August 9, 2010 14:06 Age: 4 yrs

Emory to Host Pursuit of Happiness Lecture Series in September

Revenge and forgiveness, America’s pursuit of happiness and making happiness in slave-era America are the topics of the Pursuit of Happiness Lectures Series 2010, hosted by Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) in September.

The lectures are free and open to the public. They begin at 7 p.m. in Emory Law’s Tull Auditorium, 1301 Clifton Rd., Atlanta. Directions and parking information here.

September 14: Michael E. McCullough, director of the laboratory for social and clinical psychology and professor in the department of psychology at the University of Miami, will discuss “Revenge, Forgiveness, Human Nature and the Happy Society: Some Lessons for Law.” He will draw from his latest book, Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct (Jossey-Bass, 2008). McCullough is a CSLR senior fellow and participant in the Pursuit of Happiness Project. He recently was featured on the public radio program "Speaking of Faith."

September 21: Patrick Allitt, Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory, will explore "Religion and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Anglo-American Context," referencing 18th century thinking on these ideas and their inclusion in the Declaration of Independence. He also will address the enduring conservative idea that government cannot make people happy, even though it can create the political stability and rule of law within which citizens can pursue happiness. The author of six books, Allitt is also the presenter of six lecture series with The Teaching Company on aspects of American and British history.

September 28: Frances Smith Foster, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Women's Studies at Emory and CSLR senior fellow, will lecture on “Making Happiness in Early African America,” an exploration of domestic happiness and loving bliss many Afro-Protestant families of the Antebellum era experienced despite the many obstacles they faced. Foster has written about this happiness and the resilience of African-American families in ‘Til Death or Distance Do Us Part: Love and Marriage in Early African America (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Love and Marriage in Early African America (Northeastern University Press, 2007). Both volumes were products of the CSLR's Sex, Marriage and Family Project.

The lectures series is an outcome of the CSLR’s Pursuit of Happiness Project launched in 2005 to explore the Declaration of Independence proclamation that all Americans are endowed with "certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It is an ancient and enduring Western ideal grounded in various Hebrew, Greco-Roman, Christian and Enlightenment sources. Recent developments in positive psychology have brought the idea of happiness back to public attention. The project aims to put religion and science in conversation, focus on the relation between altruistic love and happiness, retrieve some of the rich traditional teachings captured in the ancient ideal of the "pursuit of happiness" and ultimately reconstruct the idea of happiness in light of the new findings of the human and social sciences and of the new liberties of constitutional democracies.

About the Center for the Study of Law and Religion

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University is home to world-class scholars and forums on the religious foundations of law, politics and society. It offers first-rank expertise on how the teachings and practices of Christianity, Judaism and Islam have shaped and can continue to transform the fundamental ideas and institutions of our public and private lives. The scholarship of CSLR faculty provides the latest perspectives, while its conferences and public forums foster reasoned and robust public debate.

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