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Curran Center for American Catholic Studies

Duane Library

The Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies advances knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of American Catholicism within the academy, the church, the broader religious community, and the general public.

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.

Our Founders, Our Story

In 2001, university president Rev. Joseph O'Hare, S.J., approached Rev. Mark Massa, S.J., about forming a center for the study of American Catholicism. In the following months, Fr. Massa set to work developing Fr. O'Hare's vision, in hopes of establishing a nationally-recognized hub for the study of American Catholic history, identity, and practice.

In 2004, John and Connie Curran expressed to Fr. Massa their interest in endowing the center, and the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, named in honor of John's parents, was born. Dedicated to advancing the Jesuit Catholic educational mission of the university, the Curran Center is a hub for many different types of events and programs, including public lectures, faculty seminars, major scholarly conferences, and an undergraduate concentration that, in the words of our students, shapes the way Fordham students "see and engage the world."

A Look Ahead: Upcoming Events


A Look Back: Past Event Highlight

The Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies Celebration, Honoring Mark S. Massa, S.J.
Thursday, June 2, 2022 l Fordham University l Rose Hill Campus

The Power of the Crucified: Insights from Liberation & Womanist Theology
By Andrew Prevot, Boston College
Wednesday, April 20, 2022 | 2:30 PM EST

Our Lady: Catholic Billie Holiday
Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University
Tuesay, March 29, 2022 | 5 PM EST
Butler Commons, Duane Library
Performance of the Fordham Faculty Jazz Quintet will follow lecture

What Rhymes with Ireland? Poetry, Peace and Troublemaking
By Pádraig Ó Tuama
Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 | 6PM EST 

The 17th Annual Rita Cassella Jones Lecture on Women and U.S. Catholicism
Presented by Mary Dunn, Ph.D., University of St. Louis
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 | 6PM EST 

Unearthing Buried Narratives: Reconstructing the Experiences of Enslaved People Through Jesuit Records
Presented by Kelly M. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Thursday, September 23, 2021 | 5:30PM EST 

Fordham Reads Dante Lecture: What's a Dante Theme Park?
By Randy Boyagoda., University of Toronto
Monday, September 20, 2021 | 5:30PM EST

The Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholc Studies cordially invites you to Congregate and Celebrate
Please Join us for a virtual Mass followed by a "sherry hour" with Mark S. Massa, S.J., and Michael Lee, Ph.D., director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies
Thursday, June 3, 2021 | 5 PM EST 

"Revelation" & Race in Flannery O'Connor: A Radio Play & Contextual Conversation Via Zoom
Created by Karin Coonrod and performed by Compagnia de' Colombari
Thursday, April 29, 2021 | 6PM EST 

Asian American Communities and the Clerical Abuse Crisis
In Partnership with the Theology Department

Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States
A conversation with Massimo Faggioli
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | 12:00PM-1:00PM EST 

Black Communities and the Clerical Abuse Crisis
In Partnership with the Theology Department
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 | 12:00PM-1:00PM EST 

Faithful Service: Reflections on Religion in Public Life
Rep. Juan Vargas in conversation with Prof. Michael Peppard and Fordham Students
Thursday, April 1, 2021 | 1:00PM-2:00PM EST

Liturgical Protest from Ft. Benning to Ferguson
Presented by Kyle Lambelet, Emory University
Thursday, March 31, 2021 | 12:00PM-1:00PM EST

Priesthood Using and Losing Power: Neil Connolly's in the Puerto Rican Migration
Presented by Angel Garcia, South Bronx People for Change
Thursday, March 11, 2021 | 7:00PM EST

Native American Communities and the Clerical Abuse Crisis
In Partnership with the Theology Department
Thursday, February 25, 2021 | 12:00PM-1:00PM EST 

Latinx Communities and the Clerical Abuse Crisis
In Partnership with the Theology Department
Thursday, January 28, 2021 | 12:00PM-1:00PM EST

The Four Martyred Churchwomen: Allies In Today's Struggle for Social Justice
A presentation by Edward T. Brett, Ph.D., and Donna Whitson Brett, M.A.
December 2, 2020

In the Shadow of the Cross: Black Women and the Making of U.S. Catholicism
The 16th Annual Rita Cassella Jones Lecture, presented by Dr. Shannen Dee Williams (Villanova University)
October 20, 2020

Pope Francis’s new call for a radical re-ordering of society’s priorities
A Fordham Center on Religion and Culture Webinar
In collaboration with Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies
Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 11:00AM - 12:00PM EST

Jazz is Love: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams
Presented and performed by Deanna Witkowski
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 | 5:30PM EST
Butler Commons, Duane Library, Rose Hill Campus

The Sexual Dynamics of Modern Catholicism
Presented by Robert Orsi (Northwestern University)
Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | 5:30PM EST
Tognino Hall, Duane Library, Rose Hill Campus