Denison Hosts Researcher to Discuss Role of Catholic Church in Colombia
Posted: March 30, 2004
Researcher, author and human rights activist Father Fernan Gonzalez will be speaking at Denison University as part of the Goodspeed Lecture Series at 7:30 p.m., Thursday (April 1) in Slayter Auditorium about the changing role -- "from conservative resistance to social activism"-- of the Catholic Church in Colombia. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The Church has been one of the most influential institutions in the history of Colombia, as it was the supreme arbiter in the Colombian democracy during the 19th century and most of the 20th century. In the last decades, however, some sectors of the Church have adopted more radical views, advocating social change by participating as intermediaries between the government and the guerrilla groups.
Gonzalez is the former director of the Center for Popular Research and Education (CINEP) in Latin America, a non-governmental organization committed to fostering economic, social and political change in Colombia through the marginalized sectors of society. While working with CINEP, Gonzalez researched the armed conflict and regional violence in Colombia.
He is currently coordinating the "Region and Citizenship in the Magdalena Valley" project, sponsored by the European Union in Colombia, a group that rejects projects that involve the armed forces. It is a response to the "PlanColumbia" project that the United States sponsored.
Gonzalez earned bachelor and master's degrees in Colombia as well as a master's degree in Latin American history at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Berkeley.
Gonzalez has written several books about Colombian and Latin American history, including "Conflicting Powers: Church and State in Colombia" and his most recent piece, "Political Violence in Colombia: From a Fragmented Nation to a Construction of the State." He has also published several articles on the same topic, including "Political Violence and the Difficulties for Building a Civil Life," "Citizenship and National Identity in Colombia" and "A State Under Construction: A Long View on the Colombian Crisis."
The Goodspeed Lecture Series features scholars whose work is in the field of religion or is related to religious issues. The fund is named in honor of the late Edgar J. Goodspeed, a 1890 Denison graduate, who was one of nine biblical scholars who worked on the Revised Standard Version of the Scriptures, published in 1946, which has superceded the King James Version in official usage in many American denominations.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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