2022 Bechtel Lecturer: Dr. Sofia Samatar 

SofiaSofia Samatar is the author of the novels A Stranger in Olondria and The Winged Histories, the short story collection, Tender, and Monster Portraits, a collaboration with her brother, the artist Del Samatar. Her works have received several honors, including the Astounding Award for Best New Writer and the World Fantasy Award. A graduate of Goshen College and former Mennonite Central Committee volunteer in Egypt and South Sudan, she now lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she teaches African literature, Arabic literature, and speculative fiction at James Madison University. Her memoir The White Mosque, forthcoming in October 2022, shares what she learned about identity and border-crossing from the history of a Mennonite village in Central Asia.


Lecture: On Dwelling: Shelters in Place and Time
Thursday, March 10, 7:00 PM (Virtual)
In the last two years, instructions to "shelter in place" became familiar around the globe as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This lecture considers what it means to shelter in place, not just in terms of emergency management, but as a deliberate practice with ethical and ecological effects. What do poets, walkers, and weather observers teach us about the value of dwelling in place? What does shelter look like for those who are forced to leave their homes? And when prevented from staying in place, how can a person dwell? Is it possible to shelter in time?

Video Replay:


About the Bechtel Lectures

LesterThe Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies were established in 2000 through the generosity of Lester Bechtel. As a devoted churchman with an active interest in Mennonite history, Lester’s dream was to make the academic world of research and study accessible to a broader constituency and to build bridges of understanding between the academy and the church. This lecture series provides a forum through which the core meaning and values of the Anabaptist-Mennonite faith and heritage might be communicated to a diverse audience and be kept relevant and connected to the rapidly changing world of our day.

The Bechtel Lectures provide the opportunity for representatives of a variety of disciplines and professions to explore topics that reflect the breadth and depth of Mennonite history, identity, faith and culture. Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to host this annual event.
 
Grebel offers condolences to Lester's family, as he passed away peacefully on January 24, 2021. Read Lester Bechtel's obituarary.

Past Lectures

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Multimedia Videos

watch past lectures

Watch our special event videos: the Bechtel LecturesMennonite Literature series, the Eby Lecture, and the Sawatsky Lecture.