of The Heart" Co-Author Robert Bellah to Speak on Protestantism
24, 2000 -- Sociologist
Robert M. Bellah, co-author of the best-selling books "Habits of
the Heart" and "The Good Society," will speak at the University
of Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 9.
Bellah, the Elliott Professor
of Sociology Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley,
will deliver this semester's Lecture in Culture and Social Theory,
sponsored by U.Va.'s Institute
for Advanced Studies in Culture and the Department
of Sociology. His talk, titled "The Protestant Structure of
American Culture: Multiculture or Monoculture?" will be held at
3:30 p.m. in Minor Hall Auditorium. At 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10,
a panel discussion with Bellah will be held in the Rotunda Dome
Room with responses by U.Va. faculty members.
Bellah is widely known as senior
author of "Habits of the Heart" and "The Good Society," which identify
tensions between individualism, a sense of community, and social
institutions as dominant characteristics of contemporary American
life. "Habits of the Heart," first published in 1985, became one
of the most discussed interpretations of recent American society.
In his lecture, he will consider
how the U.S. has proven hospitable in recent years to the idea of
multiculturalism. He will argue that while multiculturalism rejects
the "melting pot" metaphor in favor of a "salad bowl" of cultural
identities, the result may not be any different. Protestantism,
he will argue, supplies a deep structure of American culture and
carries a powerful message of individualism. Thus, sentiments such
as "we're all different and unique: respect that" may not challenge
our dominant culture, but only be a form of it. Bellah will conclude
by considering what a genuine challenge to the dominant culture
might actually look like.
Educated at Harvard University in
sociology, anthropology, and Eastern religions, Bellah began teaching
at Harvard in 1957 and moved to Berkeley in 1967. His other books
include "Beyond Belief," "The Broken Covenant" and "The New Religious
Sociology professor Murray Milner
will moderate the Nov. 10 panel discussion. Panelists will include
associate professor of religious studies Heather Warren and sociology
professor James D. Hunter.
Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856