Presented by the Division of the Social Sciences and the University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association, the endowed Driggs Lecture was created in 1985 by alumni and friends of the late O. Truman Driggs, professor of history, who taught from 1963 until the time of his death in 1989. He served as the Division of the Social Sciences chair from 1968 until 1977. Annually, the lecture brings distinguished visitors to the Morris campus to speak on topics relating to history, the liberal arts, or public affairs. For more information, see the O. Truman Driggs Distinguished Lecture in History website.
Moral Combat: Sex, Politics, and the Fracturing of American Christianity
R. Marie Griffith
Professor Griffith is a John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor and Director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. She is the author and editor of many highly acclaimed works, including Religion and Politics in the Contemporary United States, co-edited with Melani McAlister (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008); Women and Religion in the African Diaspora: Knowledge, Power, and Performance, co-edited with Barbara Dianne Savage (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (University of California Press, 2004); and God’s Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
As noted in the press description of her forthcoming book, Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics, "Gay marriage, transgender rights, birth control--sex is at the heart of many of the most divisive political issues of our age. The origins of these conflicts, historian R. Marie Griffith argues, lie in sharp disagreements that emerged among American Christians a century ago. From the 1920s onward, a once-solid Christian consensus regarding gender roles and sexual morality began to crumble, as liberal Protestants sparred with fundamentalists and Catholics over questions of obscenity, sex education, and abortion. Both those who advocated for greater openness in sexual matters and those who resisted new sexual norms turned to politics to pursue their moral visions for the nation." Dr. Griffith explores how the Christian consensus on sex unraveled, and how this unraveling has made our political battles over sex so ferocious and so intractable.