"Why Believe in Universal Human Dignity" is Focus of Upcoming Lecture at Canisius College

January 16, 2020


BUFFALO, NY – Canisius College will welcome American sociologist Christian S. Smith, PhD, to campus on Tuesday, March 31 for a 7:30 p.m. lecture, titled “Why Believe in Universal Human Dignity?: Rethinking the Concept for a Likely Dark Future.” The lecture is being sponsored by the Joseph J. Naples Conversations in Christ & Culture Lecture and Performance Series and will take place in the Grupp Fireside Lounge, located on the second floor of the Richard E. Winter ’42 Student Center.  The event is free and open to the public. 

Smith is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, where he also serves as director of the university’s Global Religion Research Initiative.  He is renowned for his scholarly work, which focuses on religion, adolescents and emerging adults, and social theory.  Smith’s books, including Soul Searching, Souls in Transition, Youth Catholic America and Lost in Transition, all emphasize the interplay of broad cultural influences, family socialization and religious motivations in forming the spiritual and life experiences and outcomes of American youth. 

Smith is also a leading theorist of the philosophy of critical realism and the social theory of personalism, subjects which he addresses in his What is a Person?, Moral, Believing Animals, The Sacred Project of American Sociology and To Flourish or Destruct.  He has also authored several books on secularism, atheism and evangelicalism. 

Smith was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame and founding director of the Notre Dame Center for Social Research.  Since 2006, he has secured more than $12.9 million in research grant money for Notre Dame.  Smith holds an MA and PhD in sociology from Harvard University and studied Christian historical theology at Harvard Divinity School.  His BA is in sociology from Gordon College, Wenham, MA.

Established in 2000, the Joseph J. Naples Conversations in Christ and Culture Lecture and Performance Series brings lectures and events to campus that cover a wide range of issues connected to Christian faith, especially emphasizing the intersection of the church and academia.

One of 27 Jesuit universities, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Click here for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.