As part of the annual meeting of the Library's Scholars Council, a panel of noted historians discussed the affect of religion and religious beliefs during moments of crisis and opportunity in American history.
Speaker Biography: John Witte is is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, McDonald Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He is a specialist in legal history, marriage law and religious liberty. Witte's writings have appeared in 12 languages, and he has lectured and convened conferences in North America, Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, Israel, Australia, Hong Kong and South Africa. With major funding from the Pew, Ford, Lilly, Luce and McDonald foundations, he has directed 12 major international research projects on democracy, human rights and religious liberty, and on marriage, family and children. Witte is a past holder of the Kluge Center's Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History.
Speaker Biography: Sarah Barringer Gordon, the Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, is an expert on religion in American public life and the law of church and state, especially how religious liberty developed over the course of American history. She is a frequent commentator in news media on the constitutional law of religion and debates about religious freedom. Her current book project, "Freedom's Holy Light: Disestablishment in America, 1776-1876," is about the historical relationships among religion, politics and law.
Speaker Biography: Peter Manseau is the Lilly Endowment Curator of American Religious History at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. He is the author of six books, including the memoir "Vows," the novel "Songs for the Butcher's Daughter," the travelogue "Rag and Bone," and the retelling of America's diverse spiritual formation "One Nation, Under Gods." Manseau is the winner of the National Jewish Book Award, the American Library Association's Sophie Brody Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Literature, the Ribalow Prize for Fiction and a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship.
Speaker Biography: Ted Widmer is director of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and the author or editor of many works of American history, including "The New York Times Disunion: A History of the Civil War," "Listening In: The Secret White House Tape Recordings of John F. Kennedy," "Ark of the Liberties: America and the World" and "American Speeches, Martin Van Buren and Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City."
For transcript and more information, visit http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=7913