2019 Conrad Wright Lecture

Dr. Kathryn Gin Lum
Dr. Kathryn Gin Lum

The Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society invites you to join us at General Assembly in Spokane, Washington for the Conrad Wright Lecture. This year’s lecturer is Dr. Kathryn Gin Lum, Associate Professor of Religious Studies in collaboration with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University in California. The lecture will take place on Thursday June 20, 2019, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM in the Davenport Grand – Grand Ballroom C.

Dr. Gin Lum is the author of Damned Nation: Hell in America from the Revolution to Reconstruction from Oxford University Press (2014). In Damned Nation, Gin Lum explores how the widespread belief in hell shaped Americans’ perceptions of themselves and the rest of the world during the first century of nationhood. She is the co-editor with Paul Harvey for a volume The Oxford Handbook of Religion and The Heathen World and America’s Humanitarian Impulse, for Harvard University Press.


In her lecture, “The Heathen World and America’s Humanitarian Impulse,” Stanford Professor Kathryn Gin Lum explores how the concept of “heathen” seems to be an antiquated category and yet it has had long-lasting implications. Lum shows how heathenness has operated as an essential foil against and through which Euro-Americans have defined themselves as a progressive, humanitarian people in this year’s Conrad Wright Lecture.

The first annual Conrad Wright lecture was given in 2008 by J.D. Bowers on Joseph Priestley and English Unitarianism in America. Past lecturers have included Charles Capper, Christopher Cameron, Megan Marshall, James Ishmael Ford, and Tisa Wenger.