Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: September 26, 2011 12:25:35 PM PDT
Author Stephen Prothero to Speak at Western Nov. 15
Prothero’s Book ‘Religious Literacy’ Western Reads Book for 2011-12


Contact: Mary Janell Metzger, Professor of English and Director of Western Reads, (360) 650-3238, Western.Reads@wuu.edu

BELLINGHAM – Author Stephen Prothero will speak at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) Concert Hall at Western Washington University.

Prothero is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know–and Doesn’t” (HarperOne, 2007), which is the Western Reads Book for 2011-12. Western Reads is WWU’s campus-wide reading program designed to promote intellectual engagement and civil discourse among members of the campus community. Prothero will be discussing religion and American culture. A question and answer session will follow the talk.

The event is open to the public. Free tickets are available starting on Oct. 3 at the PAC Box Office (limit two tickets per person). WWU Box Office hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and one hour prior to the talk.  For disability accommodations or more information, contact the WWU Box Office at (360) 650-6146 or visit http://www.tickets.wwu.edu.

Prothero is a professor of Religion at Boston University specializing in American religions. He received his doctorate from Harvard University in the Study of Religion.

A historian of American religions, Prothero has written six books, including:  “The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey of Henry Steel Olcott” (Indiana University Press, 1996), which won the Best First Book award of the American Academy of Religion in 1997, and “American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003), which was named one of the top religion books for 2003 by Publishers Weekly. His two most recent projects are “Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know–and Doesn’t ,” and “God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World and Why Their Differences Matter” (HarperOne, 2010).

In addition to his scholarly work, which includes peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Prothero has written for a variety of popular magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, Slate, Salon, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe. He has commented on religion on NPR and on such television programs as The Colbert ReportThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Today Show. He is also a regular contributor to CNN’s Belief Blog.

All new freshman and transfer students at Western received a complimentary copy of “Religious Literacy” at orientation and will be invited to participate in a variety of Western Reads activities during the academic year, including discussions, faculty presentations and guest lectures.

The Western Reads selection committee is comprised of faculty, staff and students from across campus  who work with incoming students. Criteria for selecting the book include accessibility, possibilities for interdisciplinary conversation and opportunities for students to reflect on their lives as learners.

“Religious Literacy” is the eighth annual book selected in the Western Reads program. Previous years’ Westerns Reads books include “The Young and the Digital” by S. Craig Watkins; “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan; “The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything” by Gordy Slack; “Honky” by Dalton Conley; “Wild Life,” by Molly Gloss; “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Mark Haddon; and “Persepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi.

Western Reads is sponsored by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services and by New Student Services/Family Outreach.

For more information about the Western Reads program, visit www.westernreads.wwu.edu.




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