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Author, scholar Gary Dorrien to deliver Thompson Lecture

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – An accomplished author and scholar who has been called “the preeminent social ethicist in North America today” will present the next Samuel M. Thompson Memorial Lecture at Monmouth College.

Gary Dorrien will deliver the talk at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Morgan Room in Poling Hall. Titled “Democratic Socialism: Black & White, Christian & Not, Then & Now,” the lecture is free and open to the public.

“Gary is a towering figure in the field and a dynamic speaker,” said Monmouth philosophy and religious studies professor Dan Ott. “The focus on democratic socialism as put forward both by religious and secular thinkers is likely to be quite relevant to some of the debates going on among Democratic presidential candidates.”

Dorrien teaches social ethics, theology and philosophy of religion as the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and as a professor of religion at Columbia University. He is the author of 20 books and more than 300 articles that range across the fields of social ethics, philosophy, theology, political eco¬nomics, social and political theory, religious history, cultural criticism, and intellectual history.

Several of Dorrien’s books have been honored, including his recent work Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Social Gospel, which won the American Library Association’s Choice Award. The book has been described as “intellectual history at its finest ... a triumph of careful scholarship, rigorous argument, clear prose, unblinking judgments and groundbreaking conclusions. ... Indispensable.”

The Thompson Lecture is annually presented in memory of the legendary Sam Thompson, who graduated from Monmouth College in 1924. Thompson taught philosophy at the College for 46 years after earning his Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1931.

The lecture series was made possible by Thompson’s two daughters, the late Jean Thompson Follett ’51 and Roberta Thompson Fassett ’56, and the College’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.