Human Distinctiveness Summer Seminar


May 27 – June 17, 2015

Participants in seminar

Taught by Agustín Fuentes, Celia Deane-Drummond, and members of the faculty of the Notre Dame Anthropology Department, this intensive three-week seminar provides an introduction for theologians to anthropological theory, contemporary evolutionary biology, paleoanthropology and the current status of the human fossil record, archeological methods, biosocial processes, and language and culture. The goal is to equip theologians with an evolutionary anthropological toolkit in order to foster innovative theological research by offering space and support for participants to develop their research in new directions. This seminar is part of the Human Distinctiveness project led by Celia Deane-Drummond and Agustín Fuentes. 

Summer Seminar Participants

  • Rhodora Beaton, Associate Professor of Liturgical and Sacramental Theology, Aquinas Institute of Theology
  • John Berkman, Professor of Moral Theology, Regis College, University of Toronto
  • Oliver Davies, Emeritus Professor of Christian Doctrine, Kings College London
  • Simon Gaine OP, Regent of Studies, Blackfriars Oxford
  • Todd Hanneken, Associate Professor of Theology, St. Mary's University 
  • James Helmer, Assistant Professor of Theology, Xavier University
  • Joel Hodge, Senior Lecturer, Theology, Australian Catholic University
  • Nicola Hoggard Creegan, Theologian, New Zealand
  • Philip Rolnick, Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas
  • Eugene Rogers, Professor of Religious Studies, UNC-Greensboro
  • Barbara Rossing, Professor of New Testament, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  • Timothy Sandoval, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University
  • Arthur Walker-Jones, The United Church of Canada Research Chair in Contemporary Theology, University of Winnipeg


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

18:00  Opening Reception 
           Welcome and Introduction to Summer Seminar (Agustín Fuentes and Celia Deane-Drummond)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

09:00  History and Theory in Anthropology: Core Perspectives and Modern Engagements – Connecting Anthropological Inquiry and Theological Interests (Agustín Fuentes
12:00  Break
15:00  Optional campus tour
17:30  Opening Banquet

Friday, May 29, 2015

09:00  Part I: Contemporary Evolutionary Biology (Genomics, Physiology, Development & Ecology): Getting the Basics Down for Understanding Evolutionary Theory (Agustín Fuentes)
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Part II: Contemporary Evolutionary Biology, cont’d.
16:00  Break

Saturday, May 30, 2015

09:00  Contemporary Evolutionary Theory: The Basics and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis and Human Distinctiveness (Agustín Fuentes)
12:00  Reading afternoon

Monday, June 1, 2015

09:00  Theological Engagement with Contemporary Evolutionary Theory and Anthropology (Celia Deane-Drummond)
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Preliminary Round Table Discussion of Project Proposals; Response from Deane-Drummond and Fuentes
16:00  Break

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

09:00  Paleoanthropology and the Current Status of the Hominin and Human Fossil Record (Agustín Fuentes and Marc Kissel)
12:00  Reading afternoon

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

09:00  Creating Ritual, Making Memories: Archaeology and Human Distinctiveness (Ian Kuijt)
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Field trip to Fort St. Joseph archeological site (Mark Schurr and Michael Nassaney)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

09:00  Physiology, Evolution, Sociality: How Biosocial Processes Inform our Understanding of the Human (Lee Gettler)
12:00  Reading afternoon

Friday, June 5, 2015

09:00  Culture, Language and Cognition: Why words, meanings, and how we use them matter for human experience (Susan Blum and Chris Ball)
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Laboratory session: Bones, Bodies, and Faith: What St. Stephen and the Byzantine monks of the monastery at the Ecole Bilique in Jerusalem tell us about faith practice and embodiment (Sue Sheridan)
16:00  Break

Saturday, June 6, 2015

09:00  Reading morning
13:00  Religions and Its Persistence: Strategies for Transmitting Religious Practices across Generations. Rituals, Storytelling, and Art (Kathryn Coe)
16:00  Break

Monday, June 8, 2015

09:00  Introduction: Connecting the Dots: Anthropology and Theology in Interaction (Agustín Fuentes and Celia Deane-Drummond)
09:15  Participant Presentations 
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Participant Presentations 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

09:00  Discussion of Wisdom of the Liminal (Celia Deane-Drummond)
12:00  Reading afternoon

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

09:00  Theology in Evolution of Wisdom Project: Special focus on Schillebeeckx research (Julia Feder and Celia Deane-Drummond)
12:00  Reading afternoon

Thursday, June 11, 2015

09:00  Evolution of Wisdom Project: Specific Anthropological Issues and Research Results (Marc Kissel and Agustín Fuentes)
13:00  Project Research Proposal Consultations (with Todd Whitmore)
18:00  Break

Friday, June 12, 2015

10:00  Project Research Proposal Consultations (with Todd Whitmore)
18:00  Break

Saturday, June 13, 2015

10:00  Project Research Proposal Consultations (with Todd Whitmore)
17:00  Break

Monday, June 15, 2015

09:00  Participant Presentations & Feedback
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Participant Presentations & Feedback
16:00  Break

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

09:00  Participant Presentations & Feedback
13:00  Reading Afternoon
18:00  Closing Banquet 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

09:00  Closing Discussion
12:00  Finish

This intensive seminar has been made possible by support from the John Templeton Foundation.