation and destruction.

Political attitudes about the environment therefore are highly likely to be driven, whether in obvious or subtle ways, by religious beliefs. In this election year, then, what is the pattern of beliefs about religion and ecology held by political leaders, particularly presidents and candidates? We could not find a better person to lead a discussion of this timely question than Professor Beal, who not only teaches a course on religion and ecology, but is one of the most creative and productive scholars on our faculty. His most recent books are Religion in America: A Very Short Introduction, and The End of the Word As We Know It, both published this year.

As usual, we will gather in Room 9 of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, on the lower level of Crawford Hall, for free cookies, beverages, and brown bag lunch.

Best regards,
Joe White

About Our Guest

Timothy K. Beal Professor Beal is the author of many books and articles, including Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith (Beacon, 2005), which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and one of Publishers Weekly’s ten best Religion Books of 2005; Religion and Its Monsters (Routledge 2002), which was a Reviews in Religion and Theology Editor’s Choice;  and The Book of Hiding: Gender, Ethnicity, and Annihilation in Esther (Routledge, 2007).  He has published essays on religion and American culture for The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Professor Beal is the co-editor, with Tod Linafelt of Georgetown University, of the book series Afterlives of the Bible with the University of Chicago Press, and he formerly directed the university’s Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities.  His website,, provides an overview of his work, and an excerpt from his new book on Religion in America can be found at

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

October 17: Murder Genes and Dangerous Minds: New Roles for Genetics and Neuroscience in the Courts?, with Gary Marchant, Lincoln Professor of Ethics in Law and Emerging Technology, Arizona State University.

October 24: Seniors in the 2008 Election with Robert H. Binstock, Professor of Aging, Health and Society.

October 31: Halloween Special: Election Preview with Karen Beckwith, Professor of Political Science; Justin Buchler, Assistant Professor of Political Science; and Andrew Lucker, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science.

November 7: Responding to the Foreclosure Crisis with Jim Rokakis, Cuyahoga County Treasurer.

November 14: Charging for Car Insurance by the Mile: Good Business and Good for Energy and the Environment? With Richard Hutchinson, General Manager for the “My Rate” program, Progressive Insurance.

November 21: TBA

November 28: Thanksgiving Break

December 5: TBA

The Friday Lunch discussions are held on the lower (ground) level of Crawford Hall.  Visitors with mobility issues may find it easiest to take advantage of special arrangements we have made.  On most Fridays, a few parking spaces in the V.I.P. lot in between Crawford Hall and Amasa Stone Chapel are held for participants in the lunch discussion. 

Visitors then can avoid walking up the hill to the first floor of Crawford by entering the building on the ground level, through the garage area under the building.  The further door on the left in that garage will be left unlocked during the period before the Friday lunch.  On occasion, parking will be unavailable because of other university events.

For more information about these and other Center for Policy Studies programs, please see

October 6, 2008

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Check out the university’s community outreach activities

Upcoming Events

Trials and Triumphs: The Supreme Court in the 21st Century

Sunday, October 12, 2008
2:30 p.m. – reception
3:00 p.m. – program
Myers University Club
3813 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

A longtime professor of political science, Peter Irons is a widely respected authority on the Supreme Court and constitutional litigation. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he is a practicing civil liberties lawyer and a member of the Supreme Court bar. Professor Irons has written and edited numerous books, including, most recently, God on Trial: Dispatches from America's Religious Battlefields.

Copies of God on Trial, as well as several of Professor Irons other books, will be available for purchase, and the author will be signing books after the event.

Free and open to the public. Free parking available. Please RSVP by clicking here, or by calling (216) 472-2220.

How are Children Faring in this Economy? A Look at Family Homelessness

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 10:00 am - 12:00 noon Networking: 9:30am-10:00am (A time to informally network. Open microphone to share information from your agency, etc.) Visiting Nurse Association 2500 East 22nd Street - Cleveland

Keynote Speaker: Cyleste Collins, Ph.D Case Western Reserve University Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences Before coming to MSASS, Dr. Collins was Assistant Professor at Tulane University School of Social Work when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. She has lectured on social policy, evidence-based practice, and research methods. She will be sharing her research on family homelessness.

Panel Response: Implications for Practice Sue Dinardo, West Side Catholic Center Scott Rose, ESOP (Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People) Joseph Zickafoose, MD, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital

Nuclear Options: Understanding 21st Century Threats and What We Need to do to Stop Them

A discussion with Ambassador Wendy Sherman and Dr. Ray Takeyh

October 23, 2008, 7:00 p.m. Gund Hall, Room 158 Case Western Reserve University School of Law 11075 East Blvd., Cleveland

"The mushroom cloud": Is the unthinkable really possible? Could al Qaeda construct and detonate a nuclear bomb? How close are we to a nuclear Iran, and what does that mean for the current nonproliferation regime? What should the next administration do about it? Join our guests Ambassador Wendy Sherman, recently appointed by Congressional Leadership to serve on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, and Dr. Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations as they separate myth from reality. Ambassador Sherman will discuss the scope of the threats and what the next president needs to do to protect our security. Dr. Ray Takeyh will explore the challenges of Iran as a case study.

Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman is a principal of Albright Group LLC, a global strategy firm, and of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. She served as counselor and chief troubleshooter for the State Department as well as special advisor to President Clinton and policy coordinator on North Korea. Ambassador Sherman serves on the board of directors of Oxfam America and the board of advisors for the Center for a New American Security and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group. She is also a member of the US-India Strategic Dialogue and a regular participant of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue.

Dr. Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. His areas of specialization are Iran, the Persian Gulf, and U.S. foreign policy. He is also a contributing editor of The National Interest. Dr. Takeyh was previously professor of national security studies at the National War College; professor and director of studies at the Near East and South Asia Center, National Defense University; fellow in international security studies at Yale University; fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

For further information, please contact Elliot Posner, Assistant Professor of Political Science, CWRU, 216.368.1015.

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