Catholicism is hot, culturally and academically. And John LaRocca, S.J., chair of the department of history, is hoping to use some of that heat to power a new minor called “Catholicism and Culture.”
The interdisciplinary minor, which examines the way Catholicism and culture influence each other, was approved in April and begins next spring.
LaRocca says the time is right for a critical look at Catholicism in society. “Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Catholic universities stopped focusing on Catholicism in the way that they used to,” he says. “And we decidedly stayed away from Catholic topics in developing courses. But if you look at state and secular universities, you’ll see that Catholicism is a hot topic. There have been at least a half-dozen books in the past five years by lay people, some of whom aren’t even Catholic.”
The new minor will span the history, philosophy, English and theology departments, and combine some existing and newly developed courses.