Dr. Jill Carroll to Speak on Religious Tolerance at WSCC September 27

Wallace State Community College will host Dr. Jill Carroll, a Houston-based scholar, writer and speaker who specializes in world religions, religion and world politics, religion in public life, and applied life philosophy, Sept. 27 at 9:30 a.m. in the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre at the Wallace State Student Center.

Carroll will discuss “Zeitoun,” this year’s Common Read selection, and its connection to religious tolerance.

“Each year, the Common Read committee chooses a book that will provide a common academic experience for all first-year students, as well as for faculty, staff, and the community,” said Dr. Mary Barnes, English instructor and coordinator of The Common Read event. “The purpose of the initiative is to create a shared experience across a diverse group of students while looking at social and political issues that are germane to today’s world.”

Criteria for choosing the book include relevance, potential to engage students, readability, appeal to diverse backgrounds, literary quality, interdisciplinary qualities, accuracy of portrayals, expense, and curriculum integration.

Dave Egger’s “Zeitoun” provides a strong starting point for students to discuss the impact of natural disasters on civil rights and liberties of Americans. It also allows students to examine their own roles and obligations as citizens, Barnes said.

“We are honored and look forward to having Dr. Jill Carroll as a guest lecturer, who will provide another opportunity for us to have a shared intellectual conversation,“ she said.

Carroll is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University, where she also directed the Boniuk Center for Religious Tolerance until June 2009. She earned her Ph.D. in religious studies from Rice University in 1994 with a specialty in philosophy of religion, and is a recognized expert on issues of religious tolerance, philosophy of religion, American religion, and religion in public life. Her areas of specialty include: The role of religion in world politics, comparative world religions, trends in American religion, the impact of religious diversity in global business, and applied life philosophy.

She is the author of numerous articles and four books. A recent book, “A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gulen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse” was a Publishers Weekly bestseller in religion, having been in a “Top 10” category on Amazon in May 2007. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, and has been interviewed by The New York Times, PBS, MSNBC, and Good Morning America. She writes a featured blog called “Talking Tolerance” for the online religion section of the Houston Chronicle. She also writes a lifestyle blog called “Now That We’re Here…”

A professor for many years in the Houston area, Carroll has taught at all campuses of the University of Houston system, Rice University, The Women’s Institute of Houston, The Jung Center of Houston, and in the Texas State prison system. She is a favorite for keynotes and public lectures because of her informative content as well as her inspiring and entertaining style.

The public is invited to attend the event. For more information, call the Wallace State English Department at 256-352-8219, or visit www.wallacestate.edu.

* Have a community item? Email to Editorial Assistant Sallee Chandler in the newsroom at sallee@cullmantimes.com; include full name and daytime phone number.


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