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Bag lunch series promotes discussion on race and ethnicity

Assistant Professor of Music Allison Adrian leads a discussion on the music of Minnesotas newest Lutherans at the Center for Women on Friday.
Assistant Professor of Music Allison Adrian leads a discussion on the music of Minnesotas newest Lutherans at the Center for Women on Friday.
Melissa Kaelin

Students and faculty took some time out of their day to talk about race and ethnicity in a bag lunch discussion at the Center for Women on Friday.

Just two weeks into the winter semester, students and faculty at St. Catherine University had the opportunity to take a break. Over the lunch  hour on Friday, Feb. 11, the Center for Women created a comfortable and informal environment on campus, inviting critical discussions of race and ethnicity.

Friday’s discussion featured the music of people who have recently emigrated to the U.S., in a presentation called “’A Mighty Fortress’ Far From Lake Wobegon: The Music of Minnesota’s Newest Lutherans.” Assistant Professor of Music Allison Adrian led the discussion, providing background information about Lutheran congregations and describing the way music is used in local Lutheran worship services.

“Music creates a sense of belonging in any congregation,” said Adrian. Adrian spoke to a full crowd, with both students and faculty eating their lunch and enjoying snacks during the presentation. The professor shared research she had compiled after studying 15 Lutheran congregations in the metro area surrounding Minneapolis and St. Paul. Among others, she had worked with Liberian, Sudanese, Ethiopian, Cambodian, Hmong and Latin American cultures.

Adrian’s research revealed that many of these newcomers brought their musical traditions with them when they moved to the United States. For some groups, the traditional music from their native country was combined with aspects of popular American worship music, in order to create a new sound.

The presentation was eye-opening for those who attended, offering students and faculty a glimpse into the many forms of music that can be heard in Lutheran worship services today. It was one of several sessions in the bag lunch discussion series, which has guests slated through early April.

Hosted by the Center for Women, all discussions in the series take place in Coeur de Catherine, Room 230. Everyone is encouraged to bring a bag lunch and friends.

Upcoming discussions include:
The Long Path to Gender Equality: The Case of Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe
Presented by Maria Tzintzarova, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Critical Studies of Race & Ethnicity and Women's Studies
Noon to 1:30 p.m., Friday, March 18

Modern Changemakers = Women + Liberal Arts + Engineering
Presented by Yvonne Ng, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Director of Center for Women, Science and Technology
Noon to 1:30 p.m., Friday, April 8

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Feb. 14, 2011 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Liberal Arts, Students