Lucia Hulsether to lead 2020 Cummings Conversations at MC

Lucia Hulsether to lead 2020 Cummings Conversations at MC

Jan. 22, 2020

Dr. Lucia Hulsether, author and religious studies professor at Skidmore College, will be this year’s guest speaker for “The Margaret M. Cummings Conversations on Faith, Learning and Service,” held March 9-10.

The theme for this year’s lecture series is “Buying, Selling and Doing the Right Thing: Life Under Capitalism.”

During two presentations on campus, Hulsether will use her scholarly research on social responsibility projects such as fair trade, microfinance and impact investing to reflect on what it means to be ethical in a context that is framed by capitalism.

On Mon., March 9, Hulsether will present “Woke Capitalism” at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Center for Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall. On Tues., March 10, Hulsether will give a talk titled “Total Depravity” at 1 p.m. in the Samuel Tyndale Wilson Center for Campus Ministry. Both events are free and open to the public.

Hulsether is a scholar of religion with particular interests in feminist and queer theory; critical race and ethnic studies; and the history of capitalism and labor. She is an assistant professor of religious studies at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She grew up in Maryville, Tenn., and holds a B.A. from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Ga. She also holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Yale University. Her first book, Liberated Market: On the Cultural Politics of Capitalist Humanitarianism, explores projects to reform capitalism from within — tracking formations like fair trade, microfinance and impact investing — since 1945. She is also pursuing projects on the history of citizenship pedagogies in the United States and on the cultures of competitive college debate.

“The Margaret M. Cummings Conversations on Faith, Learning and Service,” or “Cummings Conversations,” honors Margaret Cummings, who taught Bible and religious education at Maryville College for 29 years. The annual lecture series was formerly known as February Meetings, which have been held annually at the College since 1877 and have offered the College and local community an opportunity to come together to consider questions of faith and responsible living in the world. The new name for the series was unveiled in March 2019.

In years past, guest speakers and special music have been highlights of the condensed lecture series, which is open to all members of the College community, people in the area, and visitors, including the College’s Board of Church Visitors. Past speakers have included Dr. Todne Thomas, a sociocultural anthropologist and professor; Dr. Laura Hartman, author and professor; Katherine Paterson, author of numerous books, including Bridge to Terabithia; Jeanne Bishop, criminal defense attorney, activist and author; Canon David Porter, director of reconciliation for the Archbishop of Canterbury; Randal Jelks, professor, clergyman and writer; Derek Webb, Christian singer/songwriter; and Rev. Al Staggs, minister, actor and comedian.

For more information about MC’s Cummings Conversations, please contact Rev. Dr. Anne McKee at anne.mckee@maryvillecollege.edu.  


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”