OSU to present Horning Lecture Series; Harvard professor to speak


CORVALLIS - The Horning Lecture and Conference Series, an annual program hosted by Oregon State University that focuses on the merging of science and the humanities, will center in 1998-99 on "Religion and the Body: Religious Experience and Natural Knowledge Since the Middle Ages."

Six prominent lecturers, a symposium during Holocaust Memorial Week, and a workshop on nuclear regulation comprise this year's schedule.

The first lecturer in the "Religion and the Body" series will be Katharine Park, who heads the Program in Women's Studies at Harvard University. Park will discuss "Female Sanctity and Human Dissection: The Autopsy of a 14th Century Abbess" in a lecture on Monday, Oct. 5, beginning at 4 p.m. in Weniger Hall Room 116. It is free and open to the public.

Park is the Samuel Zemurray Jr. and Doris Zemurray Stone Professor of the History of Science at Harvard. Her lecture will look at how visionary women have affected religious traditions, and the ways in which male and female religious interpretations have given different meanings to the same events.

She cites as an example an operation performed by a group of Italian nuns in the year 1308 on the body of their deceased abbess, Chiara of Montefalco, in which they removed her intestines and heart in search of physical signs of her saintliness. The interpretations of this event differ greatly, she says.

Park received a bachelor's degree and Ph.D. from Harvard. She taught history at Wellesley College from 1980 to 1997, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies.

She also has been a visiting fellow at the Bunting Institute and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

OSU's Horning Lecture Series is funded by the Mary Jones and Thomas Hart Horning Endowment in the Humanities, which was established through a gift by the late Benjamin Horning, an OSU graduate who went on to receive an M.D. from Harvard and directed the Kellogg Foundation's division for improving health care in Latin America.

As part of the "Religion and the Body" series, OSU will host a workshop in February on the regulation of the Hanford Nuclear Facility in conjunction with a conference on regionalism. The Horning Endowment also is sponsoring a symposium on April 12 as part of Holocaust Memorial Week called "The Sciences in Nazi Germany."

Other lecturers in the series include:

  • Oct. 15

    "Salvation in the Flesh: Mystical Castration in Russian Folk Religion," by Laura Engelstein, Princeton University, 4 p.m., Memorial Union 206.


  • Feb. 8

    "The Jew's Body as Religious and Cultural Text," by John Hoberman, University of Texas at Austin, 4 p.m., Memorial Union 206.


  • March 11

    "Abstinence, Discipline and Bodily Perfection: Protestant Christianity and the Great American Diet Obsession in Historical Perspective," by Ruth Marie Griffith, Northwestern University, 4 p.m., Memorial Union 206.


  • April 1

    "Material Children: Making the Sacred Matter for Catholic Boys and Girls," by Robert A. Orsi, Indiana University, 4 p.m., Memorial Union 206.


  • May 13

    "Soul and Body in the French Medical Enlightenment," by Elizabeth Williams, Oklahoma State University, 4 p.m., Memorial Union 206.