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Fordham Text Wins Catholic Press Association Award


A collection of essays inspired by Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies recently received the Catholic Press Association’s award for one of the past year’s best new books.

The Catholic Studies Reader (Fordham University Press, 2011), edited by James T. Fisher, Ph.D., professor of theology, and Margaret McGuinness, Ph.D., professor of theology at LaSalle University, won first place in the history category of the 2012 Catholic Press Awards.

A comprehensive book on Catholic Studies, The Catholic Studies Reader provides colleges and universities with a basis for the prevalent yet sundry discipline.

“Catholic Studies programs exist at dozens, perhaps over a hundred campuses nationwide, and they vary so widely and there is so little interaction between programs,” Fisher said. “We thought it would be a good idea to provide some models of what Catholic Studies is and what it does.”

The collection of 17 essays covers five central themes— “Sources and Contexts,” “Traditions and Methods,” “Pedagogy and Practice,” “Ethnicity, Race, and Catholic Studies,” and “The Catholic Imagination”—that relate to Catholic Studies in particular and the life of the Catholic Church overall.

“It was envisioned as a part of the Curran Center’s initiative ‘Passing on the Faith,’ a project designed to address some of the challenges facing the Church,” Fisher said. “We thought it would be good to devote a volume to the field of Catholic Studies itself.”

The book also received praise in the latest issue of Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education magazine.

“What has been significantly lacking in this welcome if haphazard growth [of Catholic Studies programs]are resources that bring an informed historical perspective and critical evaluation of the sheer variety of resources available to scholars engaged in this relatively new discipline,” wrote Mark Massa, S.J., dean of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and founder of the Curran Center.

“Professors James Fisher and Margaret McGuinness have done all of us engaged in the Catholic Studies initiative significant service in their new reader,” he continued. “The Catholic Studies Reader promises to be of singular benefit to academics and programs that span the broad spectrum of ideology and mission, and will lend cohesion to a congeries of programs that are now united more in name than in purpose or structure.”

Other Fordham contributors to the reader include Jeannine Hill-Fletcher, Th.D., associate professor of theology; Maureen H. O’Connell, Ph.D., associate professor of theology; Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, associate director of the Curran Center; and Catherine Osborne, a doctoral candidate in the theology program.

“The recognition by the Catholic Press Association might find the book a wider audience, and—we hope—adoption as text in Catholic Studies courses nationwide,” Fisher said.

— Joanna Klimaski


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