January 22, 2002
Noted sociologist to deliver annual Currie lecture
By Elaine Justice & Eric Rangus email@example.com
Renowned sociologist Robert Bellah, co-author of the best-selling books
Habits of the Heart and The Good Society, will address Marriage:
Sacred Institution or Obsolete Tyranny? at the annual Currie Lecture
in Law and Religion at noon Monday, Jan. 28, in the School of Laws
Bellah, Elliott Professor of Sociology Emeritus at the University of
California at Berkeley, received the United States National Humanities
Medal from then-President Bill Clinton in 2000 for his contributions to
illuminate the importance of community in American society. His work often
addresses the tensions between individualism, a sense of community and
social institutions as the dominant characteristics of contemporary American
In his lecture, Bellah will examine the importance of marriage as an
institution and as a foundation of productive life that is in need of
reform and renewal. He also will discuss why homosexuals should not be
excluded from the individual and societal benefits of marriage.
Educated at Harvard University in sociology, anthropology and Eastern
religions, Bellah began teaching at Harvard in 1957 and moved to Berkeley
Bellahs best-known book, Habits of the Heart: Individualism
and Commitment in American Life, has sold more than one million copies
since its first publication in 1985. In Habits of the Heart, Bellah
and four co-authors (one of them Steven Tipton, director of the Graduate
Division of Religion) wrote that a social movement was necessary to restore
the dignity and legitimacy of democratic politics. It discussed Americans
suspicion of politics as an arena in which arbitrary differences
of opinion and interest can be resolved only by power and manipulation.
In 1991, the books five authors released a sequel, called The
Good Society, in which they argue that the American citizenry must
take responsibility for its institutions if a more effective and morally
conscious society is to be created. Bellahs other books include
Beyond Belief, The Broken Covenant and The New Religious Consciousness.
The Currie Lecture, an annual event of the law schools Law and
Religion Program, has featured internationally prominent scholars whose
expertise encompasses a broad range of religious and legal issues. Previous
speakers include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Emory Provost Rebecca
Chopp and last years speaker, Charles Villa-Vicencio, a leading
South African theologian and professor.
Bellahs lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call 404-727-5588.
Emory University, Copyright 2002