“A Soul of Priceless Value”: The Contested Ideology of Slaveholding in the Lowcountry

This lecture examines white Christianity’s struggle for influence among slaveholders in Charleston and the surrounding South Carolina Lowcountry as the movement delineated both the ideological and the practical mechanisms that it believed necessary to sustain a slaveholding society in the face of increasingly sharp moral and social criticism, chiefly from outside the region. Religious paternalism’s … Read more

The Rise of ISIS and the Sunni/Shiite Schism

This presentation focuses on the differences between the beliefs and customs of Shiite Moslems in Iran and those of their neighbors, the Sunnis in Iraq. Focusing on the theoretical underpinnings of these two extreme branches of Islam, Dr. Williams discusses the historical changes which gave rise to ISIS in the light of the historical role … Read more

Growing up Gullah

This is a 45-minute one-man show in which Donald Sweeper tells stories shared to him by his ancestors and the elderly people from the community in which he grew up. This performance also includes Gullah folklore and traditions, as well as rites of passages performed by many of the African American Churches from Reconstruction up … Read more

Donne and Herbert: Facing God with Humor and Frustration

We may assume that 17th century poets, especially two who are priests, are boring, rigid, sanctimonious, and irrelevant to how contemporary life approaches spirituality. John Donne and George Herbert were, however, people like us – with families, career frustrations, facing illnesses and death, grappling with their relationship to God and their parishioners. We will look at … Read more

John Milton: Making and Destroying the World

Many of our contemporary notions of Heaven, Hell, and Eden come not just from the Bible, but from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Milton did not contradict anything in Genesis, but built from centuries of interpretation and synthesis to create the most powerful images in English literature. He is also not, contrary to popular opinion, misogynistic or … Read more