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April 21, 2011

The Desert and the Experience of God
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Richard Rodriguez Delivered This Year’s Lecture on Religion in American Life

This year’s Martin E. Marty Lecture on Religion in American Life was delivered by Richard Rodriguez, author of several books including Brown, Hunger of Memory, and Days of Obligation. Rodriguez, who received the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal in 1993, is at work on a book about the desert origins of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Richard Rodriguez has been hailed by The Washington Post as one of the most eloquent and probing public intellectuals in the country.” The son of Mexican immigrants—a self-described “scholarship boy”—Rodriguez, in his first and most famous book, Hunger of Memory, wrote about the painful but necessary experience of assimilation and of his difficult Americanization in the classroom. His second book, Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father was a loving but unsentimental assessment of cultural tensions between what he calls “Catholic Mexico” and “Protestant America” and the dilemma of being “Mexican American.” Days of Obligation was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction.

His lecture, titled The Desert and the Experience of God, shared insights from this forthcoming work. The free talk, sponsored by the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at UCSB, took place on Thursday, April 21, at the Lobero Theatre I downtown Santa Barbara.