Sept. 29, 2006
Dr. Michelle Lelwica, associate professor of religion and co-director of women’s studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., will present “The Religion of Thinness: Challenging our Culture’s Narrow Ideal” on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. in Klinger-Neal Theatre, 3700 Peters Avenue, on the Morningside College campus.
Lelwica will critically analyze a network of beliefs, images, rituals, and moral codes dedicated to the creation of a slender body and examine how the manic pursuit of thinness functions much like a religion. She will discuss dominant cultural assumptions that equate thinness with health and beauty and the need to develop a spiritual perspective and resources that affirm a diversity of body sizes, shapes, colors, and cultures.
Lelwica holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Saint Benedict in Saint Joseph, Minn., and a master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. She has written extensively on the subject of spirituality of the body and is the author of Starving for Salvation: The Spiritual Dimension of Eating Problems Among American Girls and Women published in 1999 by Oxford University Press. Her new book The Religion of Thinness is slated for release by Gurze Press in 2007.
The Wright Lecture series, which started in 1981, brings outstanding preachers, religious leaders, and prominent religious studies scholars to Morningside College. The lectures are funded by an endowment established by Dr. and Mrs. Ernest Wright.