Ouachita Baptist University will host Dr. Roger Finke, professor of sociology and religious studies at Penn State University, as part of the endowed Birkett Williams Lecture Series. Finke’s lecture, set for Tuesday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Mabee Fine Arts Center’s McBeth Recital Hall, is free and open to the public.
The lecture series is held each semester and rotates among Ouachita’s seven academic schools. This semester, OBU’s W.H. Sutton School of Social Sciences invited Finke as the guest lecturer. His speech is titled “Origins and Consequences of Religious Restrictions: A Global Overview.”
“Academically, this fits right into the sociological discussion of the effects of governmental regulation of religion,” said Dr. David Caddell, associate professor of sociology. “On an international level, Dr. Finke has made a big difference with this research in his discussions with various leaders (including China) on the benefits of opening up their religious marketplace.”
“For over two decades, Professor Finke has contributed to empirical investigations of religion,” added Dr. Randall Wight, dean of OBU’s Sutton School. “What a pleasure to have someone with his insight coming to speak on matters of such importance to the Ouachita community.”
Since earning his doctorate in sociology from the University of Washington, Finke has become “one of the leading and most prolific scholars in the sociology of religion,” Caddell noted. Finke currently serves as director of the Association of Religion Data Archives, the largest clearinghouse for religious data in the world.
He also is the author several books, including Places of Faith: A Road Trip across America’s Religious Landscape, The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the 21st Century and Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion.
A few of Finke’s published articles include: “Origins and Consequences of Religious Restrictions: A Global Overview,” “Cross-National Moral Beliefs: The Influence of National Religious Context,” and “The Effects of Professional Training: The Social and Religious Capital Acquired in Seminaries.”
“I would encourage our students and faculty to come enjoy Roger’s lecture,” Caddell said. “Not only is he a fantastic scholar, but he is a genuinely kind and humorous person. He really enjoys talking about ideas with students, and it’s really evident when you see him in this type of an environment.”
Ouachita’s Birkett Williams Lecture Series was established in 1977 through a gift from the late Birkett L. Williams, a 1910 Ouachita graduate. His generous endowment established the lectures as an opportunity to extend the concepts of a liberal arts education beyond the classroom by bringing outstanding scholars and public figures to Ouachita’s campus.
For more information, contact Dr. Randall Wight at email@example.com or (870) 245-5107.
By Taylor Tomlinson