The Harvard Alumni Association announced that HDS Professor Preston N. Williams, PhD ’67, will receive the 2021 Harvard Medal. Williams, Houghton Professor of Theology and Contemporary Change Emeritus, was the first tenured African American faculty member of HDS and the first to lead the School when he was acting dean from 1974 to 1975. He was also the founding director of Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois Research Institute.
"Healing this uncivil war, especially within our own families, is not about changing our minds or even our hearts but first creating a space where we can meet unarmed. Here, an opening can occur. We are not abandoning our principles, but expanding our points of view," says HDS writer-in-residence Terry Tempest Williams.
"As we stand with those women at the open, empty tomb, may we feel our desire for resurrection and its transformations rising within us. And may we be brave enough to take up the story where they left off, brave enough to resist going back to the way things were and to seeking together the ways things could be," says Professor Stephanie Paulsell.
HDS Professor Catherine Brekus discusses the Salem Witch Hunt and talks about what leads a close-knit community to turn against each other—and draws some uncomfortable parallels with our own moment, from conspiracy theories to the demonization of opponents, especially women.
"People are not more fervent believers than they used to be, but their identification to religion has certainly shifted, creating a conjunction of religious and political identities that facilitate political mobilization and sometimes radical actions," writes T. J. Dermot Dunphy Visiting Professor of Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding Jocelyne Cesari.