In keeping with its mission to highlight some of the exciting contributions made by scholars in the Humanities to countless fields of research, the Center for the Humanities invites scholars from various disciplines to share their expertise with the Grinnell College community. This year, the Center for the Humanities is pleased to welcome the Rev. Dr. Lizette Larson-Miller is the Nancy and Michael Kaehr Professor of Liturgical Leadership at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and Professor of Liturgy at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She received her B.A. from the University of Southern California, her M.A. from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. This semester, Grinnell College is pleased to welcome her as the Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Humanities for the Spring 2010 semester. Prof. Larson-Miller is an accomplished and internationally recognized scholar in the field of liturgical studies. Her research interests also include ritual studies, architecture, theology, cultural geography, art, music, and performance studies. Her interests in place and memory are longstanding, beginning with her interests in liturgical architecture, but expanding over time into a fascination with sacred space.
While at Grinnell, Professor Larson-Miller has been a valued participant in the explorations of place and memory this semester at the Center for the Humanities. She has taught a short course at Grinnell, HUM 395: Grieving in Public, which explores the phenomenon of roadside shrines and urban memorials. The class looked at actual shrines, and at scholarship on this phenomenon to understand how they memorialize and how they reflect changed civic values or spirituality with regard to the dead. The course includes insights of social geographers, scholars of violence and culture, ritual studies and popular religiosity. The work for this course dates back to 2002-2003, when Prof. Larson-Miller was awarded a Luce Fellowship in Theology, to pursue a project she entitled “Holy Ground: discerning Sacred Space in Public Places.” The question of sacred space reflects Larson-Millers interests in the connections between the public and the private, the spiritual and the civic, the mundane and the holy.
Prof. Larson-Miller is the author of The Sacrament of Anointing Of The Sick (Lex Orandi), which appeared in 2005 from Liturgical Press. This volume explores history of sacraments involving pastoral care of the sick and dying from an ecumenical perspective, and also addresses the meaning of such rituals in the rapidly changing medical environments of today. Her other numerous articles and book chapters include “The Altar and the Martyr” (Worship Traditions in Armenia and the Neighboring Christian East, ed. Roberta R. Ervine, St. Vladamir's Seminary Press, 2005), “Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Funeral Rites” (Death in Contemporary American Society, UCSB Press, 2005), and “Place and Community: The Sacramentality of Sacred Space and the New Cathedral of Oakland, California (Holy Ground: Re-inventing Ritual Space in Modern Western Culture, eds. Paul Post & Arie Molendijk, Peeters, 2010).
Larson-Miller has served multiples terms on the governing council of Societas Liturgica, and international society for liturgical study. She is also a prominent member of the North American Academy of Liturgy and the Catholic Theological Society of America. During her semester at Grinnell, Prof. Larson-Miller has served as assisting priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and sung in Grinnell’s Collegium Musicum and Community Chorus.
Distinguished Visiting Professors
Beginning in 1999, the first year of the Center’s operation, the Center invited a Distinguished Visiting Professor to Grinnell College. The Distinguished Visiting Professor led both a faculty seminar and a student seminar in their field of expertise. In some years, a single Distinguished Visiting Professor remains in residence for the fall semester, and returns briefly each Spring to participate in our annual symposium. In other years, the Center invites multiple Distinguished Visiting Professors to campus for shorter periods during the Fall Semester, all of whom take turns leading the faculty and student seminars and who also return for the spring symposium. Beginning in 2008, the Center will explore other modes of bringing cutting-edge scholarship in the Humanities to Grinnell’s campus; however, we anticipate returning to the Distinguished Visiting Professor program in the future, although not on an annual basis.
Click the links below to learn more about past Distinguished Visiting Professors. See also the Past Events page for a description of the faculty seminars, student seminars, and symposia they led.
|Spring 2010||Lizette Larson-Miller|
|Fall 2008||Robert J. Richards|
|M. Jacqui Alexander|
|Fall 2007||Robert Richards|
|Fall 2006||Carolyn Dean|
|Fall 2005||Coco Fusco|
|Fall 2004||Kristin Ross|
|Fall 2003||Jeffrey T. Nealon|
|Fall 2002||Vyacheslav Ivanov|
|Fall 2001||Peter Dews|