The Paul Lamont Thompson Memorial Lecture

The Paul Lamont Thompson Memorial Lecture was established by a gift from the sons and daughters-in-law of Paul Lamont and Ruth Peel Thompson. A committee of alumni and friends of the College worked diligently to build the fund with gifts from those many students whose lives were enriched by Dr. Thompson’s leadership. Paul Lamont Thompson was President of Kalamazoo College from 1938 to 1949. He played a crucial role in the development of the College during the difficult days of the Depression and World War II. He emphasized high academic standards and selectivity in the student body, and enhanced the reputations of the College as a quality institution of the liberal arts. Dr. Thompson founded the Annual Fund at Kalamazoo College and the College’s pension plan, helping to ensure the future financial integrity of the College. Several buildings were added to the campus during his tenure, among them Harmon Hall, Stowe Stadium, Angell Field, and Welles Dinning Hall. He served as President of the Association of Church Related Colleges. Dr. Thompson was an excellent speaker whose wit, wisdom, and gentle manner nurtured generations of Kalamazoo College students. His spirit and legacy continue through the endowment of the Paul Lamont Thompson lecture, which strives to bring speakers to this campus who enrich our ethical understanding of our position in the larger society, beyond the halls and walls of Kalamazoo College.

The Fall 2023 Thompson Lecture

The Fall 2023 Thompson Lecture will be held on Wednesday, October 11 with guest speaker, Dr. Lloyd Barba

Dr. Lloyd Barba

The Sacred Amid Exploitation:

How Mexican Farmworkers Forged a Religious Movement in California’s Big Business Ag (1916-1966)

In the early twentieth century, Pentecostalism was often seen as a distasteful new sect rife with fanatical tendencies; U.S. growers thought of Mexicans as no more than a mere workforce not fit for citizenship; and industrial agriculture was celebrated for feeding American families while its exploitation of workers went largely ignored. Farmworkers were made out to be culturally vacuous and lacking creative genius. In this lecture, Professor Barba draws from his new book, Sowing the Sacred, to demonstrate that Mexican Pentecostal farmworkers carved out a robust socio-religious existence despite these harsh conditions, and in doing so produced a vast record of cultural vibrancy.

Dr. Barba is Assistant Professor of Religion and the Latinx and Latin American Studies at Amherst College, Amherst, MA. He is a historian of religion in the Americas with training in Latinx history; American race, ethnicity, and immigration; and the American West/Mexico borderlands. His most recent and ongoing research on the Sanctuary Movement (1980s to present day) brings together questions from religious history and immigration studies to understand the context of social activism and politics. His teaching incorporates these research topics but more broadly asks questions about the many communities that comprise “American Religion.” He is also deeply curious about ideas regarding the end of the world, the history of Evangelicalism, and immigration studies.

The lecture will be held at 7:00pm, Wednesday, October 11th
Location: Olmsted Room, Mandelle Hall
Kalamazoo College

Past Guest Speakers

2022, October 18: Dr. Megan Goodwin
2022, May 10: Dr. Kristin Kobes De Mez
2019, October 22: Dr. Heather White
2017, May 4: Dr. Jeremy Sabella and Dr. Gary Dorrien
2016, February 16:  Jessica Martinez
2015, March 2:  Rabbi Rachel Mikva
2014, March 6: Dr. Amina Wadud.
2012, October 16:  Dr. Vijay Prashad
2011, October 27:  Dr. Janet Jakobsen
2010, April 01:  Dr. Whitney Sanford
2008, April 03:  Dr. Anna L. Peterson
2008, October 14:  Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
2007, April 4-5:  Dr. Jeanette Rodriquez
2006, October 10-11:  Dr. Linda Barnes