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Lectures Focus on Two Heroes and Their Journeys to Save Their Cities

Guest and faculty speakers at Mount St. Mary’s University this week will discuss two great heroes and their journeys to save the cities they loved. Attendees will learn about the men, their missions, their mythologies and the metaphors of their quests. The lectures will be held on Tuesday, March 20, and Wednesday, March 21, at Knott Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

blaugher20and20mccarthy.jpg“Batman’s Quest: Saving Gotham and Healing the Soul” will be the topic of discussion for the spring Ducharme Lecture series on March 21 at 4 p.m. Kurt Blaugher, Ph.D., and David McCarthy, Ph.D., will explore Batman’s hero journey (a term coined by mythology writer Joseph Campbell) as it is represented in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy. Leading the audience through Bruce Wayne’s journey as he takes on the mantle of “Dark Knight,” Blaugher and McCarthy will show how he protected Gotham and, by the end of the trilogy, found personal healing, love and peace. Specific attention will be paid to his interactions with some of his most iconic adversaries and love interests.

In May 2017, Cascade Books published Blaugher and McCarthy’s book “Saving the World and Healing the Soul: Heroism and Romance in Film.” The two men analyze classic storytelling techniques used in popular culture films by applying a lens and framework of religious inquiry that seeks meaning and order. Some examples include Jason Bourne, Batman and “The Hunger Games.”

Kurt E. Blaugher, Ph.D., has been the director of theatre at Mount St. Mary’s University for 30 years, producing plays from across the dramatic spectrum. He has also taught nearly all of the courses in the humanities sequence of the core curriculum.

David M. McCarthy, Ph.D., is associate provost at the Mount. He has written a variety of books, articles and essays in the areas of moral theology and social ethics. He is also the founding editor of the Journal of Moral Theology. In addition to “Saving the World and Healing the Soul: Heroism and Romance in Film,” he has published essays on Vietnam War films, “The Wire” and “Mad Men.”

The annual lecture series fosters integration of knowledge in the liberal arts curriculum and is named for Robert Ducharme, professor emeritus of English.

John HughesThe event on Tuesday, March 20, from 7-8:15 p.m. is sponsored by the BB&T Center for the Study of the Moral Foundations of Capitalism. Fr. Richard Shaw and Stanley Carlson-Thies, Ph.D., will present “How the Mount’s John Hughes Saved New York’s Irish and Showed the Power of Civil Society.” Attendees will learn how Hughes’ hard childhood poverty in Ireland and his solid Mount education in Emmitsburg prepared him to lead the Church in New York in the 1840s and 1850s.

This lecture highlights the amazing life and accomplishments of Archbishop Hughes and how faith-based universities like the Mount can support civil society today. As Archbishop of New York, Hughes responded with a public defense of the Irish against discrimination and nativism in America. He advocated for the building and development of schools, churches and religious associations to give them skills and build their character.

Fr. Richard Shaw is the author of leading biographies of John Hughes and John Dubois. “John Dubois: Founding Father” is being republished this year by the Mount. Shaw is a priest in the diocese of Albany, has a Ph.D. in criminal justice, teaches at Siena College and has been involved in prison ministry for more than 40 years.

Stanley Carlson-Thies, Ph.D., was one of the founders of George W. Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, a consultant for the Obama and Trump administrations and remains actively involved in faith-based programs as director of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance. He is currently spearheading a multi-year project for Templeton Foundation on the power of faith-based programs and how to strengthen them. He is also the coauthor (with Stephen Monsma) of “Free to Serve: Protecting the Religious Freedom of Faith-Based Organizations.”