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Democracy at century's end topic of Hammond Lecture

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 05 - September 26, 1996

Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago will talk on "Democracy at Century's End" in the first lecture of the Hammond Lectureship in Religious Ethics and Society at Virginia Tech.

The lectureship was endowed by an anonymous donor in honor of recently retired religious-studies Professor Guy B. Hammond to make it possible for the Religious Studies Program in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies to invite a speaker of national prominence to campus for presentations every other year. This year's talk will be delivered at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in Squires Haymarket Theatre.

Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller professor of social and political ethics at the University of Chicago. She has also held faculty positions at the University of Massachusetts and Vanderbilt.

Elshtain describes herself as "a political philosopher whose task has been to show the connections between our political and our ethical convictions." Her publications have centered in three areas: women and family in social and political thought, just-war theory, and democracy, ethics, and the public/private split.

Her best-known books are Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought and The Family in Political Thought. Her recent book, Democracy on Trial, a call for a renewal of civil society, has been widely reviewed as an example of communitarian thought. She also is concerned about the connections between religion and politics.

Hammond, for whom the lectureship is named, came to Virginia Tech in 1957 and moved through the academic ranks to full professor by 1967. He served as head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion from 1978 through 1983, was first head of the Religion Department, from 1983 through 1985, and, in his final year before retirement, 1994-95, served as the transition leader for the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, of which religious studies is now a part.

At the college level, Hammond served on committees involving the Humanities Program, the Liberal Arts and Sciences Degree Program, and the Center for the Study of Science in Society, among others. At the university level, his committee work was concerned with tenure and promotion, the university calendar, the core curriculum, the university self-study, and the honors program. He was a faculty senator for six years, including terms as president and secretary. He was elected to the Virginia Tech Academy of Faculty Service.

An active member of the American Academy of Religion, Hammond has served the organization as southeast regional section chair, vice president, and president and has been a member of the national board of directors. He also served as president of the North American Paul Tillich Society.

He is the author of three books, Man in Estrangement, The Power of Self-Transcendence: An Introduction to the Systematic Theology of Paul Tillich, and Conscience and Recovery: From the Frankfurt School to Feminism.

He was elected to membership in the Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence in 1979.

"In teaching, scholarship, and service, Guy has been an exemplary university citizen," said Elizabeth Struthers-Malbon, director of religious studies. "But he has also been a responsive and responsible citizen."

For more information, call 1-7617.