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Yale professor to present Whitworth’s 2015 Simpson-Duvall lecture on religions' influence in corporate entities

February 20, 2015

Yale University Professor Kathryn Lofton will present the 2015 Simpson-Duvall lecture, “Do Not Tamper with the Clues: What Goldman Sachs can Tell Us About Religion,” on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall’s Robinson Teaching Theatre. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Lofton is a professor of religious studies, American studies, history and divinity, and is also chair of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Yale. In addition, she is a historian of religion with a particular focus on the cultural and intellectual history of the United States.

Her archival expertise is in the post-Civil War era, but her research draws upon the histories and anthropology of religions in the U.S. from pre-contact to the present in order to elucidate the meanings of and relationships between religion, modernity, and the secular. This research focuses scholarly attention on the public affects, intimate desires and corporate entities that have influenced—and are in turn influenced by—religious activity. Her book Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon (2011) used the example of Oprah Winfrey’s multimedia productions to analyze the nature of religion in contemporary America.

Lofton holds an A.B. from the University of Chicago and an M.A. and Ph.D from the University of North Carolina.

The Simpson-Duvall Lectureship honors two of Whitworth's most distinguished professors: Clarence Simpson, professor of English from 1953-80, and R. Fenton Duvall, professor of history from 1949-81. The annual lectureship is held in appreciation for these two men's years of commitment and contributions to Whitworth; it continues, in their spirit, to enrich the university community. The lecture is held once each calendar year, and topics alternate between Simpson's and Duvall's disciplines, English and history.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Jennifer Lorenz, academic program assistant for the history department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3275 or .

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or