Curran Center for American Catholic Studies
Our mission is to:
- Educate rising generations of religiously-informed citizens
- Foster ecumenical, inter-religious, and interdisciplinary engagement with Catholic thought and practice
- Promote informed and compassionate analysis of the critical religious and social issues of our time.
A Center for American Catholic Studies
- The Center focuses on the rich and complex story of Catholicism in the Americas.
- We take a ‘hemispheric’ approach to Catholicism that recognizes the interwoven tapestry of Catholicism in North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean—the entire “ecclesia in America.”
- The Curran Center is rooted in Fordham’s Roman Catholic Jesuit identity, an identity that inspires a critical-faithful approach to the tradition and a creative search to imagine its place in the world.
- Catholic means universal, and the Center’s vision of Catholicism is global and inclusive.
- Our conversations are ecumenical, interreligious, and with those not having religious identities.
- Inspired by the example of Pope Francis, we recognize that thinking about faith demands thinking about justice issues such as poverty, peace, and the earth as well.
- As a university-based center, we emphasize an approach to Catholicism that is intellectual and engaged.
- Our American Catholic Studies concentration provides Fordham undergraduates with an opportunity for intensive study of the Catholic tradition enhanced by events, outings, mentorship, service, and an experience of the community.
- Our programming includes lectures by distinguished scholars, conferences on timely issues, and faculty reading groups that explore topics of faith, justice, aesthetics, and human meaning.
- Our awards and book series seek to support scholarship on Catholicism that is creative, critical, and explores new horizons.
Pope Francis, Martin Scorsese Address Conference in Rome Co-Sponsored by Fordham
A three-day international conference in Rome at the end of May brought together 60 writers, poets, and artists, including filmmaker Martin Scorsese, to discuss the spiritual and religious dimensions that form the Catholic literary imagination. The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination, which took place May 25-27, featured a private audience with Pope Francis, who …
In Ignatian Community of Practice, a Chance to Reflect on Service
Service has always been a core part of Fordham’s Catholic American Studies concentration, a selective program designed to give undergraduate students of any major a deeper appreciation of the historical, theological, and cultural manifestations of Catholicism. But this semester, the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, which supervises the program, partnered with the Center for …
Curran Center Lecture Explores Thomas Merton’s Affair–and His ‘Complex’ Humanity
Thomas Merton’s humanity, humility, and complexity are part of what drew Gregory Hillis to him in the first place. So it’s fitting that Hills, a professor of theology and religious studies at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, would want to explore a particularly complex part of Merton’s life: his affair with a nurse. Merton, an …
In Verse, Capturing Sacred Spaces Everywhere
Although there are specific locations that cultures place great importance on, from landmarks to shrines, each of us also has our own, personal spaces that are sacred to us. For Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, a new book of poetry serves as a tribute to both types of “holy lands,” be they far or near. Holy Land, …
Curran Center Award Winner Explores Healing Power of Voice
There is healing power in using your voice. That was one of the lessons of “A Theology of Voice: VOCAL and the Catholic Clergy Abuse Survivor Movement,” an article by Brian Clites, Ph.D., chosen by Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies in May as the winner of its third annual New Scholars essay contest. …
Curran Center Contest Winner Examines History of Slavery
Kelly Schmidt, Ph.D., was disturbed by racism from a very young age. “I don’t quite remember where I had learned about prejudice and discrimination for the first time, but I didn’t understand it and I kept asking my mom, ‘Why do people treat people differently because of the way they look?’” she said, “And she …
Recounting the Arc of the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Verse
Like all New Yorkers, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, Ph.D., saw her world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing that what was happening was unprecedented and looking for a way to bear witness to this historic moment, she sat down at the beginning of quarantine and began documenting life through a series of new sonnets, …
U.S. Congressman and Former Jesuit Speaks at Fordham
U.S. Congressman Juan Vargas, a California state representative and 1987 Fordham alumnus, met current students on April 1 over Zoom, where he answered their questions about religion and politics and reflected on how his time with the Fordham Jesuits shaped his perspective on life. The event, “Faithful Service: Reflections on Religion in Public Life,” was …
Scholars Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse in Native American Communities
Denise K. Lajimodiere, Ed.D., an indigenous educator and a guest speaker in a new Fordham discussion series, recounted the historical and intergenerational trauma experienced by indigenous sexual abuse survivors in U.S. Catholic boarding schools and their descendants in a Feb. 25 webinar. “[A] man from Montana said, ‘How do you tell anyone that you’ve been …
Pope’s New Encyclical Provides Framework for Examining Capitalism and Racism, Scholars Say
Just weeks before the American presidential election, a Fordham panel of scholars analyzed the latest encyclical from Pope Francis—a U.S.-focused document that condemns trickle-down economics and addresses racism and the hardships of the global pandemic, especially those faced by the poor. “The U.S. more than any other nation is mentioned a number of times, and …
Liberation Theology Scholar Appointed Head of Curran Center
On August 1, Michael Lee, Ph.D., was appointed director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, succeeding emeritus director Christine Firer Hinze, Ph.D., who now chairs the theology department. Lee, a professor of theology who joined the Fordham faculty in 2004, recently sat down with Fordham News to talk about his …