Indiana prof to lecture at OSU on Catholic boys and girls


CORVALLIS - A professor of religious studies at Indiana University will speak April 1 at Oregon State University on Catholic children in the middle of the 20th century.

Robert Orsi's lecture, "Material Children: Making the Sacred Important for Catholic Boys and Girls," will begin at 4 p.m. in OSU's Memorial Union Room 206. It is free and open to the public.

"The talk will deal with the middle years of the 20th century, when the parents and adults responsible for the spiritual and intellectual formation of Catholic children began to despair about their charges," said Robert Nye, the Horning Professor of Humanities at OSU. "Their concerns often centered on children's and adolescents' bodies - their posture, attitude, ritual movement - in church while in the presence of the body of God on the altar."

Nye said Orsi will "analyze the nature of this corporal anxiety and discuss the body disciplines that were developed to fulfill a spiritual quest in which the supernatural was sought and found in matter."

Orsi received a Ph.D. in religious studies at Yale University in 1982. He taught at Fordham University for eight years before joining the faculty of Indiana University in 1988. Two years later, he received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

He has published a pair of books with the Yale University Press, and has written several articles in historical, literary and religious studies journals.

This is the fifth in a series of six lectures sponsored by the Horning Endowment for the Humanities at OSU on the subject, "Religion and the Body."