2009 Theme: "Islam and the West: Reading Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner in the Context of Global Islam"
Best-selling author and expert on world religions Dr. Charles Kimball will deliver the fifth annual McBride Lecture for Faith & Literature October 9 at 7:30 in Gaylord University Center. The free, public lecture is entitled "Reading A Thousand Splendid Suns in the Context of Global Islam" and will be followed by a book-signing reception.
"We are eager to hear Dr. Kimball's insights into Hosseini's latest novel, which like A Kite Runner in 2001, is a touching and powerful tale of conflicts within an Islamic culture. Dr. Kimball's knowledge of Islam will help us respond to Hosseini's stories, which demand that we develop deeper insights into lives, cultures and religions that are unfamiliar to many readers," said Dr. Scott LaMascus, Director of the McBride Center.
"In broader terms of the humanities, Dr. Kimball's scholarship in world religions and expertise in religious education is so apropos to our era- a time in which religious conflicts abound in the evening news and in our communities," LaMascus said.
When Kimball agreed to deliver the 2009 McBride Lecturer, the summer crisis over Iranian presidential elections had not yet occurred, LaMascus said, "so his topics have grown only more pressing and timely- moreso than we could have anticipated when we first thought he would be an outstanding guest for our series."
Thirty years after participating in the talks regarding U.S. citizens held hostage in Iran, Kimball continues to be a prominent voice on global religions and religious conflict. Kimball, age 58, earned his doctorate at Harvard University with a specialization in Islamic studies.
"The selection of Dr. Charles Kimball gives us a rare opportunity to hear directly from a world-class scholar who has extensive experience in several Middle Eastern countries during the past thirty years. In addition, the integral role he played in the negotiations for the release of the hostages in the aftermath of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Iran gives him keen insight regarding the upheaval following the disputed outcome of the 2009 Iranian presidential election," said Dr. Bob Carpenter, OC professor of Bible.
Carpenter will teach a course in world religions for which Kimball will be guest speaker and scholar. The course will be offered and sponsored by the Oklahoma Scholarship-Leadership Enrichment Program (OSLEP) of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. OSLEP courses bring university students from across the state to a host campus to hear from scholars in many disciplines.
Kimball is author of When Religion Becomes Evil (2002), which was named to the top books on religion by Publishers Weekly and has been translated into many world languages. He also is author of Striving Together: A Way Forward in Christian-Muslim Relations (Orbis Books), Religion, Politics, and Oil: The Volatile Mix in the Middle East (Abingdon Press), and Angle of Vision: Christians and the Middle East (Friendship Press).
Before joining the Wake Forest University faculty in 1996, Kimball also served from 1983 to 1990 as Director of the Middle East Office at the National Council of Churches. He has made more than 35 trips to the Middle East and worked closely with the U.S. Congress, the White House, and the U.S. State Department.
Following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Kimball was interviewed by more than 500 media outlets- television, radio, newspaper, and other outlets throughout the English-speaking world. In late 2008, Kimball moved from his longtime home at Wake Forest University to the University of Oklahoma, where he has been named director of the religious studies department. He and his wife have two children.
Previous McBride Center Lectures have been delivered by authors including: 2008- Bill McKibben, environmentalist and author of The End of Nature and Deep Economy; 2007- winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead and Home; 2006- U.S. Poet Laureate Dr. Robert Pinsky, author of many volumes of poetry and My Favorite Poem; and 2005- Kathleen Norris, bestselling author of Dakota and The Virgin of Bennington.
"Although I have not yet met Dr. Charles Kimball, I was first introduced to his scholarship in Striving Together: A Way Forward in Christian-Muslim Relations, a work with significant insights about the conflict of two worldviews. Dr. Kimball will guide us in assessing some of the greatest issues in the new century," said Dr. Bailey McBride, OC Professor of English and longtime chief academic officer of the university.
The McBride Center and lecture series are named for McBride and his wife, Joyce. He is an OC alumnus who returned to the campus as professor, department chair, and chief academic officer over a half-century's leadership at OC.
"Current students love Bailey and Joyce as much as alumni and friends of the university," said LaMascus. "So it is our pleasure to offer the annual lecture and several days of symposia to honor the academic discipline which he loves- the study of literature- by conducting symposia in a variety of humanities contexts."
"When OC alumni, friends, and foundations enthusiastically join us in funding these events each year and in building a permanent endowment fund for the McBride Center, we see this as a clear signal that humanities education continues to be of great benefit to our future in our city, state and nation," said LaMascus.
Funding for this program is provided in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities Council (OHC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the OHC or NEH.
Additional funds are provided in part by the Gladys Kreible Delmas Foundation; the OSLEP and Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education; the Inasmuch Foundation; and Best of Books, Edmond's independent bookseller in Kickingbird Square.
OSLEP is a unique intercollegiate, interdisciplinary program designed to develop scholarship and leadership abilities of Oklahoma's outstanding college and university students. For more information about OSLEP, please got to www.ou.edu/oslep/ or call 405-325-4309.
The McBride Center for Faith and Literature is funded by grants, gifts, and a permanent endowment at Oklahoma Christian University.
The McBride Center - Box 11000 - Oklahoma City, OK - 73136